Businesses whose CEOs make data-driven decisions are 77% more likely to attain their business goals. If that's the case, you need to hop on the data train for your business. As a business person, you must make the fullest use of all data that you receive from multiple data points. Managing such huge data is often not possible. That is where business intelligence comes into the picture.

This article will be your guide for everything you need to know about business intelligence and how to implement it in your business.

What is Business Intelligence?

The term business intelligence was coined before 1989. Every business collects a lot of data each day from several points. This data has the potential to be transformed into effective business insights. The process of analyzing this collected data and using the obtained insights for business development is known as business intelligence (BI). Several tools are available for implementing business intelligence in an organization.

How to Implement Business Intelligence

Following are the steps to apply business intelligence in your business:

  1. Define your objectives
  2. Assess your data
  3. Choose a BI solution
  4. Develop a data model
  5. Design and deploy reports and dashboards
  6. Train your team
  7. Continuously monitor and refine
  8. Establish data governance
  9. Implement data integration and ETL (extract, transform, and load)
  10. Choose the right data visualization tools
  11. Leverage machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI)
  12. Collaborate with stakeholders
  13. Measure the ROI (return on investment) of your BI investment

Business Intelligence Tools and Software

There are several types of business intelligence tools, and their features are unique and useful for your business. Listed below are some powerful BI tools and software.

Microsoft Power BI

Power BI provides a suite of features such as data connectors, data modeling, and dashboard creation that enable users to bring together data from different sources, transform it into a more useful format, and create stunning visualizations that help make sense of the data. It also includes advanced analytics capabilities like ML and natural language processing (NLP), which allow users to gain deeper insights from their data.


It has a range of features such as data connectors, data blending, and drag-and-drop dashboard creation that enable users to bring together data from multiple sources, transform it into a more useful format, and create remarkable visualizations that help them uncover insights and communicate findings effectively. It is highly customizable and scalable, making it suitable for businesses of all sizes and types. It has a user-friendly interface and powerful analytics capabilities.

IBM Cognos

It provides a toolset for reporting, analysis, and performance management. Cognos helps users to collect and integrate data from various sources, create custom reports and dashboards, and gain insights into key business metrics. It also includes powerful analytics capabilities, such as predictive modeling and what-if analysis. Additionally, it offers a range of collaboration and mobile capabilities, making it easy to share insights and work on the go.

Benefits of Using Business Intelligence Tools and Software

Improved decision-making

BI software can help organizations make better-informed decisions by providing real-time, accurate, and comprehensive data and analytics. By having access to this information, organizations can identify opportunities, optimize operations, and respond quickly to changes in the market.

Increased efficiency

BI software can automate many time-consuming tasks, such as data collection and reporting, freeing up employees' time to focus on more value-added activities. This can lead to increased efficiency and productivity across the organization.

Improved financial performance

BI software can help organizations track financial performance, identify areas of waste or inefficiency, and optimize spending. This can lead to improved profitability and financial performance.

Better collaboration

BI helps teams across the organization work together more effectively by providing a single source of truth for data and insights. This can break down silos and improve organizational communication, collaboration, and decision-making.

Benefits of Gathering and Analyzing Data

  1. With data-driven insights, businesses can make more informed and confident decisions that are backed by empirical evidence.
  2. Data analysis can reveal areas of inefficiency in business processes, allowing businesses to identify opportunities for improvement and optimize their operations.
  3. By leveraging data to gain insights into customer behavior, market trends, and industry developments, businesses can stay ahead of the competition and develop strategies that give them a competitive advantage.
  4. By analyzing data, businesses can identify potential risks and take proactive measures to mitigate them. This can help prevent costly mistakes and minimize the impact of unforeseen events.
  5. Data analysis also helps businesses identify areas of revenue growth and cost savings, which can improve overall financial performance.

Tips to Choose the Right Business Intelligence Tools and Software

Identify your business needs

Before you start looking for BI tools and software, identify your business needs and goals. Determine what data you need to collect, analyze, and present to make informed business decisions.

Evaluate your budget

BI tools and software can be expensive. It's essential to evaluate your budget before making a purchase. Consider the cost of licensing, maintenance, and training.

Look for user-friendly software

The BI tools you choose should be user-friendly and easy to use. Your employees should be able to use the software without requiring extensive training.

Consider scalability

As your business grows, your data needs will also increase. Choosing BI tools and software that can scale to meet your growing needs is essential.

Check for integration

The BI tools should integrate seamlessly with your existing systems, including your CRM, ERP, and other business applications.

Best Practices for Business Intelligence Adoption

The following are the best practices for business intelligence adoption:

  1. Define specific, measurable goals for BI initiatives that align with the organization's overall strategy.
  2. Secure leadership support to provide funding and resources, prioritize initiatives, and communicate the value of BI to the organization.
  3. Engage with business users, IT staff, and data analysts early and frequently to understand their needs and ensure that BI initiatives meet those needs.
  4. Ensure data accuracy, consistency, and governance policies to ensure high-quality data that supports effective decision-making.
  5. Offer comprehensive training and support to help users develop technical skills and effectively analyze and interpret data.

How to Create a Business Intelligence Strategy

Creating a business intelligence solution for small businesses requires a systematic strategy that aligns the BI goals with business objectives and provides a roadmap for BI implementation.

Here are the steps to create a BI strategy:

  1. Define the business objectives
  2. Identify the key performance indicators (KPIs)
  3. Assess the current BI capabilities
  4. Determine the data sources
  5. Define the BI architecture
  6. Develop the BI roadmap
  7. Establish the governance framework
  8. Monitor and measure progress

In today's ever-expanding world of business, it is important to use business intelligence for your small business. You exchange numerous data in and out of your company each day, and this data is going to make your business's future. Not using this data with BI for your business is as good as tying your own hands. On average, organizations use 3.8 different business intelligence tools. This should give you a boost to consider using BI for your business.