What is Business Intelligence?
Business Intelligence is a general term for a variety of tools that improve decision-making for companies and their management teams.
Business intelligence (BI) involves a combination of business analytics, sophisticated data processing, data visualization, data tools, and infrastructure, using the best practices to facilitation organizational decision making.
A sound BI system will allow you to view your organization’s data in a timely and comprehensive manner.
A BI platform helps you identify inefficient practices, and changes in market supply or demand quickly and easily.
You must be able to use the data to make the necessary changes to your organizational structure or practices.
The BI requirements of Call Centers are unique in that they have to deal with enormous quantities of data from multiple sources and locations.
Reporting software plays a crucial role in transforming data from multiple sources and locations into useful insight.
Background and History
Traditional Business Intelligence (TBI) first emerged in the 1960s as a way to systemically share information across organizations.
The available systems evolved in tandem with emergent technologies and decision-making software applications and computer-generated analytical models for business insights.
The next phase saw the development of specialized BI teams equipped with IT-reliant service solutions.
Today’s BI solutions prioritize flexible self-service analysis, governed data on trusted platforms, empowered business users, and speed to insight.
This short article will provide readers with a brief introduction to BI and a guide to the top trends in BI with a particular focus on the unique needs of call centers.
What does a BI platform include?
A good platform will include a combination of methods and processes that gather, store, and report data from business operations and activities.
Business intelligence provides data analysis that will optimize your company’s or employees’ performance.
The information is delivered to clients using reporting software.
Here is a summary of the key processes included in a BI platform.
Data mining uses sophisticated data search techniques and statistical techniques to find patterns and connections within an existing database.
The purpose of data mining is not just to gather information but to discover new meaning in the existing data.
Reports generated through the data mining process need to be legible to all of the stakeholders to facilitate decision-making and to optimize the value of the reports.
Reporting software generates customized reports as needed.
One of the types of data and data analysis involves finding markers that can be applied to measure performance standards, usually in a comparative manner. Another term for these standards is “benchmarks.”
Using benchmark metrics, or “benchmarking” refers to the process or practices involved in finding those best practices and implementing them in your workplace.
Once established, benchmarks are used to compare performance within your company or to compare your results with your competitors or with the performance measures of other sectors.
BI uses a variety of measurements or devices to make sense of your data; these include planning, descriptive, diagnostic, predictive, and prescriptive analytics.
Each has a role to play in your organization’s decision making. Planning asks, “what are we going to do, and how are we going to do it?” Descriptive asks, “what happened? ” diagnostic as “why did it happen?” The last two ask, “what will happen next?” and “what should we do about it?”
Using specialized computer language to direct the software to extracts specific information from a database and to translate the data into a format legible to users into a human-readable form.
A sound BI system will anticipate your organization’s informational needs and be able to accommodate a variety of queries that users can manipulate according to their specific requirements.
Getting the data ready for analysis:
A BI platform will be able to compile information from a variety of data sources, identify critical measurements, and prepare the data for a variety of analytical procedures.
Representing the results:
As you can tell, a BI platform sorts through large volumes of information performs a variety of analytical procedures to help you make sense of the knowledge.
Another essential feature of a BI system is the ability to provide legible representations to deliver your information in a useful format.
The process is known as data visualization.
Some examples of data visualization tools and techniques include line graphs, bar charts, pie charts, donut plots, maps, and word clouds.
How can all of this work for you?
Business intelligence can help companies make better decisions by showing present and historical data within their business context.
Analysts can leverage reports to provide performance and competitor benchmarks to make the organization run smoother and more efficiently.
Analysts can also more easily spot market trends to increase sales or revenue.
A reliable system provides users with the data that can help with anything from compliance to hiring efforts.
Decisions backed by real-time data:
An effective BI system helps corporations and management identify opportunities to increase productivity.
BI can analyze customer behavior and identify successful strategies for optimizing customer service and satisfaction.
Often, BI is used to compare data with competitors to assess where you are in your industry or sector.
Reports track the performance of individual employees, teams, team-leaders, regional offices to identify areas of strength or weakness.
Identifying strengths and weaknesses at all levels of your organization is a crucial step in efforts to optimize your business operations.
Other capabilities of BI are its ability to help decision-makers predict success, spot market trends, and uncover potential problems, and locate areas that need improvement.
The benefits of using a robust BI platform
Companies have goals and targets that need to be monitored and evaluated.
Timely and reliable information plays a crucial role in strategizing to maximize profit and efficiency.
The shortage of raw data is rarely the problem; rather, the problem lies in the ability to transform raw data into business insight.
That is where Business Intelligence tools come in.
The tools regularly collect, process, and store raw data that tracks your business’ activity.
Typically your raw data is stored in a data warehouse where users can then access their information and then begin the more difficult task of data analysis, a necessary step before the data can answer business questions.
To be effective raw data must be transformed into insight through appropriate analysis.
How it all works
As you can probably already tell, BI platforms use a combination of analytical tools to provide users with a comprehensive and adaptable set of tools to facilitate reliable and informed business decision making for your company.
Statisticians and data analysts examine corporate, regional, and other business information to predict, measure, and uncover patterns that facilitate understanding what happened, why it happened, and what may happen in the near future.
The Reporting Software takes those results and translates them into clear and legible reports that your team can use to make decisions and modifications to your company’s operations if needed.
Robust platforms offer several programs and tools that can help your team answer specific queries and provide at-a-glance analysis for decisions or planning.
Organizations can use the processes of analytics to improve follow-up questions and iteration continually.
Continual iteration is significant because often one question leads to another, and a robust BI platform needs to be responsive to changes in market trends.
Instead, think of the process as a cycle of data access, discovery, exploration, and information sharing.
The term “the cycle of analytics” highlights BI’s ability to address changing questions and expectations in real-time.
Real-time data leads to more opportunities for optimization, along with better customer service for clients.
Tools and platforms
Gartner glossary defines BI platforms as those systems that “enable enterprises to build BI applications by providing capabilities in three categories: analysis, such as online analytical processing (OLAP); information delivery, such as reports and dashboards; and platform integration, such as BI metadata management and a development environment.”
A wide variety of platforms are available, and most offer data visualization and other reporting options for their users.
Predictive Analytics Today describes a variety of BI tools and types, including spreadsheets, digital dashboards, reporting software, querying software, data visualization, and self-service, to name a few.
A query is another word for a question.
When your team needs to ask a question related to the information in your database, specialized software such as Software Query Language (SQL) translates the query so that it can communicate with the database.
The results or answers to the question are then translated into a language that humans, your team, can understand.
The response may take the form of a report, or it may generate a data visualization.
As mentioned above, data visualization is one of the critical processes or tools that comprise a BI platform.
Here we will explore this vital component of BI in more detail.
The two basic categories or types of data visualization are exploration and explanation.
Exploration helps to find the pattern or story that the data tells you.
An explanation tells that story to an audience.
Whether you need to explore or explain your data, there are a variety of options available to make data visual.
Some of the most common types of data visualization include temporal, multidimensional, hierarchical, and network categories.
Temporal data visualization allows you to display information over a specific time interval. An example of this type of visualization is a time series that represents measurements of data points over a particular time, such as the number of calls answered by your call center over a period of several weeks.
Multidimensional representations include things like pie charts and scatter plots.
Hierarchical visualizations order groups and network categories illustrate how data sets are related to one another.
Self-service BI platforms streamline the analytical process making it easier for your key decision-makers to see and understand the data without requiring that they hold advanced degrees in statistical analysis or extensive IT training.
Business Intelligence for Call Centers
Call Centers have unique informational needs.
They rely on multiple data sources, and it is optimal to have all of the relevant information integrated within one BI platform.
Call Center managers need to be able to access and analyze data themselves, as required, rather than wait for the IT department to run reports.
Access to concrete and timely data enables management and other decision-makers to make and support decisions based on trustworthy and reliable information.
One new trend in BI platforms is the use of Cloud-based technology to offer an inexpensive and scalable data environment with the capacity to store, retrieve, and analyze large amounts of data.
Cloud computing is well-suited to the needs of call centers as its capacity accelerates business innovation and data-center performance and efficiency.
How to determine which platform is right for you:
A useful BI platform will provide managers and team leaders with the reports they need when they need them.
The reports will be legible and enable your team to interact with one another and with their agents, meaning you will create an engaged and empowered workforce.
Fresh and innovative insights mean improved performance and efficiency.
What does all this mean?
Several useful tools enable multiple users to access information that helps them to answer their questions in a timely and cost-effective manner.
Reporting software provides quick access to information, and analytics means that decision-makers will have insight that will allow them to recognize opportunities for improvement and uncover potential problems.
Without effective, user-friendly reporting software, these capacities might be cost-prohibitive and time-consuming.
A robust platform empowers your managers and team leaders to answer questions more rapidly.
Access to real-time information, in turn, improves your overall business results, enhances customer satisfaction, and improves employee morale.
A self-serve platform offers sophisticated backend architecture able to optimize queries.
User-friendly interface and reporting software enable managers to generate insight with just a few clicks of a mouse.