Business Intelligence: how to make the best strategic decisions based on data

18 Inteligencia de negocios

Key Points

Tips to make better decisions with Business Intelligence

En este artículo aprenderemos:

The power to convert data into useful knowledge in business decision making, that defines business intelligence or Business Intelligence. However, it’s not as simple as paying a subscription and accessing a panel; strategic decisions and results based on business intelligence obey a plan.


From defining business requirements or expectations, formulating objectives and goals, validating key sources of data and tools, to displaying and interpreting information, there is a whole methodology for a successful business intelligence strategy.

In this installment we address a series of preparations and points of attention so that business intelligence achieves its goal; But first, for a better context, let’s review the concept of business intelligence and its scope.

To enter a little more into context: Business Intelligence and Data Science: Synonyms, friends or enemies?

Inteligencia de negocios toma de decisiones
Graphic elements of Business Intelligence – Photo by

Business intelligence and its scope

Business Intelligence, business intelligence or business intelligence covers a series of tools, software and services, the vast majority of them hosted in the cloud.

These solutions connect with raw data sources that can be multiple and diverse such as: the internet, social networks, public or private databases and data centers, smart devices or IoT, sensors, among others.

Through a series of pre-established parameters (Ad Hoc), computing, programming, mathematical and statistical analysis, and even artificial intelligence; BI tools process this data, to categorize and summarize it.

This synthesized information is presented graphically, through reports, boards (so-called dashboards) that are also configured according to user requirements.

When the entire process is validated, the BI tools process the information instantly, with one click updating metrics, KPIs, graphs and information dashboards.

As you could have inferred everything at a descriptive level. In fact, business intelligence is a level of data analytics that allows us to know the past or what is happening, to apply controls and/or formulate plans.

CIO Magazine sums it up like this: “By business intelligence we understand a set of tools that allow quick and simple access to information on the current state of the business from the available data.”

Business intelligence is one of the first steps in the Analytical Route Map and the portfolio of solutions that we offer at DataKnow.

Tips to make the best decisions with business intelligence

With a little more argument, now let’s see the key points for the business intelligence strategy to be effective.

Number 1: Goodbye to subjectivity

As owners of small businesses, managers or directors of already consolidated companies, we let ourselves be carried away by previous conceptions, instincts and even prejudices.

It is something typical of our human nature, but we must appeal to reflective judgment and know that these kinds of beliefs or preconceptions cloud our vision of reality.

If you invest a budget, even a modest one, in business analysis tools, it is clear that you cannot continue to guide your decisions by beliefs and underestimate the results, facts and data.

If, even with a real-time information board, you have doubts, it is important that you rely on a team so that the interpretation of the information is not subject to personal biases.

Get involved from the validation and implementation process, empower key personnel, the more team members know how to interpret the data and draw conclusions, the more informed and objective the decisions will be.

Explore some data analytics tools.

Number 2: Clarity regarding requirements and objectives

In our first section we mentioned that business intelligence offers Ad Hoc solutions, that is, a solution designed for a specific purpose.

You can’t just buy a license or a subscription, log into a system and think that a dashboard will give you all the answers.

In BI, data is collected, processed, and presented based on prerequisites and clear business objectives.

If you do not have them, it is essential that with the support of your key personnel you define what objectives you want to achieve, what strategies you seek to support with the data and what needs or requirements you hope to cover; eventually you can include the provider of BI solutions as a consultancy.

Number 3: Be selective with your data sources

Inadequate data sources can lead to misleading conclusions.

Chris Hagans COO of WCI Consulting, a Texas-based company specializing in BI, in an interview for CIO Magazine:

“It is better to have fewer things to trust than many to suspect.”

And this points to the need to be selective with the sources from which BI tools will be connected.

Generating reliable and quality information can be complicated if the data sources are dispersed and disconnected from each other.

The breadth, security and reliability of the data sources will be another point of validation with your team and BI provider.

Take an inventory of the sources and databases that you could count on, give priority to massive sources of structured data and ask your provider what data integration tools they have.

Number 4: An iterative approach

business intelligence implementation should be progressive.

Based on the objectives that are sought, it begins with a specific source and some basic key performance indicators (KPIs) to carry out the implementation, tests and adjustments are carried out and a new cycle begins, including other variables, sources and indicators. .

As progress is made, processes are incorporated into the business intelligence solution, so that the BI tool is iteratively improved and expanded to the extent that it is known which expectations are met and which are not.

Once again, the provider of data analytics solutions will play a leading role with their support, advice and shared experience.

Number 5: Familiarity with visuals

As we mentioned in the first section, the summary and visualization of information is an important part of business intelligence tools.

An extensive dashboard, dense at the level of indicators and graphs can cause you to lose focus or end up underestimating an important part of the information displayed.

Consider some aspects that could influence effective analysis and compression:

Number 6: Train and empower

You don’t have to be a mathematician or a code developer to understand the operation and applicability of Business Intelligence tools, but it is important that the staff is familiar with the graphical resources and the interface offered by the solutions.

Your team, your collaborators must know how to exploit the information provided by BI tools to “tell the story” and help others understand “what the data is trying to say”.

They will be your analysts, the people who create the unbiased narrative that helps maximize the value of analytics.

There are all sorts of internal and external data that can be leveraged for insights with the right staff training and expertise, again your analytics consulting provider can guide you through the first steps.

Business Intelligence in Decision Making – Final Thought

It is not a question of buying a license and giving a couple of clicks, however, business intelligence is not a complexity, nor is it exclusive to large corporations, a preparation plan and the proper accompaniment will make your data a true mine of gold.

At DataKnow we will be delighted to reap results together from the true power of data.

Andres Florez Llano
Andres Florez Llano

Functional Analytics Leader

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