Business intelligence (BI) involves using computers to make use of business data like sales or financial records. This type of software helps a business owner keep track of information about business activities so he can use the information to make positive changes to the structure of the business. Functions in a BI system include data gathering, tracking, and display. The best business intelligence system would include the most useful features for your company to analyze and interpret business data. Business intelligence programs are often called business intelligence tools.
Large companies often have dedicated employees conducting business intelligence analysis, while a small business owner might use a business intelligence system on her own. Staff members using a business intelligence system might include a business intelligence consultant, a business intelligence analyst, or members of business intelligence management. These employees use business intelligence software to examine data about the company and its activities and progress. A business intelligence consultant is usually a contract employee hired by the company to advice the company on business intelligence. When it comes time for data to be interpreted for use, the business data analyst examines the data for valuable information.
Most business intelligence system setups allow small business owners and business intelligence managers to view business data in many different types of graphic representations, like charts and graphs. Business intelligence helps a management team monitor performance data, often in real time. Some business intelligence system functions have forecasting options that allow the user to predict future trends in data. A business intelligence system with good predictive data can help a business owner make informed decisions regarding future actions in the company.
Some business intelligence systems track customer data so a business can learn from customer interactions and provide better service. A common form of business intelligence system in the restaurant business is a customer log, which can log orders by a customer and allow workers to share notes about the customer, including common tipping behaviors, quirks, and favorite foods. Keeping data on customers allows a business to serve customers better individually while offering valuable large-scale data that can help an owner make decisions about the business. Some systems also allow business managers to sort and chart customer data.
Business intelligence managers who are often out of the office can opt for a business intelligence system with the option to access information on the road. Some systems record information about company operations, storing video of company facilities and keeping track of whether important machines like computers, servers, and manufacturing equipment are online. These systems often offer remote access that allows access to business intelligence data through the web.