An Introductory Guide to Business Intelligence and Why It Matters

Business intelligence (BI) is a broad term that covers a lot of ground. Depending on who you are talking to, it can mean different things and cover specific areas of interest. This post defines business intelligence and its importance, plus the benefits of certifications such as the SAP BI certification.

business intelligence

What is Business Intelligence (BI)?

Business intelligence (BI) uses data analysis in a company’s strategic planning process. BI helps companies make decisions based on facts rather than gut instinct or guesswork.

If your company is suffering from poor management decisions, it could be because there’s a lack of good data. The right BI software will give you a better understanding of how things are going within your business. It empowers you to make adjustments as needed.

How Does BI Work?

business intelligence

The initial step in BI is data collection. You collect the relevant data, which will then be analyzed and used to predict possible outcomes and drive decision-making, such as whether it’s the right time to expand into a new market or how much inventory to order for an upcoming busy season.

After data collection, the next step is analysis and visualization. This step helps you make better sense of the data. One way to do this is by creating reports and interactive dashboards. These provide an at-a-glance view of key metrics.

The next step involves making decisions based on those insights. Companies must also use data to track how those decisions affect other areas within the organization.

Using BI software is the best way to leverage business intelligence for your business. That’s because today’s companies collect vast amounts of data, making it impossible for human data analysts to adequately analyze everything in context. BI software also automates the creation of data visualizations and reporting. The best BI software providers offer powerful solutions and certifications, such as the SAP BI certifications, to give your analysts a deep understanding of how to best leverage the software. The right system improves efficiency and accuracy when working with large amounts of information.

Benefits of Business Intelligence

business intelligence (BI)

The benefits of Business Intelligence (BI) are many and varied, including the following:


Business intelligence enables organizations to collect information from various sources, such as social media, point-of-sale terminals, and website analytics. They can then analyze it, interpret it correctly and make decisions based on that data.

The use of data analytics provides an unbiased view of situations and information, making it easier for decision-makers to make informed decisions. It takes the guesswork out of the equation.

Efficiency and Productivity

Business intelligence tools help analyze workflows, processes, and procedures to improve efficiency and productivity. The collected data can aid in predictive analysis and enables businesses to optimize their processes and better utilize their resources. 


Business intelligence helps companies become more profitable. It helps them understand how their business works and where they can make improvements to reduce operational costs and increase profit margins.

Suppose a company knew exactly how much each product costs per unit sold. In that case, they could determine which products are profitable based on their cost of goods sold (COGS).

They would then only focus resources on making those products at a lower cost, which increases the profit earned on each sale. BI helps to unlock such insights.

Optimize Marketing Efforts

Business intelligence can help improve marketing efforts by providing insights into customer behavior. You can gain a deep understanding of the buyer’s journey from start to finish, identifying the common touchpoints that convert prospects to buyers and those that lead to more prospects exiting the funnel or opting for your competitors’ products or services. 

You can use this data to create effective marketing campaigns targeting specific customer groups based on their needs and preferences.

Improve Customer Service

Business intelligence also helps in improving customer service. It allows businesses to understand their customers’ needs and preferences so they can provide personalized services.

It can also help to identify potential issues before they’re even noticed by customers, so you can be proactive in correcting issues and ensure that your customers have an excellent experience. 

Choosing the Best BI Solution

The BI market is growing at a tremendous rate. According to Fortune Business Insights, the global business intelligence (BI) market will peak at $43.03 billion by 2028. How do you choose the right solution out of the endless choices in the market? Below are a few of the most important considerations. 

Core Capabilities

When choosing a BI solution, it’s important to understand what it can do. The type of data you want to analyze and how much data you want to analyze will determine what tools you need.

For example, if you need to analyze customer purchase history and customer preferences, SAS or SPSS will be ideal. However, if you want to analyze employee performance and customer satisfaction, Tableau might be better suited for your needs.

Unique Needs and Future Requirements

A BI solution should help meet your specific business needs. These requirements will vary by company, industry, and size. The following are some common examples that companies often look for in their BI solutions:

  • Enhancements to existing reporting tools
  • Analysis of complex data sets
  • Integration with other systems and applications
  • Visualization of data through charts, graphs, dashboards, and more

You also need to consider future requirements when choosing a BI tool. Think about how your current needs might evolve and the capabilities you may want a few years from now.

Support and Maintenance

In order for a BI tool to help you make better decisions, it must be reliable. You don’t want to be stuck with an outdated tool that doesn’t work or doesn’t provide the latest information.

It’s important to ensure that your BI solution has a solid customer support team and will continue to provide maintenance and updates.


Analyze your current BI infrastructure and determine the changes needed to integrate the new BI solution. You may need to upgrade hardware or software or hire qualified staff. You might also consider hiring a consultant with expertise using the BI software of your choice to ensure a smooth transition. 


Consider how easily your BI solution can scale as your business grows. If the solution is not scalable, it may not meet your needs as your business grows.

Also, assess whether there are any limitations on how many users can access the system simultaneously. It’s important to consider the platform’s user capacity, especially if you plan on sharing reports with others in your organization.


Choose a vendor that has a strong reputation for innovation. A company on the cutting edge of BI will be more likely to develop solutions that fit your business needs. An innovative BI solution provider can help you address any future challenges.

Customer Satisfaction

Choose a vendor with a good track record of customer satisfaction. It could take years for you to see results from your BI investment.

And by then, how satisfied will you be with the results? Ensure the vendor has been around long enough to have proven itself in the industry.

BI Implementation – SAP BI Certification

It’s not about the tool but how it’s used. After all, there are many great tools out there, but they won’t make much difference if they’re not used correctly or effectively.

Certifications can help you get more value from BI solutions. The training improves product knowledge and ensures your team can successfully use the platform in day-to-day business operations. Training your teams also cuts costs and reduces errors.

Wrapping Up

Business intelligence is one of the most important tools for companies to make better decisions and become more efficient. BI helps you understand the trends in your data so that you can act on those insights to improve outcomes. SAP BI certifications and others can help accelerate the business value of the solution you choose.

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