La Salle University’s Master of Business Administration (MBA), Business Systems & Analytics Specialization online program prepares students to be leaders in several interesting fields. Among these, business intelligence (BI) and business analytics are particularly relevant to the current data-driven business environment.
For today’s BI professionals, platforms and tools for BI and analytics are central to leveraging vast amounts of data to make effective, informed decisions. Emerging technologies have led to rapid advances and innovations. Still, to maximize the positive impact these technologies can have on business operations, BI leadership must keep up-to-date on the ways such technologies and their applications are evolving in 2021.
How Do BI and Business Analytics Benefit Businesses?
BI and business analytics have long been used to drive business decision-making. They help leaders gather and analyze data from all available sources to draw insight into business functions, including marketing, customer relations, human resources and logistics.
The insights gained help businesses monitor and understand current performance metrics, market trends, customer habits and preferences. Leadership also leverages BI to refine and maximize efficiency in operations, increase sales and return on investment (ROI), develop brand loyalty, enrich the customer experience, enhance the internal employee experience and improve workforce performance, productivity and retention.
BI and analytics also give leadership ways to adapt to changing conditions. This may involve iterating strategic planning or business models and pivoting as needed to maintain continuity and a business’s competitive advantage in volatile or disrupted markets.
Taken together, BI and business analytics are used to make accurate and informed decisions regarding every aspect of business management. In turn, they drive business growth and higher profits for stakeholders.
What Is the Role of BI and Analytics Tools and Platforms?
BI and analytics professionals are skilled in gleaning insight from data analysis. Yet, large sums of information are often difficult to comprehend or contextualize. BI and business analytics tools and platforms make the information and insights usable, accessible and understandable.
BI software can organize information according to user preferences through dashboards, data visualization and other such means. Technology leaders may embed these tools within management systems and platforms that a business already uses, or they may be integrated into advanced analytics platforms, allowing less BI-savvy business users to access the powerful insights in more digestible ways.
The access to more streamlined information enables more agile and informed decision-making as well as more consistent and controlled data management throughout an organization.
What Should Organizations Know About BI Tools and Platforms in 2021?
Today’s powerful data analytics technologies can gather, organize and analyze vast data from numerous sources quickly and accurately. Developments in artificial intelligence (AI) such as machine learning (ML) and ML subsets like neural networks and deep learning allow these technologies to perform advanced analysis with relatively little human input.
Further developments in technologies like natural language processing (NLP) in BI tools help business users directly interact with and explore data that previously required the skill level of data scientists.
Advancements in cloud computing facilitate the integration of powerful BI tools and platforms in the mobile environment, allowing for more effective collaboration between remote teams. Better information sharing can greatly increase the efficiency of analytics processes, both in speed and data quality management.
Modern, AI-driven BI and analytics tools can also automate both mundane and complex tasks, from daily reports to ROI analyses. By merging numerous AI technologies, augmented analytics furthers the potential of automated processes as well as the ease of querying and gaining insight from BI tools.
Augmented analytics can also help synthesize processes of descriptive analysis using predictive and prescriptive analysis. Essentially, tools and platforms using augmented analytics can tell users what has happened, what is happening, what is likely to happen and what they should do about it, all in one place and in understandable language.
From Google to Microsoft, Qlik to Tableau, software companies large and small offer various BI and analytics tools that incorporate these innovative technologies. Selecting the best tools for the job depends on a business’ BI needs, ease of integration with existing information systems, usability for non-BI/analytics professionals, scalability and, of course, cost.
Regardless, BI leadership should strive to understand how to utilize modern BI and analytics tools and platforms. With this understanding, these professionals can better leverage available data and today’s technologies to improve business outcomes across the board.