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What is Business Intelligence?

Written By Echo

Business intelligence (BI) is a term that has existed for well over half a century, yet it holds more relevance for today’s market than ever before. Originally coined by IBM researcher Hans Peter Luhn in 1958, it was defined then as the ability to apprehend the interrelationships of presented facts in such a way as to guide action towards a desired goal. In today’s technological world and data-driven economy, this core understanding still holds. Modern business intelligence will provide a comprehensive view of your organization’s data that can be used to iterate processes, eliminate inefficiencies, and quickly adapt to market or supply changes.

What Does BI Do?

Presently, BI encompasses business analytics, data mining, visualization, tools and infrastructure, as well as best practices that organizations employ to implement data-driven decisions. It comprises a wide variety of tools, applications and methodologies that enable organizations to collect data from internal systems and external sources, prepare it for analysis, develop and run queries against that data and create reports, dashboards and data visualizations to make the analytical results available to corporate decision-makers, as well as operational workers, such that they can effectively make informed business decisions. BI software tools make it possible to create value from data. Some examples include data warehouses, dashboards, ad hoc reporting, data discovery tools and cloud data services. These tools can be programmed to collect, store, synthesize and analyze data to produce actionable insights for your organization. Put simply, BI leverages software and services to transform data into actionable insights that inform an organization’s business decisions. Some processes that BI can perform include:

Data mining: Using databases, statistics and machine learning to uncover trends in large datasets.

Reporting: Sharing data analysis to stakeholders so they can draw conclusions and make decisions.

Performance metrics and benchmarking: Comparing current performance data to historical data to track performance against goals, typically using customized dashboards.

Querying: Asking data specific questions, and using BI to pull the answers from the datasets.

Statistical analysis: Taking the results from descriptive analytics and further exploring the data using statistics such as how this trend happened and why.

Data visualization: Turning data analysis into visual representations such as charts, graphs, and histograms to more easily consume data.

How Can You Use BI?

As established, BI provides valuable data that can be turned into actionable information for leadership, management, organization, and decision making. Some examples of how companies around the world are using BI include:
  • Analysing customer behaviours, buying patterns and sales trends
  • Measuring, tracking and predicting sales and financial performance
  • Budgeting and financial planning and forecasting
  • Tracking the performance of marketing campaigns
  • Optimising processes and operational performance
  • Improving delivery and supply chain effectiveness
  • Web and e-commerce data analytics
  • Customer relationship management
  • Collecting customer feedback information to improve products and services

Why Should You Use BI?

All organizations can benefit from business intelligence. Your organization undoubtedly has questions and goals. To answer these questions and track performance against these goals, you will need to gather the necessary data, analyze it, and determine which actions to take to reach them. Klipfolio cites the following organizational benefits to using BI:
  • Quick answers to critical business questions
  • Align activities with strategy
  • Reduce time spent on data entry and manipulation
  • Gain in depth real time insights into customers
  • Benchmark data against competitor and historical data for continuous improvements
  • Identify and analyze areas to cut costs and for budget allocation
  • Boost internal productivity by spending time on what’s important


As the world continues to evolve, knowing and understanding your customer is the number 1 way to curate a brand experience that will keep them coming back.


Echo is a powerful business intelligence tool that provides you with a quick and easy way to collect customer feedback, harness it for valuable insights to improve your business, optimize customer retention, and maximize your bottom line. By integrating Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology it provides a nuanced understanding of your customer experience. We would love for you to give it a try, and launch your business into 21st-century innovation today!


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“What Is Business Intelligence? Your Guide to BI and Why It Matters.” Tableau Software,