Business Intelligence: What is it and what is it for?

Digital Marketing 26 December 2023
business intelligence

In an increasingly competitive business world, Business Intelligence tools have become essential allies for organizations.

But what exactly are they and what is their purpose? From emerging startups to global corporations, BI tools are an essential asset for any company.

In this article, we’ll tell you what Business Intelligence is, what its functions are and how these powerful tools can revolutionize the way companies manage data, gain insights and, as a result, drive their success. Let’s get started!

What is Business Intelligence?

business intelligence

Business Intelligence (BI) is a set of techniques, processes, tools and technologies that enable companies to collect, analyze and transform data into meaningful information.

The main objective of Business Intelligence is to help organizations make strategic decisions, identify trends, evaluate performance, and optimize their operations.

At the core of BI is the collection of data from a variety of sources, such as enterprise databases, applications, spreadsheets and more. This data is organized and presented in reports, dashboards and visualizations that are easy to understand. This allows decision makers within the company to obtain key information in a timely manner.

What is the difference between Business Intelligence and Big Data?

Business Intelligence (BI) and Big Data are two related but distinct concepts in the field of data management and business decision making. Here are the key differences between Business Intelligence and Big Data:


Let’s start by explaining the concept so you can better understand what each one is about.

Data size:

Data structure:


Tools and technologies:

Benefits for companies

Business Intelligence (BI) offers a number of significant benefits to companies that help improve decision making, increase operational efficiency and maintain a competitive advantage.

These are some of the key benefits that BI brings to companies:

Informed decision making

BI provides companies with accurate, real-time information, making it easier to make data-driven decisions with less room for error.

2. Process optimization

It helps identify inefficiencies in operations and take steps to improve efficiency in areas such as supply chain, inventory management and production.

3. Identification of trends and opportunities

Data analytics with BI enables companies to identify emerging market trends, growth opportunities and areas where improvements can be leveraged.

4. Improved customer satisfaction

By better understanding customer behavior and needs through data analytics, companies can offer more personalized service and meet customer expectations more effectively.

5. Cost reduction

BI helps identify areas where costs can be reduced without sacrificing quality or efficiency, thereby increasing profitability.

6. Improved financial performance

By analyzing real-time financial data, companies can make more informed investment, budgeting and asset management decisions.

7. Competitiveness

Companies that use BI can make faster, data-driven decisions, giving them a competitive advantage in an ever-changing marketplace.

8. Measuring results

BI allows constant monitoring of the company’s performance, which facilitates the evaluation of the effectiveness of strategies and the identification of areas for improvement.

9. Risk management

Helps companies identify and mitigate risks by analyzing financial and operational data.

10. Improve strategic planning

By providing real-time information, BI helps companies adapt more quickly to market changes and adjust their strategies as conditions evolve.

11. Regulatory compliance

Companies can use BI to ensure compliance with regulations and standards, generating accurate reports and records.

12. Collaboration and communication

Facilitates collaboration and communication between departments by providing a single, shared source of information.

How does business intelligence work?

  1. Data collection: BI tools can extract data from a variety of sources, such as databases, spreadsheets, enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, sales record systems, and external sources.
  1. Data processing and transformation: These tools can clean and transform data into compatible formats, including unifying data from different sources and resolving data quality issues.
  1. Data analytics: BI tools offer advanced analytical capabilities that enable users to explore data, identify patterns, trends and relationships, and perform predictive analytics.
  1. Reporting and dashboarding: BI tools allow you to create customized reports and interactive dashboards that present data in an understandable and visual way.
  1. Data visualization: They provide graphs, tables and interactive visualizations that facilitate data interpretation.
  1. Secure data access: BI tools often have advanced security features to ensure that only authorized individuals have access to certain data.
  1. Scheduling and automation: Some tools allow you to schedule the automatic update of reports and dashboards, which keeps data always up to date.
  1. Integration with other applications: Many BI tools can be integrated with other business applications, such as CRM (Customer Relationship Management) and ERP, to provide a holistic view of business data.

What are the main business intelligence tools?

business intelligence tools

There are many Business Intelligence (BI) tools available on the market, and choosing the right tool depends on your organization’s specific needs, budget and other factors.

Below, I provide you with a list of some of the major BI tools that have been popular and widely used in the industry:

Examples of Business Intelligence in companies

Business Intelligence (BI) is used in a variety of industries and companies to improve decision making and optimize operations. Here are examples of how BI is applied in different types of companies:

1. Retail in business intelligence


A retail chain can use BI to analyze sales data and shopping trends. This allows them to adjust their inventories, plan specific promotions at key times and make informed decisions on store expansion based on market demand.

2. Banking


Banks use BI to analyze customer behavior and detect fraud patterns. They can also use BI to manage risks, such as determining the probability of loan default.



A manufacturing company can use BI to optimize the supply chain and production. Real-time data analysis can help identify bottlenecks and improve production efficiency.

4. Telecommunications with business intelligence

business intelligence

Telecommunications companies can use BI to analyze usage data of their services, identify consumer trends and adjust their offerings according to market needs.

5. Health and business intelligence


Hospitals and healthcare providers can use BI to manage patient care costs, identify disease patterns and improve medical resource allocation.

6. Marketing

business intelligence

Digital marketing agencies use BI to measure campaign performance, analyze customer conversion and segment their audience more effectively.

7. E-commerce with business intelligence


Online companies use BI to track shopper behavior, identify popular products and offer personalized recommendations to customers.

8. Airlines and business intelligence


Airlines can use BI to analyze flight, seat occupancy and schedule data to optimize route planning and fleet management.

9. Human Resources

business intelligence

Companies use BI to manage the workforce, tracking HR metrics such as turnover, productivity and employee satisfaction.

10. Government


Government agencies can use BI to analyze demographic data, identify crime trends and make informed public policy decisions.

Business Intelligence has become a critical asset for companies in the information age. Provides organizations with the ability to transform data into insights, enabling them to make strategic decisions

Investing in BI tools and strategies has become a necessity for companies looking to stay competitive and thrive in today’s marketplace.


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