What Is a Business Intelligence Platform?

The end goal of business intelligence is to keep a company competitive and
a laptop on a desk

The end goal of business intelligence is to keep a company competitive and informed in today’s fast-paced digital world by giving business leaders and decision-makers actionable insights into the market so decisions are always informed. Business intelligence platforms include applications, infrastructure, and other tools businesses use to secure information and improve performance. BI platforms can be used for a variety of purposes, including forecasting sales, analyzing competitors, market research, data visualization, and more.

Technology users looking for business intelligence platforms with the highest ratings should consult the 2020 Gartner Magic Quadrant Analytics and BI report from James Richardson, Rita Sallam, Kurt Schlegel, Austin Kronz, and Julian Sun. This is part of a Gartner document compiled for research purposes and details industry leaders in high-value data analytics. Here are just some of the applications of a great business intelligence platform.

Market Research


Conceptually, market research is fairly straightforward. It’s all of a company’s efforts to look into the current state of the market, as well as the needs of consumers, to develop a strategy to reach more customers effectively. It can influence decisions everywhere from product development to advertising and sales strategies. In practice, however, market research is extremely time-consuming, even for expert researchers. This is where a marketing research information system (MRIS) comes in.

An MRIS is a Power BI platform that can largely automate both primary and secondary research processes. In other words, it can analyze your own company’s data while also searching and analyzing data from outside sources such as financial journals, business reports, and more. Once this is done, it can use natural language generation, an application of machine learning, to convert the data into written or spoken words that serve as shortened reports of all data gathered. What’s more, the best systems even have data visualization capabilities that can represent the data in forms like graphs, pie charts, and histograms.

Data Management


Every organization that relies on big data needs a reliable data management solution, and some BI platforms are made as just that. Data management tools basically break down your needs into four major categories: engineering, security, intelligence, and integration. They then help your data specialists in each category form a data management strategy that fits your business’ unique needs. Data management tools are especially important for companies that have artificial intelligence-powered solutions and integrations between multiple different systems.

Master data refers to all your data shared between applications, which could be sales data shared with your CRM platform as an example. Without one place to collect and analyze your master data, you run the risk of having inaccurate information. When systems exist in separate silos, information has to be input manually by humans in a process that’s as tedious as it is error-prone. People are also only capable of inputting data at certain times, whereas a data management system constantly updates and ensures you have the most recent data.

Competitive Analysis


While you certainly have to research the market and analyze your own data to make informed decisions, it’s important not to skip out on researching your competitors as well. A competitive analysis is when you identify your biggest direct competitors in the market and find details about their product lines, sales numbers, and marketing strategies. The goal is to see if they have any noticeable gaps in their strategies and focus on where they’re failing or at least to learn what you can do better based on their practices.

Depending on what you find, you might realize there are gaps in the market left to reach or that you can develop better products based on their plans. Of course, they aren’t going to willingly supply you with information, so you’ll have to rely on your marketing team to do research or look into your CRM system and use analytics tools to see if there are customers you’ve lost to competitors and reach out to them to find out why.

These are just some of the current uses for business intelligence platforms. There’s little doubt that new ways will be discovered as technology and strategies improve.

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