What Is Business Intelligence And Is It For Us?

Now I’m sure some or most of you have heard the term Business Intelligence, however the term and technology is relatively new to the nonprofit industry.  Now before you think this blog post is not for you and Business Intelligence is only for large corporations, read this one line:

Business Intelligence is slang for Reporting (at a whole notha level).  BI is more than just corporate reporting and more than a set of tools to coax data out of databases, Executive Directors and nonprofit leaders all over the world use BI to identify inefficient business processes that are ripe for re-engineering and make key business decisions based on this intelligence.

I would like to begin and clarify and define just what Business Intelligence is.

Business intelligence, or BI, is an umbrella term that refers to a variety of software applications used to analyze an organization’s raw data. BI as a discipline is made up of several related activities, including data mining, online analytical processing, querying and reporting.

Now that definition from CIO.com can be a little confusing so I will try and boil it down to the key points and what you need to focus on to begin using these techniques and tools.

First and Most Important, What’s The Benefit: Organizations use BI to improve decision making, cut costs and identify new prospects and develop new engagement and funding opportunities.  So many folks throw the term BIG DATA out and around and everyone is in pursuit of it, but what’s the goal?  What do you plan to do once you have accomplished your goal of BIG DATA?

Well BI tools provide for simple, quick and accurate visual displays of large amounts of data in a simple interface.  Check out a few examples of VIZ reporting using my favorite BI tool Tableau.

Is your organization considering a Business Intelligence tool?


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