What Is Modern Business Intelligence? | Hacker Noon

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What is BI?

Business Intelligence and reporting is an important part of all businesses nowadays if you want your business to reach the top. It is a set of tools and models that can help you understand the latest trends in your business and how to capture the market for your business niche. These BI tools can be cloud-based applications that can be embedded into your existing business workflow or they may be standalone applications that would complement your existing business software to generate a set of reports and other visualizations that can help data analysts perform their task of data analysis better leading to identifying common mistakes in your business strategies and finding ways to better your product sales and makes your business stand out in the crowd.

Why is BI important?

Business intelligence has now become an integral function in maintaining and growing a business setup. Companies, big or small, generate lots of data which if analyzed properly using a set of BI tools can turn into meaningful insights providing important pieces of actionable information. This information can then help data analysts to formulate strategies to solve and supplement the needs of business and influence operational business decisions.

Think of a scenario where data analysts are relying on the basic reporting functionality available in their CRM or database software. With this limited reporting facility, the business would seriously injure its value in the market. There would be gaps in data analysis and using the same generic reports would lead to limited innovation and not give the company a chance to grow. If the company, on the other hand, invests in ad hoc BI software, it can help data analysts to view and generate a variety of reports with the same dataset. The information can be viewed in multiple ways and new solutions can be proposed for the betterment and growth of the company. Business Intelligence solutions usually aggregate data from different sources and present them according to the needs of the user.

“Analytics software is uniquely leveraged. Most software can optimize existing processes, but analytics (done right) should generate insights that bring to life whole new initiatives. It should change what you do, not just how you do it.” –

Matin Movassate, Founder and CEO at Heap Analytics

Sometimes, companies are reluctant to invest in yet another software and add to the confusion of the workforce who need to get training and start using a new software along with their existing CRM and database softwares. If the staff are not tech-savvy this could add to their stress. One solution is the use of Embedded analytics using Business intelligence software, which can be directly integrated into the company’s existing business software and give the same look and feel. The benefit here is that the staff are already in their comfort zone and familiar with the software and minimum training is required to get them started on the new BI software extension.

Features of BI

There are many features and they may also vary from one BI software to another. Here is a list of common features that would help you understand the functions that BI software may offer for the business.

Data analysis and reporting

Data is the base of any Business intelligence software tool. There may be different ways to manipulate data and perform data analysis but it can mean getting data from multiple sources, format them to be compatible
and accessible, and then generate beautiful visualizations from the data. This helps data analysts to perform data analysis and get meaningful information for the management to understand and take decisions that may benefit the business.

One popular type of report is the ranking report that can assess the popularity of a product within an organization by assigning it a rank. This is usually done on basis of product sales or maybe by conducting surveys but it is helpful when the company wants to work on its weaker products and improve their sales based on this report.

Personalized dashboards

Another common feature that is available with most BI software is to create multiple personalized dashboards for the data analysts. These dashboards can be used for comparing data or monitoring time-critical data that can influence the sales of products.

Predictive analysis

Predictive analysis is usually performed by business analysts to analyze the previous data of the business. Following the market trends from the previous years and the effect of their business strategies can help them predict the direction of the business and on which product to increase their marketing efforts or make informed decisions about which products to market in which parts of the world. All such decisions can be acted upon based on the predictive analysis done using the BI software.

What-if Analysis

What-if analysis is useful in long-term decision-making strategies for a business. These questions analyze the impact of structural and strategic changes of your business and how they would affect the business in the long term. This is another task for the data analyst to find answers to the ‘what if’ questions that the management throws in their direction before implementing a major change in the business.

Popular BI software

Popular BI software can be a combination of features from CRM software and reporting software. Following is a list to get any business started on the quest for the most suitable business intelligence tool to manage its business data and reporting requirements.

Oracle Business Intelligence

Oracle BI software provides a powerful Enterprise management system with data analysis and reporting facilities. Its set of features include data analysis, reporting, and mobile analytics. It allows for self-service data discovery that can help businesses make informed decisions for their growth.

Zoho Analytics

It is a business intelligence software that can create powerful ad hoc reports and visualizations for the business data. It is power-packed reporting software that can make data analysts’ jobs easier and help them perform data analytics and reporting functions with ease.


It is a business intelligence solution that can adapt to different businesses with ease and create a single solution for a business’s operational and financial data. Data analysts can perform detailed data analysis using the features of this BI solution and help boost the performance of the business by making decisions based on predictive analysis.

Dotnet report builder

It is a cloud-based ad hoc reporting solution that can be easily embedded into the existing business workflow. This enables data analysts to create beautiful visualization and ad hoc reports that can cater to the specific business niche. Using dotnet report data, analysts can create multiple data dashboards customized to their individual needs.


Business Intelligence and data reporting help businesses to come out of their messy and unorganized data. Setting up an embedded analytic solution or standalone BI software are both routes that data analysts can take after giving consideration to meet their company’s needs.

This article gave an insight into some basic features and functionality that a desirable modern BI software has and then illustrated some examples to get the data analysts started.

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