Every day, every hour and every second, data is generated in a company. This data can be used to identify trends or customer needs. Data and its targeted evaluation can therefore be the key to the success and growth of a company. Those who know how to evaluate and use their data effectively have a clear competitive advantage. Think of your data as an uncut diamond. Business Intelligence (BI) tools help you to cut this diamond from the rough.
Why Business Intelligence?
A collection of data alone does not create added value. Business intelligence tools help you to process and visualise the available data and to recognise patterns. In this way, potential, as well as possible weak points can be recognised, the course can be set accordingly, and the added value can be expanded. Business Intelligence forms the basis for accelerating and improving business and decision-making processes. Management decisions no longer have to be made “from the gut”, as they are given an objective basis.
The Data Warehouse
In order for company data to be evaluated, it must be available in a uniform format. In the data warehouse, different data sources are linked together and attached to the corresponding historical time series. Furthermore, the data is standardised and indexed so that it can be used meaningfully in later analyses and to ensure that like is compared with like.
A data warehouse stores the data to be evaluated for the entire company and is often introduced upstream or together with BI systems. The added value here lies in a central, unified database in which all information from the various company divisions can be accessed. The data warehouse represents the single point of truth that downstream business intelligence and business analytics applications can access, therefore serving as a uniform and reliable database.
Task of Business Intelligence Tools
The task of business intelligence tools lies in the preparation, analysis and presentation of existing data from the data warehouse or other sources. Data discovery functions allow the modelling of company data and its subsequent viewing and analysis based on various dimensions and at different aggregation levels. In most cases, data discovery modules are well integrated into BI software and easy to use, making much of the functionality available without coding. Data discovery enables intuitive and exploratory analysis of collected data to discover new patterns and trends. The standard equipment of BI tools also includes statistical analysis functions that can provide additional information and insights. Data visualisation represents an essential task area of business intelligence software.
In addition to centrally defined standard reports on business performance and the achievement of certain goals or key performance indicators (KPIs), ad-hoc reports can provide the recipient of the report with information on specific questions. This ensures that the relevant figures and data are also available for short-term decisions. Helpful evaluations can be collected and visualised on dashboards for the respective areas of responsibility or individual decision-makers. A clear presentation of the most important KPIs in graphs, maps and diagrams enable intuitive analysis.
Business Intelligence vs. Business Analytics
When talking about business intelligence, the term ‘business analytics’ often comes up. Both refer to data and its analysis. However, while business intelligence is mainly concerned with collecting and processing historical data in the company and monitoring and reporting the data, business analytics tends to go one step further. With business analytics, the focus is on forecasting future developments and less on analysing historical data. Thus, predictive analytics is also an essential part of business analytics. Business analytics and predictive analytics help companies to recognise trends, identify future sales opportunities and manage possible risks. Part of business analytics are also scenario analyses and impact assessments, as well as the analysis of interactions between events. While business intelligence asks more about the “how?” or “what?”, business analytics asks “why?”.
Business Intelligence vs. Big Data
Big Data has become a buzzword in recent years due to ever larger volumes of data, cheap storage space and increasing computer power. Big Data tools differ from classic business intelligence tools, primarily because of the scope of the data. They work with much larger amounts of data and are not limited to the “classic” company figures such as financial sizes, headcounts and number of customers. For example, Big Data tools are used to analyse maintenance data from production machines or customer ratings and experience reports on internet portals. Since this data is of a very different nature and structure than the classic company figures, Big Data also uses correspondingly different methods to process this data. However, both systems – BI and Big Data – can complement each other and provide the data basis for the other system.
Business Intelligence and CCH Tagetik
Although CCH Tagetik belongs to the Corporate Performance Management software segment, it has some Business Intelligence functionalities. In addition to collecting data, the preparation and visualisation of actual and plan data also plays a central role in CCH Tagetik. The Tagetik database often functions as the single point of truth for the Finance Office.