A Guide to Business Intelligence Tools: Definition, Benefits, and Examples

A Guide to Business Intelligence Tools: Definition, Benefits, and Examples | Data Science | Emeritus

Due to burgeoning data supply and insights demand, any professional needs to be adept at using Business Intelligence (BI) tools. A study by Dresner Advisory Services found that 48% of organizations use business intelligence tools to drive strategic decision-making. 

So, this trend is only going to increase since these tools add efficiency and effectiveness to the process of business intelligence. And the process includes plans, and resources that organizations leverage to gather, prepare, and assess data. Thus, BI tools can help organizations find new ways to get a competitive edge and increase their return on investments. 

Business leaders and aspiring analysts are now enrolling in online data science & analytics courses to understand how a BI tool functions. Also, upgrading their knowledge in this area enables them to advance in their career. That’s because almost every industry, company, and division use BI tools.  

In this blog, we’ll dive deeper into what business intelligence tools are, their benefits, and how to use them for the best results.  

What are Business Intelligence Tools?

Business Intelligence tools are open-source or proprietary application software. Organizations leverage BI tools to gather, process, analyze, sort, filter, and report huge data from external and internal systems. Further, they then turn raw data into meaningful information to help meet business objectives. 

Besides creating dashboards, data visualizations, and reports, BI tools also process and compile raw data for seamless analysis. An Accenture-based study shows that companies using BI tools are five times more likely to make faster and better decisions.

Moreover, the most pertinent data is always the first choice for presentation, thanks to the configurable dashboards by BI tools. Lastly, What-If Analysis is a valuable tool for business managers since they reduce risk and guide current choices.

Why are Business Intelligence Tools Necessary?

The necessity of BI tools stems from their capability of making sense of large amounts of data. So, this gives companies an edge in today’s highly competitive business setting. What’s more, by using a BI tool, you can leverage the insights you gain from your data. This helps you develop superior products, provide an enhanced user experience, expand more quickly, and finally save time and costs. 

Also, it helps businesses understand their competition and customers better. Indeed, enrolling in a business analytics program can help you learn how to use these tools. Let’s discuss what exactly these benefits are below.

What are the Benefits of Using Business Intelligence Tools?

BI tools assist companies in making quick, informed choices to achieve their business objectives. Following this, the benefits of using BI tools include: 

1. Centralized Data 

The usage of BI tools ensures that each and every piece of data stays in a single location. Organizations gather information from a variety of portals, Enterprise Resource Planning systems, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) databases, and other sources. To make logical sense of all this, businesses require BI tools to aggregate the data. Also, it requires BI tools to give specific perspectives depending on the queries or what you’d like to learn. These perspectives include trends, problems, and analytics and are given.  

2. Self-Sufficiency 

Undoubtedly, data isn’t the sole property of your company’s IT department. With BI tools, any employee, even a trainee, can access and evaluate the information required for their respective teams, irrespective of their technical skills or not. 

3. Accuracy in Projections 

Company staff may make choices based on facts because of the historical and current data available to them. So, by leveraging predictive modeling and forecasting, BI tool users can produce insights based on previous performance data for a good or service.

4. Automated Reports

The market is full of business intelligence tools that run in automation. This eliminates the need to switch between various tools or individually enter data into spreadsheets. Also, the tool can provide an in-depth product analysis over a specified timeframe when you require one. 

In addition, you can generate dynamic content and download any necessary graphical representations you intend to use in a presentation.

5. Financial Gains

BI tools are capable of various tasks, including consumer behavior analysis, real-time process monitoring, and sales forecasting. And the procedures for planning, assessing, analyzing, and reporting have become far more precise and quick than ever. According to a report by MicroStrategy, companies, on average, experience a 10% growth in revenue after implementing business intelligence tools and enjoying their benefits. 

How to Select the Right Business Intelligence Tool

Anybody who wants to choose the right BI solution for their company should consider the following: 

  1. Study the market analysis and product specifications and compare the apps with their operational needs
  2. Also, the size and expansion plans of the organization are significant considerations. For smaller businesses with less complex data management needs, lightweight business intelligence tools are more cost-effective and ideal
  3. Furthermore, Use cases are a vital factor. A logistics service provider that wants to improve routes and keep drivers from leaving might prioritize different BI tools. This is in comparison with a digital marketing firm that wants to source data or gauge customer engagement

So, when catering to the needs of novice users, a simple, minimalistic product with fewer capabilities may be easier to understand and more affordable. A more complex tool works for end users who are knowledgeable about the tool or analytics in general.

Also, keep in mind that companies can run into a problem with the quality and quantity of integration between data warehouses and their supporting ELT/ETL procedures while evaluating their data. When it comes to the centralized repository, having accurate, consolidated, and easily available data sources becomes necessary. 

Also Read: The 10 Business Skills That You Need to Master to Ensure Success

Examples of Business Intelligence Tool Use Cases

According to Gartner, the business world can expect the global business intelligence and analytics software market to reach $18.3 billion by 2027. So, here are the industries that are likely to contribute to this growth: 

1# Finance – Altair

Users in this industry can use a BI tool to draw insights for decision-making; they can also combine financial data with sales, marketing, and operations data to understand the aspects that affect profit and loss. Nevertheless, Altair is a good BI tool that the finance sector heavily relies on. 

2# Marketing – Sisense

Business intelligence tools allow marketers to monitor campaign KPIs in a single central digital location. Not only do BI tools offer real-time campaign tracking, but they also evaluate the success of each campaign and help with campaign planning. So, a great BI tool for marketers is Sisense. 

3# Sales – QlikSense

For quick and seamless access to complicated data such as customer lifetime value, customer profitability, and discount analysis, operation managers and sales data analysts frequently employ Key Performance Metrics (KPIs) and BI dashboards. 

Sales managers use dashboards containing data visualizations and reports to track revenue goals, sales rep performance, and the state of the sales funnel. An excellent example of a BI tool for the sales industry is QlikSense. 

4# Government & Public Sector – Microsoft Power BI

By using BI tools, the government carries out several development initiatives like tax return data efficiency and smart cities. Microsoft Power BI is the most popular and commonly used BI tool in the public sector. Also, it enables every agency or department to automate and streamline complex data analysis and reporting procedures. 

5# Retail & Wholesale Industry – Ubiq

Ubiq is an amazing cloud-based business intelligence tool. It takes care of the most alarming issue of the retail and wholesale industry – inventory misplacement and theft. Most importantly, coping with inventory becomes easier for retail managers with Ubiq. The tool provides real-time updates on data and a Power BI dashboard. 

6# Transportation – Qlik

The transportation industry involves a lot of big data analysis. Now, BI tools like Qlik help transportation companies record staff working hours, consumer transit patterns, and more. 

7# Pharmaceutical Industry – Oxylabs

The pharmaceutical industry is adopting BI at a fast pace and benefiting from it significantly. Currently, BI tools like Oxylabs enable pharmaceutical companies and medical institutions to make faster and better decisions using big data analytics. 

8# Communications and Social Media – Sprout Social 

Businesses now mainly collect data globally from customers using social media. So, a company can easily drive content engagement feedback with BI tools as good as Sprout Social. 

9# Human Resource (HR) Industry – Datapine

Powerful BI analytics tools like Datapine allows companies to gather and store information about all their employees. This includes info on basic achievements, qualifications, job roles, and more. 

10# Fashion – Microstrategy

Fashion brands now use BI tools like Microstrategy to make products that align with the latest trends. This BI tool also gives insights into consumer and market buying patterns. 

Amplify Your Data Science Skills with Emeritus

Making a business more data-informed requires significant investment in business intelligence. Proper implementation of the BI tools in accordance with the company’s use cases can make employees perform better and more effectively. Their efficiency will allow them more time to take on productive activities, leading to the growth of the business and their own careers. 

If you want to excel in a career in business intelligence, choose from the wide array of data science courses from Emeritus and kickstart your journey. Emeritus has a range of BI-specific courses—both offline and online—that will help you learn more about business intelligence tools and other aspects of this field. 

About the Author

Senior Content Contributor, Emeritus Blog
Varun, a seasoned content creator with over 8 years of diverse experience, excels in crafting engaging content for various geographies and categories. Leveraging this expertise, he seamlessly translates complex concepts into enriching educational content for the EdTech domain. His keen understanding of research and life experiences helps him resonate with students and create fact-based content. He finds solace and inspiration in music, nurturing his creativity for content creation.
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