Common Functions of Business Intelligence

The modern world’s business environment is very dynamic—there are plenty of opportunities and an equal share of challenges. Business intelligence (BI) bridges the gap between them to help you attain the status you desire.

Functions of Business Intelligence

Business Intelligence (BI) refers to the various methodologies, technologies, processes, and architectures that transform raw data into actionable insights businesses can leverage for informed decision making. BI tools access, analyze, and present this data’s findings in reports, graphs, maps, etc. BI technologies have several functions including data mining, reporting, performance metrics, benchmarking and descriptive analytics.

Let’s take a look at some common functions of business intelligence (BI).

Data Mining

Through data mining, companies turn raw data into useful information. They can discover patterns and trends in large batches of data, thus learning more about their customers and the marketplace in general. With this crucial information in their hands, they can market themselves better and increase sales. One example of where data mining is often used this way is in supermarkets. Stores that give loyalty cards to their customers are able to track their buying habits. With this information, they can determine how to award their customers, when and when not to give sales offers, how to package offers to which the customer will respond and etc.


Once data has been collected, we get to the next step, which is reporting. Reporting in BI means analyzing data to retrieve insights and present them to end-users in a way that they can understand, make inferences and act upon. Through reporting that the raw, random, and disorganized data is made better and presentable in order to be understood. Reporting makes it easy to apply insights gained from the data, which empowers the end-users with relevant knowledge in their areas of expertise. With well-crafted business intelligence architecture they can ultimately make better decisions.


Benchmarking means comparing your business’ processes and performance metrics with the expected industry standards. Through benchmarking, you can understand what is happening in the industry, set meaningful business goals, identify areas of improvement, and generally improve the overall performance of your organization. The primary goal of benchmarking is to provide a baseline from which you can measure the results of your actions. It’s through benchmarking that businesses can identify underperforming areas and recognize those that are turning in strong performances. With benchmarking, businesses can make data-based decisions on what should be done and anything that can be used again in the future for the business’s success.

Descriptive Analytics

The term descriptive analytics refers to the gathering and summarizing of raw data for easy interpretation. Descriptive analytics in BI is the foundation for more in-depth analysis and understanding. It results in visualizations like bar charts, pie charts, and other simple graphical displays. Remarkably, the employees of most businesses use descriptive analytics on a daily basis without knowing.

The above functions of business intelligence, including others that have not been mentioned, bear many benefits to organizations. Done right, BI facilitates a faster and more efficient decision-making process, improves profit margins, makes reporting critical information faster, and provides timely information for improved customer relationship management.

This is why it’s critical your BI architecture is purpose-built from the ground up to accommodate search, automated insights, ease of use, scale, and enterprise governance. The best ones enable the building of your own charts and dashboards in seconds, without assistance from experts or advanced training — even for the most complex queries. They also deliver real-time, guided, schema-aware search suggestions from billions of rows of data and multiple sources in an instant.

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