The Rise, Fall, and Resurrection of Business Intelligence Tools

J.D. Crabtree
October 26, 2021

Complete transparency of any business is important in making the best decisions possible moving forward, whether you are looking to grow and scale your business or simply reduce operating costs and maximize profits. Business Intelligence (BI) tools have been a great innovation over time for businesses to gain a 360-degree view of their operations. Up until recent the democratization of business intelligence, this incredible technology was only available to the largest companies. Let's take a closer look at why Business Intelligence is crucial to the success of your business, and how democratization makes it possible for all businesses to attain fast and accurate reports, gain clarity, and drive data-driven decisions.

What are Business Intelligence Tools?

The use of business intelligence tools is the cornerstone of both short-term and long-term business strategies. Business intelligence refers to a variety of processes and tools that are used to obtain quality data and present it in a way that provides valuable insights. These tools give companies the information they need to make informed decisions. The use of BI tools is crucial for businesses to stay competitive and maximize your bottom line. It is important to note that business intelligence is a broad term that encompasses a whole category of tools that can be used to extract valuable data. Each company is unique and their needs will be different, which means that the tools needed by each business will also be different. Some companies may need several tools while others only a few. 

What are the Benefits of Business Intelligence Tools? 

Manually obtaining, analyzing it, and interpreting data is costly, labor-intensive, and prone to human error. Ultimately, this can really eat into your operational budget, which then cuts into your bottom line. Here's where BI comes in and saves the day: the technology offers a variety of benefits to businesses based on their needs and goals:

  • Reduced operational costs
  • Increased revenue and profit
  • Ability to make better business decisions
  • Quicker and more accurate reporting, analysis, and planning
  • Increase in the quality of data
  • Elevated customer satisfaction
  • Gain a competitive advantage
  • Increased employee satisfaction
  • Elimination of human error

The bottom line is that every business has characteristics that make it unique. BI tools bookmark a company's unique properties, and in turn provide comprehensive, customized solution. 

How Does Business Intelligence Work?

Many businesses have a large quantity of data scattered in several different locations. This makes it extremely difficult for owners and managers to keep track of this data, much less turn it into useful insights that can be used to make good business decisions. Oftentimes, only a few people have access to the data or different people have access to different sets of data. This means that no one person is able to see a complete view of the company, which hinders the ability of decision-makers to make informed decisions. Here's where BI tools come into play: the technology provides fast and accurate complex reports by utilizing a variety of data sources. The best part is that BI tools are able to perform these intricate and manifold processes without the need for IT services.

The Fall of Business Intelligence

As promising as BI seemed at its conception, there were a few apparent issues in the beginning. First, by design it instantly alienated smaller companies and startups without the capital to invest in advanced BI technology. As a result, the only potential players left were large businesses and enterprises.

This leads to the second issue that led to the fall of earlybusiness intelligence. Users wanted business intelligence applications with built-in analytical tools. The necesity to switch between applications to get the needed information was highly inconvenient and unappealing. With a wealth of resources at their disposal, the large businesses and enterprises primarily using BI were willing to look elsewhere to find a convenient solution. With business intelligence quickly losing footing, it needed a revamp...and fast.

The Democratization of Business Intelligence

Before the democratization of business intelligence, smaller companies and those just starting out did not have the means and resources at their disposal to extract, analyze, and interpret large quantities of data in a way that is useful in making business decisions. Fortunately, times have changed and this is no longer the case. What does business intelligence democratization mean for your business? 

Prior to democratization, large corporations were typically the only businesses able to reap the benefits of business intelligence tools. Large companies would employ a chief data officer who would take charge of BI tools and work with CIOs, CSOs, CTOs, CEOs, etc. Only certain individuals had access to data, metrics, reports, and analyzations. This caused a gap between those with power and talented co-workers who could glean useful insights from data if they had access to it. Small businesses were excluded from these benefits and large companies still were not making the most of the business intelligence tools they had at their disposal. 

It is important to move past the misconception that only the data team should have access to the company's data. Employees across all departments should have access to company insights. The better employees understand a business, the better decisions they are capable of making, and the more productive they are. There is no doubt that we are in the age of big data:  companies of all sizes need to be able to quickly and efficiently obtain, analyze, and interpret large volumes of data. Not only does this help a company make better holistic decisions, but it maintains a competitive edge against larger corporations..

Business Intelligence Tools are For Every Business

A tool is said to be democratized when an existing tool becomes more accessible to the masses, either by affordability or usability. Thanks to recent democratization, every company regardless of size or stage of growth can take advantage of business intelligence tools. Gone are the days of business intelligence only being available to large organizations such as blue chip companies with massive IT departmentsAdvancements in technology have leveled the playing field for small and new businesses and those just starting out.

Business intelligence tools are the way of the future for businesses both small and large if they wish to stay on the cutting edge of their industry. Yaguara is such a tool: our operational analytics platform is designed to allow companies to aggregate and visualize data without the need for code. Our BI platform is an innovative way for eCommerce and retail businesses to work together towards the greater good of leveraging data to achieve company goals.

With any evolving concept, it is critical to think about the people behind the numbers. Our goal is to bring data-driven metrics, the democratization of data, and industry-wide inclusivity to any business wanting to level up on this front. It is all about making that first step that much easier.

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