‘Business Intelligence’, which means ‘ İş Zekası’ in Turkish, is an umbrella term used as a variable for software applications used to analyze the raw data of organizations. BI is a discipline that organizes many interrelated activities, including data mining, online analytics, querying and reporting.

Companies use BI systems to improve decision-making, reduce costs, and identify new business opportunities. BI is more than a set of tools to fool enterprise systems with data, and more than just reporting on them. Information systems managers (CIOs) use BI systems to identify inefficient business processes.

Nowadays, with BI tools, business people have started to prefer these systems where they can analyze data themselves instead of waiting for information systems to run complex reports.

Although BI keeps its big promise, its practices stubbornly resist technical and cultural challenges. Experts need to ensure that the data that feeds BI applications is clean and consistent so that users’ confidence is gained.

Restaurant chains such as Hardee’s, Wendy’s, Ruby Tuesday and TGI Friday’s are loyal users of BI software. They use it to make strategic decisions such as which new products will be added to the menu, which items will be removed from use, or which low-performance place will be closed. They also use it for tactical issues such as re-contracting with food suppliers and identifying opportunities to improve inefficient processes. Because restaurant chains are based on operations and BI is important for them to run their business, they are part of an elite group of companies that reach real values from these systems to all business areas.

A critical element of BI, ‘business analysis’, on the other hand, is very important to ensure the success of companies within a wide variety of industries.

In retail, Wal-Mart, for example, uses a huge amount of data and category analysis to manage the industry.

Who should lead this path?

Sharing is vital for success in BI projects, because everyone who is interested in these processes has to provide full access to information in order to change paths in their work. BI projects should start with top managers, but the next user group may be salespeople. Because their job is to increase sales and make up for what they do. So they need to have a structure that contains all the tools that will help them. Of course, these tools should also be designed in such a way that we can obtain easy and reliable data.

With the help of BI systems, employees can lead their sales teams to improve their performance and make their own changes and teamwork. When sales managers see big differences in team performance, they work to take the team to the leadership level that goes slower.

How do I implement a BI system?

When processes for BI are charted, companies should firstly analyze ways of making decisions, making it easier to make faster and safer decisions, as well as taking into account these information to decide how they want to present the information (report, graph, online, etc.). Decision-making discussions are geared towards what information firms will collect, analyze and publish within their BI systems.

Good BI systems need to provide resources. It is not enough that the sales reports show yesterday’s sales or the same day of sales a year ago. It must explain which factors were effective in yesterday’s sales or the same day of sales a year ago.

BI does not turn back like other technology projects when users feel threatened by technology. Information systems managers need to be more careful with users when they faced with a system such as BI, which is strategically implemented, which essentially changes the way companies manage the business and people’s decision making.

Seven steps to transition to BI systems:

  1. Make sure the data is flawless.
  2. Educate your users.
  3. Quickly distribute and adjust. Don’t spend a lot of time to get excellent reports because they should turn into work done. Get reports that give the values the fastest, then make small changes to them.
  4. Take integrated approaches to the creation of the data warehouse from the outset. Make sure you don’t stay in an unusable database.
  5. Before you start, clearly define the return on investment. Check out the specific benefits you expect for success as a draft and then realistically every quarter or every six months.
  6. Focus on your business goals.
  7. Apply the BI system with the idea that the numbers you need are there and roughly know where you are.

What are the problems we may face?

User resistance is a major obstacle to BI success; in addition, it is necessary to extract large amounts of data that are irrelevant and have poor data quality.

A key to understanding BI systems correctly is standard data. The most important basic component of any BI system is ‘data’. The data are the building blocks of these systems. Companies should have well-stocked data warehouses and data stores before starting and operating the system. Otherwise, the system will continue to operate with defective information.

Another potential hazard is BI instruments. Although BI tools are more user-friendly and scalable than before, the core of BI is still reporting rather than process management, although it has gradually changed. And business intelligence (BI) should not be confused with business analysis.

A third obstacle to BI used to transform business processes is that many companies do not know their business processes adequately and cannot determine how to improve them. And companies need to be careful about the processes they choose. If the processes do not have a direct impact on earnings or if the processes across the company are not standardized, all of BI’s efforts can be wasted. Companies need to know how to regulate specific business processes. Questions such as “What is the flow of information and data in the face of variable processes, how does the data switch between users?” should be understood and answered by the users before starting the BI project.

 What are the benefits of business intelligence?

BI has a wide range of applications in which companies help ROI charts to show points of return on investment. Business intelligence is used to identify cost savings ideas, uncover business opportunities, send ERP data into accessible reports, quickly decide retailer demand and optimize prices.

It also makes the data accessible. BI software makes it easy to measure the value of relationships with suppliers and customers, and acts as a lever in companies during negotiations.

There are many opportunities to keep money within the organization by optimizing business processes and focusing on decisions. BI provides insight into business errors and provides meaningful, return on investment (ROI) charts. For example, employees of the city of Albuquerque identified opportunities by using BI software to reduce mobile phone use, overwork, and other operational costs, and made saving the city $ 2 million in 3 years. Likewise, with the help of BI vehicles, Toyota realized that it paid an extra $ 812,000 to its carriers in 2000. While companies using BI compete to reveal defective business processes, they are more successful than companies using BI only to observe what is happening in the company.

Extra information to have accurately the BI system;

  • Analyze how experts decide.
  • Pay attention to what information experts need to make accurate and quick decisions easier.
  • Pay attention to data quality.
  • Set up the most important business performance metrics.
  • Provide situations that affect performance metrics.

And remember that BI is more than decision support systems. With the advancement of technology and the development of information systems managers’ (CIOs) implementation paths, BI has the potential to transform businesses today. Information systems managers who successfully use BI systems to improve their business processes are contributing to their businesses in a wide range of ways rather than implementing simple reporting tools.