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Guide to integrating Business Intelligence and Analytics

Leveraging data for enhanced business campaigns, operations and functions is just good business sense, but you need to have a plan in place to make this happen. By integrating Business Intelligence (BI) and Business Analytics, you’re best positioned to give your business the competitive edge. Here’s how…


What is Business Intelligence?

Before integrating this data processing tools, it’s important to understand the difference between the two. Business Intelligence is a set of practices that involves collecting, structuring, analysing and turning raw data into usable business insight through reports, graphs and dashboards. It’s an overview of historical events to determine future actions.


What is Business / Predictive Analytics?

Unlike BI which focuses on historical activities solely, Business Analytics makes forecasts about future business trends – although these are also based on historical data. This means that both use the same techniques for data processing, with Business Analytics building on from BI.


How to integrate Business Intelligence and Analytics

Both BI and Business Analytics are beneficial for business, but they need to be carefully integrated into your operations to ensure you’re fully benefitting. Here are a few guidelines that can assist you with this process.


–          Introduce BI and analytics to employees

Everyone in the business, including employees and stakeholders, will need to fully understand what BI and analytics mean. This buy-in is important, because it will be your employees across the various departments who are actively involved in data processing. They’ll also need to have a clear understanding of the difference between the tools and how they work.


–          Gather your team

You’ll need to establish your BI and analytics teams from across the company. This will include representatives from the different departments as a way to give everyone a voice, as well as a way to simplify the data collection process. In addition to representatives from each department, you will need people with BI-specific roles, which means individuals with theoretical, practical and technical knowledge of the actual tools and strategy.


–          Determine BI and analytics’ objectives

Once everyone is on board, it’s important to determine what your objectives will be with these data processing tools. To determine these objectives, you can question:


  • What type of data will you source?
  • Which data sources will be used?
  • Who will be able to access the data?
  • How will the reports be presented?
  • How will you measure the progress?


–          Develop your strategy

Once you have your objectives, you can decide on your strategy for integrating BI and analytics into the business. This will cover aspects such as the documentation of data sources, and whether or not your data flow needs automation.


–          Establish data integration

Your IT department or BI supplier will need to assist you with the data integration as this is quite specialised and time consuming. The data integration tools must process the raw data ahead of time so that it’s usable. This will then be stored in the data warehouse – a database that keeps the information in its processed format. Larger businesses that work with bigger data volumes might need more technology for ongoing processes.


–          Select your preferred end-user interface

Once the data has been processed and refined, it needs to be communicated to end users in a usable format. The modern BI dashboards can be customised for your particular industry and business requirements, and are also available in real-time for updated data.


–          On-site training

Employee support and training is the vital final step in integrating Business Intelligence and analytics. This ensures everyone actually understands it and knows how to use it effectively. Your BI supplier should provide training services, as well as updates whenever necessary.


Canvas Intelligence provides granular Business Intelligence solutions to help your business keep track of operational efficiencies, control budgets and manage costs in real-time. They’re able to connect multiple ERP systems to Power BI which enables you to drill down into real-time visual data on mobile, PC or tablet.

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