Professionals can find potential insights into customer behavior, market conditions, financial performance, economic indicators and operational management in the increasingly massive and complex datasets generated by companies’ internal and external transactions.
Yet, for all those benefits, according to one estimate, the typical organization uses less than half of its structured data to enable leaders to accelerate the decision-making processes. In fact, less than 1% of its raw data is used at all.
“Imagine what you could achieve if your company harnessed all the information that was available internally about your strategic operations and efficiencies (or inefficiencies) and externally about your customers, competitors, and vendors,” the business intelligence (BI) solutions provider CSG says.
In programs like the online Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU), students learn about the applications of business intelligence and its value to organizations.
What Is Business Intelligence?
Organizing, analyzing and distributing data to leaders from the C-suite to front-line managers in ways that enable them to extract insights and trends is fast becoming the key element in achieving competitive dominance.
BI uses technology and techniques to mine datasets and identify trends, patterns and anomalies. It also uses technology to present findings in easy-to-understand visualizations such as dashboards, graphs, maps and infographics. Used effectively, BI can help leaders make data-driven decisions, identify new opportunities, address potential risks and optimize operations.
It does not make decisions or merely comprise a system for generating reports and creating visualizations. “Rather, BI offers a way for people to examine data to understand [it],” according to a CIO article.
What Are Emerging Trends in BI and Analytics?
Data analytics is related to BI. Where BI focuses on historical data to extract insights and understanding, analytics processes data. There are several types of analytics, each of which serves a distinct purpose: descriptive (which describes what happened), diagnostic (which explains why it happened), predictive (which models data to describe outcomes of scenarios) and prescriptive (which considers all factors and suggests actionable choices).
Like everything in business, intelligence and analytics are in a constant state of change. Data analytics, for instance, is shifting sophisticated automated processes — such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and natural language processing (NLP) — to expand and deepen visibility into data and provide insights in real-time.
“Better data observability means better business intelligence,” according to Monte Carlo, a BI services provider.
AI, ML and NLP are already accelerating organizations’ ability to improve speed and accuracy by automating routine tasks and identifying trends and patterns to make predictions based on historical data. Other innovations that are disrupting BI include:
- Data storytelling: Rather than static visualizations, BI is adopting advanced analytics to develop interactive models to table-top test scenarios, explain their implications and predict how data trends, relationships and anomalies change over time.
- Augmented reality (AR): AR combines data and three-dimensional components to create immersive visualizations that enable decision-makers to explore and understand information.
- Distributed computing: Given the accelerated growth of data volumes, BI is trending toward the use of multiple software platforms configured to run on hardware, including mainframe computers to mobile devices.
With the future of a business’s success resting on its ability to adopt analytics and BI processes and adapt to their rapid evolution, employers are placing value on professionals with advanced expertise in management principles coupled with analytics and data skills.
What Skills Are Necessary for a Career in Business Intelligence?
Among the qualities a successful BI analyst brings to the role, DataPine includes:
- Business acumen: Acquiring a sufficiently deep understanding of models, KPIs and strategic decision-making skills often involves earning an MBA
- Data analysis: The MBA program offered online by FGCU engages students in the hands-on practices and tools used to mine and analyzes data.
- Data visualization: Students in the FGCU online curriculum also explore how to present data in bite-sized portions and use them in decision-making processes.
The online curriculum is identical to the on-campus program, which is accredited by The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International). Graduates gain highly marketable skills such as strategic thinking, complex problem solving and effective methods to extract value from structured and unstructured data.
Learn more about Florida Gulf Coast University’s online MBA program.