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What is Business Intelligence And Analytics?

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  • Published on:
    August 29, 2023
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  • Last updated:
    June 14, 2024
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Being knowledgeable, foreseeing trends, and understanding the market’s complexities can determine whether one succeeds or remains stagnant. And this superpower also called BI covers that.

In today’s business landscape, understanding the intricacies of business intelligence (BI) and analytics is no longer optional; it’s imperative. This detailed study will examine BI and analytics, explaining its layers, evolution, components, and uses.

What Are The Basics of Business Intelligence?

Business Intelligence (BI) Definition

At its core, Business Intelligence (BI) refers to the processes, technologies, and tools that transform raw data into meaningful insights. It empowers businesses to make informed decisions by tapping into the treasure trove of information they generate daily.

Measure visualized as a card element screenshot from ajelix bi
Business Intelligence dashboard with BI insights example from Ajelix

The Purpose of BI

BI serves a multifaceted purpose, from providing historical data analysis for decision-makers to predicting future trends. Its overarching goal is to enhance business performance by optimizing processes and increasing profitability.

What Are The Key Components of Business Intelligence?

BI Roadmap infographic and 5 key components of business intelligence

Business Intelligence Roadmap Infographic for businesses and organizations (created by author)

Data Sources

BI draws its lifeblood from data, and business analysts’ task is to find this data and connect the dots. Data sources can range from internal databases to external data providers, all contributing to a comprehensive view of business operations.

BI data sources graph for businesses and organizations
BI Platform Data Sources Infographic (created by author)

Data Warehousing

Data warehousing is the collection, storing, and organizing of data in a structured manner. A business intelligence database acts as a foundation for your BI solutions. Ensuring that the business intelligence dashboard is readily available for advanced analytics.

Data Integration

Data integration involves harmonizing your data from disparate sources, making it compatible and coherent. This step is essential to create a unified business intelligence data analysis and reporting for applications.

Data Visualization

In a world of big data analytics, presenting information in a visually digestible format is paramount. Data visualization tools transform complex data into charts, graphs, and dashboards, enabling quick comprehension. It it’s vital for business strategy optimization for decision-making as it can have many business intelligence benefits.

Data visualization importance infographic in BI processes.

The importance of data visualization infographic and business intelligence solutions (created by author)

Reporting Tools

Reporting tools are the storytellers of the BI world and vast amount of BI software. They generate reports that communicate insights to decision-makers in a clear and actionable manner. You should analyze your competitive advantages on intelligence software using best practices and business intelligence basics.

The Power of Data

Data warehouse isn’t just a byproduct of business activities; it’s an asset. Its proper use can be a game-changer, driving innovation, and uncovering hidden opportunities with business intelligence software.

Data as an Asset

Just as physical assets like real estate or machinery have value, data science possesses intrinsic worth. Its value lies in the insights it holds, which can lead to better decision-making.

What are the Three Vs of Data?

The three Vs of big data—volume, variety, and velocity—highlight the challenges and opportunities. Business intelligence vs analytics and reporting connects with the amounts of data created daily.

Three Vs of data infographic meaning velocity, volume, variety for powerful BI analytics.

Graph explaining 3 data fundaments – velocity, volume, and variety (created by author)

Structured vs. Unstructured Data

Make sure your data neatly organized for business intelligence analysts to do business analytics. Separate between structured (e.g., databases) and unstructured data (e.g., feedback from customers) is crucial for effective analysis.

Data Quality and Integrity

The old adage “garbage in, garbage out” holds true in BI competitive intelligence. Data quality and integrity are vital to ensure that analysis leads to reliable insights. To get good dashboard examples your business intelligence tools should have quality data.

What is Data Analytics?

Data analytics involves the systematic exploration of data to extract meaningful patterns, insights, and knowledge. It’s the process of turning raw data into actionable information.

What Are The Types of Analytics?

Analytics isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach; it comes in various flavors, each serving a specific purpose:

  • Descriptive Analytics provides a historical view of what has happened, helping businesses understand past performance.
  • Diagnostic Analytics dives deeper, seeking to understand why certain events occurred by examining relationships and correlations in data.
  • Predictive Analytics takes a leap into the future, using historical data to forecast future trends and outcomes.
  • Prescriptive Analytics goes a step further by not only predicting outcomes but also recommending actions to achieve desired results.
4 types of data analytics infographic: Descriptive, Diagnostic, predictive, prescriptive

4 types of analytics infographic (created by author)

What Is The Difference Between Business Intelligence and Analytics?

Business Intelligence Definition:

BI focuses on descriptive reporting and answering questions like “What happened?” and “What is happening now?” It enables organizations to monitor their performance and make informed decisions based on past and current data.

Analytics, on the other hand, is a broader field that encompasses the examination of data to discover patterns, trends, and insights. It goes beyond historical and current data, aiming to answer questions like â€śWhy did it happen?” and “What might happen in the future?”

How To Implement Business Intelligence?

Here’s a breakdown of the key steps to implementing Business Intelligence (BI) in your organization:

  1. Define Your Needs

    Analyze your current data landscape and identify areas where BI can provide value. What business questions do you want to answer? Who are the key stakeholders who will be using BI reports and dashboards? If that helps, try setting SMART goals to define everything.
    Set SMART goals for BI implementation in your business infographic

  2. Assemble Your Team

    Identify individuals with data analysis skills, business knowledge, and project management expertise. Depending on the complexity, you might need external consultants for initial setup.

  3. Plan and Design

    Choose your BI tools and technology stack based on your needs and budget. Design the data warehouse or data lake to store and manage your data. Develop a data governance plan to ensure data quality and security.

  4. Data Acquisition and Integration

    Identify all your data sources (internal databases, customer relationship management systems, etc.). Establish processes to extract, transform, and load (ETL) data into your BI system. You can try using Ajelix BI platform for easy SQL server connection of simple data upload.
    Connect data sources so you could create dashboards with all your KPIs infographic

  5. Develop Dashboards and Reports

    Design user-friendly dashboards and reports that answer your key business questions. Consider visual hierarchy and user experience for effective communication of insights.
    ajelix bi new dashboard

  6. Pilot and Train Users

    Run a pilot program with a small group to test the functionality and gather feedback. Train users on how to access, navigate, and interpret the BI reports and dashboards.

  7. Deployment and Ongoing Support

    Launch the BI system for all users and monitor its performance. Provide ongoing support to users and address any technical issues.

  8. Refine and Evolve

    Regularly review your BI dashboards and reports to ensure they remain relevant. Gather user feedback and adapt your BI strategy based on evolving business needs.

Remember: BI implementation is an iterative process. Be prepared to adapt your approach as you learn more about your data and user needs.

Data Collection and Integration

Gathering data from various sources and integrating it into a centralized data warehouse is the first step. This ensures a single source of truth for analysis.

One popular technique for data gathering is web scraping PHP. Essentially, web scraping involves programmatically extracting and processing data from websites -largely made possible by various PHP libraries. The process involves navigating to different URLs, analyzing HTML code, and extracting the required information from these webpages to be integrated into your data warehouse. It’s a reliable and efficient method of data collection for any business intelligence initiative.

Choosing the Right BI Tools

Selecting the appropriate BI tools depends on an organization’s needs and budget. Choices range from simple dashboard tools to sophisticated data analytics platforms. One of the options in the market is Ajelix BI which has made the reporting simple and fast.

Ready to give it a go?
Test Ajelix BI on freemium plan and only upgrade if our platform can solve your reporting issues.

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Data Visualization and Dashboards

Effective data visualization is key to making insights accessible. Design your dashboards and reports with end-users in mind for maximum impact. For a more detailed guide read our blog on how to create an effective data visualization dashboard.

What is The Role of Data Analysts and Data Scientists?

Is business intelligence and analytics a good career? While both roles deal with data, they have distinct functions:

Data Analysts focus on interpreting data, creating reports, and generating insights to inform decision-making.

Data Scientists are the wizards of data. They delve deep into data, using advanced statistical and machine learning techniques to unearth hidden patterns and build predictive models.

SkillData AnalystData Scientist
Primary FocusAnalyze existing data to answer questions and identify trendsDevelop models and algorithms to predict future outcomes and solve complex problems
Data SkillsProficient in data cleaning, manipulation, and visualizationStrong foundation in statistics, machine learning, and programming languages like Python and R
Tools UsedExcel, SQL, data visualization tools (e.g., Tableau, Power BI)Programming languages, machine learning libraries, cloud computing platforms
Decision MakingProvide insights to inform business decisionsDevelop models to automate decision-making processes
Educational BackgroundBachelor’s degree in Business Analytics, Statistics, or related fieldMaster’s degree in Data Science, Computer Science, or related field (often with strong math and statistics background)
Data Analyst vs. Data Scientist comparison

Emerging Trends in BI and Analytics

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

The integration of AI and ML into BI processes is a game-changer. It enables automated data analysis, predictive modeling, and anomaly detection, ushering in a new era of AI data-driven insights.

Use AI Dashboard Generator To Create Reports 10X Faster Using Artificial Intelligence - Ajelix
Dashboard generator powered with AI

Self-Service BI

Self-service BI tools empower non-technical users to perform data analysis independently. This democratization of data is transforming the way organizations leverage insights.

Mobile BI

In an increasingly mobile world, access to data on the go is essential. Mobile BI apps enable decision-makers to stay informed no matter where they are.

What are Business Intelligence and Analytics Tools?

Leading BI and Analytics Tools

We will examine popular BI and analytics tools, their features, benefits, and best uses. From industry giants to innovative newcomers, there’s a tool for every need.

Here’s a list of leading BI and Analytics Tools:

  • Ajelix BI: A self-service BI platform that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to automate data analysis tasks and help users identify patterns and trends in their data.
  • Microsoft Power BI: A popular choice for businesses that already use Microsoft products. Power BI offers a wide range of features, including data visualization, reporting, and analytics.
  • Tableau: A leader in data visualization, Tableau is known for its user-friendly interface and drag-and-drop functionality.
  • Looker Studio (formerly Google Data Studio): A free and easy-to-use tool for creating data visualizations and dashboards. Looker Studio integrates well with other Google products, such as Google Sheets and Google Analytics.
  • Qlik Sense: Another user-friendly option, Qlik Sense offers a unique associative data model that allows users to explore data from different angles.
  • Domo: A cloud-based platform that offers a wide range of BI and analytics capabilities, including data visualization, reporting, and data warehousing.


The Ongoing Journey of BI and Analytics

The world of BI and analytics is a dynamic, ever-evolving landscape. To thrive in this data-driven era, organizations must embrace continuous learning and innovation.

Key Takeaways

Recap the key insights from this comprehensive exploration of BI and analytics, reinforcing their importance in modern business.

Embracing Business Intelligence for Success

We encourage all businesses, regardless of their size or industry, to fully adopt business intelligence and analytics. These tools are powerful and can lead to success in a world that relies on data.

Learn more about Excel and Google Sheets hacks in other articles. Stay connected with us on social media and receive more daily tips and updates.


What kind of data is used in BI and Analytics?

BI and Analytics use both structured and unstructured data. Structured data like sales figures and customer demographics is key, but things like social media comments and call center recordings (unstructured) are valuable too.

What tools are used for Business Intelligence and Analytics?

Popular BI and Analytics tools include Microsoft Power BI, Ajelix BI, Tableau, Looker Studio (formerly Google Data Studio), and Excel.

How does Business Intelligence relate to Artificial Intelligence (AI)?

BI analyzes past data to understand trends, while AI uses that analysis to predict future trends, help discover insights, and even automate decisions. They work together for better insights.

What are the future trends in BI and Analytics?

BI trends are AI for smarter analysis (augmented analytics), easier access for non-experts (self-service BI), and clearer communication of insights (data storytelling) are all on the rise in BI and Analytics.

From data to report in one minute or less with Ajelix BI

Ad hoc financial analysis report example from ajelix bi portal

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