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AIQ: What Business Intelligence Means for You

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Synaptiq has spent the last decade studying data and artificial intelligence (AI) across a wide range of industries. We’ve consulted with clients, conferred with partners, collaborated with competitors, and conducted research to understand how and why organizations leverage these technologies.


Our ultimate takeaway?

AIQ: a novel approach to data and AI, centered on 11 key capabilities shown to facilitate successful workflow integration and return on investment (ROI).

This blog post will deep-dive into one of the 11 capabilities: Business Intelligence. We’ll discuss what it is, how it’s done (when it’s done right), and why it matters. Or, you can read an overview of AIQ, including all 11 capabilities, in our blog post, “AIQ: What We Mean & What You Stand to Gain.“


What is Business Intelligence?

Every organization collects data in one form or another, but using that data for decision-making requires Business Intelligence.  Business Intelligence is the mechanism by which an organization conducts data analysis and creates data visualizations to derive and illustrate actionable insights about its past, present, and future. Business Intelligence helps makes sense of data by revealing patterns through analysis and linking those patterns, positive or negative, to specific decisions. It can be used by teams across an organization to track key metrics and measure progress on goals, or by C-level executives to inform broader decision-making.


Business Intelligence Done Right

In many organizations, the simplest form of Business Intelligence happens in spreadsheets.  Employees export data from systems to spreadsheets, generate figurines (e.g., charts and tables), and share them to inform decision-making.  Unfortunately, spreadsheet-based Business Intelligence has a number of disadvantages:

  • Spreadsheets are often locked away on the computer or Cloud account of the individual who created them. Others may not have access, which leads to the confusing co-existence of different spreadsheets containing the same data created by individuals in the same organization.

  • Spreadsheets are often out of date because few individuals understand how to set them to self-update.

  • Spreadsheets cannot process as much data as more specialized, dedicated data analysis tools.

  • Individuals can easily (even accidentally) leak spreadsheets outside of their organization.

Given these challenges and others, Business Intelligence done “right” demands—at minimum—robust data warehousing capabilities and specialized data analysis tools like Tableau or Microsoft PowerBI. A data warehouse is the unification of disparate data sources into a centralized location to support Business Intelligence. The ideal data warehouse stores both operational and customer data so that an organization’s Business Intelligence team can quickly access up-to-date data to conduct analysis and inform decision-making.

Ultimately the purpose of Business Intelligence is to support the workflow within an organization. Understanding the metrics, processes, and cadence of the business allows the Business Intelligence team to distribute data visualizations with the right data insights to the right decision-makers at the right time.


Why Business Intelligence Matters

Without Business Intelligence, organizations are “flying blind”.  Decisions might be made without any basis beyond intuition or “gut instinct”.  In today’s accelerating digital world, this kind of recklessness is flat-out dangerous and results in massive loss of revenue or profit, disgruntled workers, and unsatisfied customers.

You can learn how Business Intelligence fits into AIQ by reading our blog. Or, take our AIQ assessment to determine where your organization stands for each of the 11 capabilities.

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