What is Business Intelligence and how does it work?


Business Intelligence (BI) is a term that refers to the collection, organisation and analysis of a business’s data to present insights that can drive better decision-making and optimise performance.

Data is now produced at such speed - and in such vast quantities - that traditional end-of-month spreadsheets are no longer fit for the job.

Modern BI platforms present clear and insightful data in a visual, easy-to-digest format. This enables a ‘single source of truth’ approach, meaning that BI can be adopted throughout a business, with all departments basing their decisions on the same data.

Insightful data is available in real time, so businesses can spot trends and make decisions in advance.

The benefits of BI

A modern BI solution, with a well-structured view of a team’s performance data, means that users have access to live data at any time of the month.

The ability to act on insights sooner allows businesses to spot internal trends and improve inefficiencies before the opportunity has passed and the data becomes irrelevant. This eliminates the guesswork and intuition so often involved in business decisions.

Not only does this save valuable time, but it also empowers managers with the ability to respond to performance niggles or operation inefficiencies as they occur. This is a huge shift from the traditional end-of-month ordeal, wherein managers could be spending a day or two collating and manipulating data to present to their board or team.

Some of the additional advantages brought about by BI have been highlighted during the process of Air IT’s recent expansion.

The potential challenges posed by integrating multiple businesses have been simplified thanks to an accurate, one-view report of performance across the group. Bringing together data from multiple sources bridged the gap between each business, removing silos and allowing for full visibility. Having a single source of truth also helped to highlight differences in business processes, providing a solid foundation for system and process integration.

The future of BI

Many still see BI as an added benefit that is nice to have, but in truth it is becoming a competitive advantage that is impossible to ignore. Businesses have masses of data at their disposal, regarding customers, performance, marketing, supply chain, sales, finances – the list goes on. But to put the data to work and enable sound business decisions, it needs to be timely, centrally managed and easy to digest.