Before performing business intelligence analysis, an analyst should define the challenges for which he or she would like to find solutions. Once an analyst has learned how to direct his or her research, an analyst then collects and organizes all relevant data so that he or she can begin observing it from different perspectives. It is a good idea to experiment with different variables. For example, when performing business intelligence analysis for sales, it can be helpful to consider different aspects of a demographic, such as location, income, industry, or spending habits, before coming to a conclusion.
Business intelligence is any information that professionals can use to make educated business decisions. For example, if a cost analyst is assigned to help a business increase its profit margins, he or she might analyze business intelligence that illustrates where an organization is spending the most money and in which areas an organization is most profitable. In most cases, business intelligence analysis is performed with the help of software that allows users to generate charts, graphs, and spreadsheets that present data in a logical order.
Analysts typically use data mining to prepare data for business intelligence analysis. In a data mining process, a researcher pulls data from a number of different sources. He or she then presents this data in a way that allows clients or colleagues to view potential causes and effects, as well as correlations among various behaviors and phenomena.
An important aspect of business intelligence analysis is the report that follows a study. Once a professional analyzes data and comes to a conclusion, he or she might produce a report that explains how to solve certain business problems and describes how he or she reached these conclusions. While it is important to be as specific and professional as possible while composing a report, it also is a good idea to write a report clearly so that all parties who access a report can understand its implications.
Some organizations, such as those that run on a total quality management model, perform continual business intelligence analysis. In these cases, it is common for all members of an organization to have access to business intelligence so they can make the best decisions. Professionals interested in continual intelligence analysis might benefit from using software that can be implemented into a complete business system that serves all facets of an organization, including inventory, sales, Information Technology (IT), and management. For many professionals, a web based service is the best choice since it often provides the greatest ease of access for large organizations.