The importance of BI tools will be understood by any businessman who is familiar with the “Art of War” by Sun Tzu or with military tactics in general. In the “Art of War” (no doubt, the main tractat on tactics and management), the topic of intelligence is given a special role. It opens the tractate by chapter “Preliminary calculations” and closes by the chapter “Using scouts”.
Nathan Rothschild once caught the importance of information, pointing out its power. “Who owns the information, he owns the world.” And the realities of the 21st century, the century of information technology, only strengthen this postulate. According to the journal Science, the volume of stored information for 20 years (and this is one generation of managers) has increased 100 times. That is, now the manager of the middle and even senior level needs to process 100 times more data than all generations of managers before. And the pace is only growing: according to Fortune magazine, the increase is about 50,000 GB per second.
And if there are no problems with the machine processing of these problems, it becomes more difficult to make decisions. In addition, the competitive environment is changing: instead of complex ten-year projects, the reaction rate becomes an advantage. It determines whether the business will survive or not. Then there are two ways of further development.
First is to trust machines in making decisions. This is aimed at complex statistical forecasting complexes and software robots with artificial intelligence. It is possible that in future many management tasks will be solved by machines, but now the machine intellect is much inferior to the human in matters of creative thinking.
Second is to give the raw data an intuitive look and thereby shorten the path from getting information to understanding it. Reshape the table of 10,000 lines in one chart. It is the art that is called business intelligence, business intelligence on the “battlefield” of data.
In practice, business intelligence allows the manager:
- Quickly understand the situation (get an insight), eliminating the guessing element in decision making.
- Identify unobvious opportunities.
- Correctly determine KPI and business results.
- Ensure the availability of information to any from top management.
- Create an instant portrait of the buyer. Automatically and without human error.
- Understand the load of warehouses and shipping routes.
- Balance the workload of employees.
- Mapping the effectiveness of resources, points of investment and capital outflows.
Simply put, BI is a tool that helps to make conclusions obvious. Regardless of how many hundreds of thousands of lines to process.