One thing every business owner is used to doing is collecting data, when this data is useful it is known as business intelligence. In order to maximize your business’ productivity and profits, it is crucial to collect and use your business intelligence.
Many have made the mistake of collecting massive amounts of information and assume that the process stops here. You will need somebody to complete the process, a business intelligence analyst.
Even though you hire a business analyst, you still have to understand the job role. We are going to inform you of what a business intelligence analyst (BI analyst) does and how they can benefit the running of your business.
What is a BI analyst?
Their main role will include the following:
- Decipher information that has been collected by machine learning algorithms
- Take out the information that is relevant
- Apply the relevant information to business operations
Business intelligence is the information gathered by data mining and analysis applications. It is specific to the business that has collected it and its values will depend on how it affects the business operation.
Business intelligence can be classified into two groups:
- Internal- data collected by the company from systems such as SAP or ORACLE
- External- data collected from outside the company, whether that’s market surveys or analyzing your competition.
A BI analyst has the task of deciding whether information can be useful and organizing the information in a way that others can clearly understand it. It’s like a chef who receives fresh eggs, chooses the best ones and turns them into a delicious omelet.
Don’t assume that machine learning algorithms can do the job of a BI analyst. Machine learning algorithms are highly capable of collecting enormous amounts of data but it takes a human to determine what is relevant to the business. A simplified job title would be a filterer of information.
Once the machine learning algorithms have collected and grouped the information, a BI analyst takes that to the next level and decides what the business should do based on the information.
A clear example of how a BI analyst functions can be found when looking at patterns in customer buying. If the data from a supermarket showed a significant increase in chocolate sales in the first week of February, a BI analyst would tie this to Valentines Day approaching and advise the store to have more chocolates in stock.
What is the role of a BI analyst?
As we have mentioned, the main job of an analyst is to provide relevant information based on data collected in order for a company to make informed decisions. Other tasks include:
- Having knowledge of the companies situation and the current market
- Recognizing the extent of the data analysis operation
- Understanding the sources of data and the amount available and the different types
- Knowing the availability and reliability of the data
- Making sure the data is presented in a manner that is easily understood by others
- Using the correct technology in order to capture, store and process data for the present needs of the company
In terms of activity, a BI analyst will also:
- Present the relevant information to those who make business decisions
- Communicate the present needs of the business across the company and/or project
- Manage the BI database
- Use the databases available to generate reports
- Manage the tools a BI uses and decide on their performance
- Carry out trials on the consistency of BI with the present goals in mind
- Carry out analysis on competitors
- Keep up to date with the trends in the industry and analysis the importance of business objectives
- Investigate potential ways to improve and reduce the costs of the data system used by the company
What are the benefits of a BI analyst?
The main focus of a BI analyst is to provide information so that the company to make informed decisions, generating action. BI analysts are the human link between data and a company’s objectives. To make data actionable means:
- Taking control of the data collection process
- Carrying out data analysis
- Establish the value of the available information
- Present the information in an understandable manner
It is not important the quantity of information collected, it is what you do with it that makes the information valuable in the process of making decisions, and this is what a BI analyst will do.
Part of a BI analyst’s job is to make sure the operating system being used is effective. This is going to be a difficult task if:
- Your system lacks particular features
- The information is not sufficient for the present needs of the company
- Complete incapability of scaling the operation on an individual level
A BI analyst must be able to keep the operating system up to date with the needs of the business in order to generate relevant data. Most of the time, you will see that the two are not in line with the results of the analysis. As well as this, a BI analyst might have to perform system tests, updates and audits.
Finding the weak spots and potential threats
So far we have focused on finding out the good things and using them to an advantage. But there is still a need to determine the bad things as well. This will require the BI analyst to perform major problem-solving, including:
- Spotting problems in business operations
- Looking for weak areas in the business process
- Ascertaining how possible factors are influenced
- Foreseeing the effect of external threats
A BI analyst must use the good and bad data available as to make truly informed decisions, understanding what is happening in all areas of the company and understanding the cause of problems with a view to finding the best solution.
There are numerous ways in which a company can gather information using the Internet, through social media, apps and web pages. All the tools to collect data are there for a BI analyst.
Qualified experts are now in high demand. A BI analyst is a fundamental part of business operations nowadays and can make the difference between a company’s success or failure.