What is Business Intelligence? BI for Beginners

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Ever wondered what Business Intelligence is and why we use it? In this video I'll

be answering those questions and showing you why you should be implementing BI

for your business.

Hey everyone, Adam here from Vitamin BI bringing you business

intelligence for beginners and beyond. On this channel we'll look at all

things BI like data analysis and visualization as well as BI platforms

and how to choose the right one for you. So if you're new here consider subscribing.

So let's get straight into it, what is BI? Well, BI is all about

harnessing the data that your business generates in all of its different

activities. Then we analyze and visualize this data in order to clearly understand

it and gain valuable insights into how your business is performing. Now these

insights, in turn, allow you to make better informed smarter business

decisions to help your business evolve and grow. And that's basically it,

the three stages of BI, which in theory sounds quite straightforward but in

practice it has many challenges.Let's dig a little deeper and take a closer

look at each one of these three areas in turn.

In today's modern business world, companies generate a lot of data. Gone

are the days when it was all contained in spreadsheets and on-premise databases.

With the online age we now have things like social media and cloud-based

business services and they all generate tons of data. Therein lies the biggest

challenge for BI. All of this data is separate in what we call 'silos' meaning

it's hard to easily get a global 360 view of how your business is performing

in all of its activities without having to look at multiple reports in different

places. What we really need to do is to bring these disparate data sources

together and analyze them together to get a clearer picture. We'll dedicate

more time to the specifics of where and how to access your data in other videos

so don't forget to subscribe. So what about the analysis part? Well, the end

product of the analysis usually takes the form of a reports or dashboard

containing visual representations of your aggregated data like this one, and

this one, and this one. Whereas a car dashboard displays things like your

speed, how much is left in the tank or even the outside temperature a BI

dashboard contains your business' metrics or KPI's like your revenues

stock levels or how much engagement you're getting on social media. When you

track and benchmark your KPIs you can measure your business's performance.

Visualizing your data makes it easy to read, understand and digest. A dashboard

gives you an at-a-glance snapshot of performance and helps you identify areas

where you're doing well and those that might need some more attention or

investigation. Data visualization is a discipline all unto itself and

effective visualization is the key to making sure that your data is as easy to

understand as possible.

Finally, once we've got all the data together, analyzed and visualized it, it's

time for the insight stage where we read the results of the analysis and see what

we can learn. Your dashboard can help you spot trends, see how metrics correlate

with each other and also compare periods of time to see how things are evolving.

Obviously every business is different with different data but let's

take a look at a dashboard I built with some real data and I'll demonstrate the

kind of insights that we're looking for. This dashboard contains some real

Instagram data for a town's tourist office in France. It's a fairly small

sample size but you can see that we've broken down the main KPI's, number of

posts and average number of interactions - which is likes and comments combined - by

various things like month, day of the week, hour, type and filter applied. We've

also used color data encoding to be able to look at these two KPIs together.

If we look at this first chart by month we can see that in the month of August

they posted the most number of times but we can also tell by the yellow color

that those posts had the least number of average interactions. So this could tell

us that maybe they posted too much and should think about reducing the number

of posts during a month. Or simply that it's a month when a lot of people are on

holiday in France so aren't on Instagram as much. One way to test this would be to

compare the same month of the previous year and see if the average interactions

was also low. Now, this chart by day gives us some clearer insights. We can

tell that posts on Tuesday and Wednesday receive the highest average number of

interactions. So this could tell us that we should post more on those days. And

finally, we can see that the Amaro filter appears to be most effective in

gaining engagement so we could try applying it to more posts to see if

interactions increase. The data visualized in this dashboard gives us

ideas and food for thought of things that we could try in changing how

when, in this case, we post to Instagram. Ideas that we may not have had without

having analyzed our data. And that's exactly what we mean by insights.

And that's it for this video. Hopefully now you have a better understanding of

what business intelligence is, its challenges and its benefits. And if this

has peaked your interested and you'd like to learn more about things like data analysis and

visualization, don't forget to subscribe to the channel and hit that bell to get

notified whenever we post new videos. I'll be showing you that you don't need

to be a data scientist or have a huge budget to get started with basic BI.

Until then, stay BI-curious.