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Business Intelligence is Not What You Think It Is

Business Intelligence is Not What You Think It Is

Business Intelligence is Not What You Think It IsWhen looking at the term business intelligence, you might surmise that it’s information to help businesses make decisions that are useful and meaningful, right? By dissecting the two words, that seems to make sense. However, take what you think about BI and take that to another level and then you’re probably closer to understanding what BI actually is.

That’s my very brief interpretation of a blog post written by Dr. Morten Middelfart, CTO of Targit, titled “3 Steps to Becoming an Analytics Driven Organization.” In this post, he states, “they’re [many large, international companies] using the same sorts of management information systems today as they did 20 years ago: standard reports produced via their ERP systems and static analyses created in Excel. Newsflash: this isn’t business intelligence.”

Well, if that’s not business intelligence, then what is? Middelfart does a great job defining business intelligence as being a “three-step journey” that takes organizations from basic data analysis to creating new corporate strategies by looking externally and “tapping into the available ocean of data.”

Let’s take a look at Middelfart’s “three step journey.”

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Step 1: Harnessing the power of your data (basic BI and Analytics) – The first step is getting the data. The collection process can be a long and cumbersome activity, but with the availability of many BI platforms, you can do this quickly with acceleration packages.

Step 2:  Executing strategy while seeking operational excellence (real time data discovery and action) – This is when you take what you’ve learned and put it into action. Actionable data is shared throughout the company to various departments, forecasts are made, automated notifications are sent out to the parties involved, and users can make proactive real-time operation maneuvers within their KPIs. Middelfart refers to this as, “the link between learning and doing.”

Step 3: Shaping future strategy (competitive analytics) – This is the most strategic stage. Analytics is used to make big waves. For example, the actionable data is utilized to form the future strategy of the company. New KPIs are tested and adjusted over time. More external data is used strategically (big data). For example, social media and search engine data are collected and analyzed and brand perception can be determined well before a customer even purchases a product. Middelfart states, “At this level, there is a dynamic integration of BI. Organizations are contending against the competition based on their analytics. Internal and external data sources are at play. This is a true analytics-driven culture.”

So business intelligence is the entire process starting from the minuteness of collecting data to an organization’s cultural acceptance of analytics? What are your thoughts and interpretations? I would love to hear them.

This is a brief summary of Middelfart’s explanation of the “three step journey.” Click here to read the entire blog post.

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