What is Business Intelligence all about?

You have heard of Business Intelligence (BI), but the concept is still unclear to you? Are you looking for its concrete benefits on your company?

You have come to the right place: here’s everything you need to know to get started in the world of BI.

Business Intelligence Definition

Business Intelligence, also referred to as computerized decision-making, entails the transformation of raw data into relevant information which can be directly used by an organization. This set of tools and methods thus enable simplified decision-making by making use of the full data potential.

BI also enables the organization to analyse strategic objectives daily and easily compared them with the results achieved. If the latter do not fall in line with the objectives set, computerized decision-making can help discover the causes of these discrepancies and find adequate solutions.


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From business intelligence to data visualization

As we have seen, Business Intelligence enables raw data to be transformed into useful information. Data is therefore restructured, aggregated, enriched, and represented visually to be more understandable.

We are getting into the field of data visualization. By using specific dashboards and reports, it is possible to conduct in-depth data analysis and thus improve the company’s performance. In addition, these dashboards allow for customized data representation, for each business or position.

Various user profiles therefore benefit from a synthetic and fun view of the data they find useful. They are free to choose from a wide variety of representations to make sense out of the data: graphics, curves, patterns, interactive dashboards, etc.

Ultimately, data visualization is about presenting data attractively, using synthetic visual representations. It is, in a way, the logical continuation of BI, which allows data to be processed and made available for company use.

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Business Intelligence and Big Data: two distinct concepts

For several years now, there has been a lot going on about Big Data, to an extent that it is sometimes difficult to distinguish it from Business Intelligence. However, these two concepts differ on many points, starting with the type of data processed.

Actually, BI focuses on descriptive and rich data, which allows measuring reliable (KPIs) indicators or to anticipate major trends. Big Data, on the other hand, deals with data that is less dense in information, but much more numerous, allowing estimates and forecasts to be made.

Another important difference is that BI is based on the use of centralized and structured data contained in a data warehouse. Big Data, on the other hand, deals with unstructured or poorly structured data, generally stored using a distributed file system.

Finally, each of these two concepts have a very different use from the point of view of the company. Business Intelligence is first and foremost an aid to decision-making based on the analysis of the current situation. On the other hand, Big Data is much more forward-looking, with its predictive capabilities.

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The different means to acquire a BI solution

Now that you are familiar with Business Intelligence, you may be considering getting a BI solution for your organization. However, there are two main purchase models available to you: so, which one should you choose?

Perpetual licence

This is the most traditional acquisition method, which consists of purchasing a lifetime licence including the software and maintenance services.

For the client company, this type of acquisition takes the form of capital expenditure (CAPEX). It is part of a sustainable, (very) long-term operating logical use. This approach is advantageous for the software company, which benefits from simplified management and cash payment of the total price, which can however be restrictive for the buyer.

The rental model

The rental model consists, as its name indicates, in renting the software for an indefinite period. Thus, the company pays monthly or annually for the software and maintenance.

This rent can also vary over time: this is what we call the evolving lease. Customers can gradually increase the monthly payments to better reflect their real needs. For example, the company can go from 100 users in the first year to 500 in the following year, by gradually increasing the rent.

The subscription model is thus more flexibility than a perpetual licence, while reducing the burden on the IT department. From a financial point of view, the rental model is also of great interest. Here, the cost of the BI solution has a time-lapse, where the purchase of a licence can be a very high investment.

Moreover, these are not CAPEX, but operational expenses (OPEX). This enables the company to better evaluate the budget dedicated to BI for each business line, instead of a global IT budget.

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A real decision-making tool, Business Intelligence is a valuable ally for your company. By processing, structuring and representing data playfully, you will be able to tap into relevant information that will help you make more informed choices on a daily basis.