The role of Business Intelligence seems only to have come to the fore in the last few years, as organisations have become more reliant upon solid information to support their decision making, and as Business Intelligence tools have become more prevalent.
Reporting has been around for a long time, in one shape or other – including manual reports compiled from data collected in spreadsheets, and the standard reports available in many individual IT systems. However in the past the compilation of such data into meaningful information would take a lot of manual effort and time.
Data warehouses, and the sophisticated data mining tools now available, are now delivering integrated information from a number of sources to decision makers in a timely manner – allowing people to spot trends and anomalies more quickly, and use the quantitative and qualitative data to drive corrective work and help everyone work smarter.
All organisations are now recognising the key role that Business Intelligence plays in driving growth and profitability in an increasingly competitive market. Decision makers know they have to be nimble in order to react ahead of other players, and access to key information can help them respond quickly and decisively.
I worked for four years in the field of Business Intelligence, helping to deliver reports, dashboards and forecasting tools to the senior management team. The information helped managers to understand the organisation better, beyond the bounds of their normal reporting structure, and deliver real and lasting improvements.