In the past, Business Intelligence (BI) and data analysis were strictly dependent on IT teams. The technical department was in charge of analytics, and other business areas had to rely on people with technical knowledge to prepare the data and provide accurate reports for BI projects. Of course, this made it difficult for everybody involved in the decision-making process to understand where the information came from and how to leverage it.
Fortunately, those times are long gone. Modern technology now enables businesses to choose from a wide variety of software solutions with features that open the BI domain to everyone. Today, dedicated tools have analytics and visualization capabilities that can help users obtain valuable insights for their companies, regardless of their level of technical knowledge.
Imagine anyone being able to access spreadsheets and reports and then use them to draw conclusions and make forecasts based on accurate data. With the right BI solution, you will be able to explore every corner of your data warehouse, and thus discover things you will not have noticed before. This may give you a competitive advantage and change the evolution of your business.
In any company, regardless of its size, there is more than one decision maker. This means that there will also be many types of business intelligence users, which brings many benefits and challenges as well. But before discussing any of these, let’s take a look at some users who are probably already a part of your company. Who are these people? What do they do? What are their roles?
Different types of business intelligence users
The data analyst is a role you should find in most companies, especially large ones. As the name suggests, these people are the gurus of data, the ones whose job it is to analyze it and come up with relevant insights. Since they are working with statistics and reports, a reliable BI solution is the tool they need the most. By nature, an analyst will want data organized right down to the smallest detail, and BI will enable them to do just that. Once information is gathered from its multiple sources, the analyst can start identifying patterns, looking for fresh insights, and creating reports that will be used to support the decision-making process and as the base of your business strategy.
While it is true that one single person cannot make all the decisions in a corporation, executives have the most important role in that process. That is why executives and BI tools make a perfect team when it comes to managing a company. On the one hand, the CEO is the one looking for new opportunities while also trying to optimize operations and find ways to reduce costs. Business Intelligence, on the other hand, has been described as the “combustion engine of business”. This means that through deep analysis and complex reports, BI gives executives the organizational overview they need in order to have a clear image of their company’s evolution and anticipate industry trends. All in all, Business Intelligence is the lever for growth, innovation, and operational efficiency.
The tech team is another important player in the Business Intelligence activity of your company. Even if their role is not as crucial as it once was , the IT user is still a key player, being in charge of maintaining the entire infrastructure of the company and offering departments the tools necessary for fulfilling data requests.
Today, as technology is the core of any business, the IT department has to collaborate much more closely with other departments and with the business as a whole. So even if they are not the end users of BI tools, tech people need to make sure others are getting the most from data analytics, not to mention maintaining a high level of data security. In addition to this, they also help increase BI adoption within other users, thereby building a bridge between business and IT.
Those who use BI may belong to different areas of the organization. There are, however, two main types of Business Intelligence users: the casual user and the power user. While the first one performs basic operations and works with predefined sets of data, the latter has the skills and capabilities to handle complex data sets.
The traditional BI user is a company manager, who is analyzing data to gain insights and come up with new ways to streamline the activity of their department. This means that they do not possess in-depth knowledge about BI, but they have the basic skills for analysis and reporting. For this reason, when choosing a BI solution for your company, make sure it is a self-service platform that is easy to use.
When there is a lot of data to centralize and analyze, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, but there is no need to panic. The best way to overcome this issue is to have many types of BI users within your company. This way, they can keep track of data in each of its stages, identify any gaps that may appear and be able to deliver useful insights that influence the decision-making process. Regardless of what industry you are in, data is a central element in the corporate environment, so using Business Intelligence will bring many benefits to your company across all departments: sales, marketing, HR, and others.