What is Business Intelligence and How Can it Accelerate Your Business?

Business intelligence (BI) is no longer a buzzword - it’s becoming a necessity. Businesses increasingly leverage business intelligence to improve the experience and accelerate business performance.


In today’s digital, ever-involving landscape, businesses must adopt new solutions and processes that turn data into actionable insight to deliver on business outcomes and outperform the competition. In fact, according to Forrester, Forrester advanced insights-driven businesses (IDBs) were 8.5 times more likely than beginners to report at least 20% revenue growth in 2021. More companies are leveraging BI tools to operate smarter and more efficiently. Business Intelligence tools analyze historical and current data and present results in user-friendly reports, summaries, dashboards, graphs, charts, and maps to provide users with a detailed, holistic view of their business. It helps companies make data-driven decisions by analyzing customer behavior, spotting trends and anomalies, comparing performance against competitors, and predicting future performance and success. Cloud solutions like SAP Analytics Cloud, combine BI with planning and augmented and predictive analytics to provide a unified experience for deeper analysis, accurate forecasting, and maximized decision-making.


Let's look more closely at how BI is transforming business decisions within any industry and what the transformation could mean for your organization.



Fast decision-making processes


Accessing the correct information at the appropriate time promotes strategic decision-making. Unfortunately, today, data moves faster than manual processes can handle. To remain competitive, organizations simply can't afford to analyze myriad spreadsheets for valid insights.

Business Intelligence changes all of that. It aggregates data, analyzes it, and reports it in user-friendly visualizations via dashboards, charts, and graphs for instant insight.


Single source of truth


Every employee and team should have access to up-to-date data. Unfortunately, Excel spreadsheets and other manual data management processes result in frustrating silos. These silos lead to decisions being made after visualizing only some of the data which can result in serious consequences. Using BI software, organizations have a single source of truth for all data and insights.


Accurate forecasting


When several factors are affecting your business like evolving business conditions, economic uncertainty, and shifts in supply and demand, accurate forecasting can become a daunting and often impossible task. Business Intelligence automatically analyzes and reports on data across an entire organization to enable accurate forecasting for every business unit. Procurement can order the right amount of raw materials while the production team can anticipate a specific production order. Marketing can monitor customer purchasing behavior and Sales can leverage this data for upselling and cross-sell opportunities. can gear up to produce the best estimate of what is needed. The Finance team can assess the company's financial performance and health and predict future revenue growth.


Automated data visualization


One of the key features of any BI solution is data visualization. When data is in an easy-to-read graph or chart, anyone, even those who aren’t technically inclined, can read, understand and glean insights from the data.

It takes a lot of time to create visuals when completed manually. Business intelligence software compiles data and creates visuals automatically and without input. These visuals can also be manipulated in real-time with just a few clicks.


Final Thoughts


Data is one of an organization’s most important assets – after all, it’s the key to making informed business decisions. Customer, sales, and transactional data come together to provide a plethora of insight into an organization's performance. However, it isn’t enough to collect the data — businesses must analyze the data to uncover hidden insights. Investing in solutions with BI capabilities, like SAP Analytics Cloud can help organizations operate strategically and optimally by streamlining planning processes and deriving insights that promote better decision-making.