Does the term “business intelligence” intimate you? It’s no wonder. After all, Wikipedia defines business intelligence as “…a set of theories, methodologies, processes, architectures, and technologies that transform raw data into meaningful and useful information for business purposes.” If you got lost at “a set of theories, methodologies,” we don’t blame you. While the concepts behind business intelligence may be complex, using business intelligence tools to understand data is easier than you think. In fact, you likely use business intelligence routinely.
Spreadsheets such as Microsoft Excel and Apple Numbers include business intelligence tools that make it easy to make sense of large amounts of data. While reading an endless collection of data spread across multiple columns and rows is tedious and generally difficult to analyze, viewing that same business intelligence data in a data visualization such as a bar chart or a pie chart brings clarity, if not an aha moment, to the process (Source: Data Visualization Tools from InetSoft).
For example, say you had a pair of dice and wanted to determine which numbers add up the most when how you roll them. Using a spreadsheet, you could tally the values. Your list on its own wouldn’t tell you much. Yet, if you visualized that data using business intelligence charts, you’d quickly see patterns such as those shown below.
Modern business intelligence and ad hoc reporting tools are just as easy to use as those built into your favorite spreadsheet application. However, they’re built specifically for gaining deep insights into your data. Whether you have a small database or need to connect to multiple data sources containing truly big data, business intelligence tools can help you to visualize the data, identify patterns, spot potential trends, make educated conclusions, and much more. In addition, business intelligence tools generally allow you to “drill down” into your data to dig in further and find the most relevant insights for your specific needs (Source: http://businessreportingtools.com/white-papers-2/white-papers/).
Don’t be intimidated by business intelligence; it’s a crucial, easy-to-use tool that can help you excel on the job.