Big data facilitates big ideas. When you use big data and business intelligence (BI) in tandem, you can improve the quality of your data analysis and reach important growth milestones faster and more efficiently.
Statista surveyed 65 Fortune 1,000 companies that had recently implemented new big data and business intelligence strategies. Nearly 80 percent of them reported a dramatic increase in the accuracy of their data analysis. They also made better business decisions overall.
To get the most out of your own big data projects, you need to know how to effectively leverage your business intelligence systems. Here’s how.
The Relationship Between Big Data and Business Intelligence
Before you can use business intelligence to maximize your big data, you should consider how they relate to each other.
Big Data is defined as any large dataset that companies use to find patterns or trends. This type of data is used most often to track customer behavior, determine the profitability of individual products or services, and predict business outcomes.
Business Intelligence (BI) is a system that analyzes big data and makes it actionable. This can be done manually or using specialized software. Every company has its own unique BI strategy.
You can’t make the most out of your big data without using business intelligence. However, not all BI systems are equally effective. For example, if you parse your data manually, you could easily miss several important insights and trends due to the complexity of the information you’re analyzing.
To squeeze as much valuable insight from your big data as possible, you should look into implementing an advanced BI strategy based on the latest analytics software and data storage techniques. Your BI strategy should:
- Improve your database and ensure that no data is lost;
- Allow you to perform more thorough data analysis using fewer resources; and
- Use predictive analysis and machine learning to generate insights.
By focusing on these three BI strategies, you’ll maximize your big data’s value.
Use BI to Improve Your Data Storage and Database Systems
To make the most out of your big data using business intelligence, start by making improvements to your database and cloud storage systems. This is especially important if you work with large data sets, as data can easily get lost if it isn’t organized properly.
There are three main challenges you’ll face when you gather and analyze big data:
- Volume. The amount of data you need to store dictates which BI systems you should use. For example, if you have to store terabytes of data, then you probably can’t use a storage system like magnetic tape or hard disks because the cost of storing all of this data would be exceptionally high. You’ll need to use cloud storage instead.
- Format. Many companies gather data from a range of sources and in a number of different formats. Your BI system should be able to process all of them and blend them into a single visualization.
- Speed. You should be able to upload and analyze data as quickly as possible. Some data, especially numbers used in real-time analytics, have to be processed very quickly in order to be useful.
To address these three challenges, the best modern BI systems use storage and organization tools like:
- Compression algorithms and formats to make storage more efficient;
- In-memory processing to reduce latency;
- Offshore servers that don’t take up space on the company’s campus;
- Columnar databases to more efficiently read data from hard disks (if they’re still used);
- Parallel processing to make data analysis faster;
- Data warehouse virtualization tools like Denodo that are easier to maintain; and
- Cloud storage and computing services that allow you to store a greater amount of data.
Even if you need to store a massive amount of data in a number of different formats and analyze it very quickly, these tools will help you do it. This is especially important in the insurance industry. Insurance companies work with some of the largest and most complex big data systems in the world, so they need very advanced storage systems to keep everything organized.
Analyze Your Data More Effectively with Business Intelligence
Another way that business intelligence helps you make the most out of your big data is by increasing the reliability of the insights you obtain from your data sets. An effective BI system improves:
- Consumer analytics. Many companies have an incomplete picture of their customers’ behavior. They either lack the resources to gather this data or they’re not gathering the right information. When you use an effective BI system and analytics software (like Alteryx), you can more clearly see what pieces of information you’re missing. This tool helps you prepare your big data and identify the areas where you can improve. It then offers insights into your customer’s behavior and what you can do to better meet their needs.
- Fraud prevention. As with customer analytics, many businesses aren’t gathering the right information needed to prevent fraud. Technology firms that specialize in data analysis and BI can help insurance companies and banking institutions identify fraudulent claims and use this information to prevent future cases of fraud. These BI systems can be tailor-made to fit the precise needs of the company.
- Spatial analysis. Retailers that operate brick-and-mortar stores need to gather big data about how customers behave in time and space. The problem with this data is that it’s complicated and time-consuming to gather. With tools like Alteryx, you can more easily collect this data and determine where you should position everything so that your customers visit more often or purchase more products.
These are just a few types of data analysis that business intelligence improves. Nearly every industry will see immense benefits from using business intelligence to gather and analyze big data.
Take Advantage of Predictive Modeling
Perhaps the most innovative and exciting way that business intelligence is improving big data is through advances in predictive modeling. Predictive analysis and modeling is the process of using big data to make detailed predictions about your business.
Industries have done this for centuries, but it has never been 100 percent reliable. Insufficient data, calculation errors, and other factors will make your predictions less accurate. However, modern BI is making these predictions much more reliable, especially through the use of machine learning.
For example, now that you can store greater amounts of data in the cloud, you have a larger data pool on which to base your predictions. When combined with machine learning—algorithms that learn from existing data sets and adjust their predictions accordingly without being programmed explicitly to do so—these predictions become even more reliable. They are often more reliable than predictions made by humans, because a machine can analyze multiple data sets and will make fewer errors in its calculations.
The only time that machine learning algorithms produce inaccurate predictions is when the big data itself is flawed. This means that as long as you collect accurate data and provide the algorithm with a sufficient amount of it, you will receive the most reliable prediction that’s currently possible.
Today’s predictive analysis and modeling techniques are more complex and sophisticated than ever. They can handle internal and external data sources, making your predictions much more accurate. They also make it easier for you to decide what to do with the new information you have. The algorithm will provide a single score for a given data set, allowing you to see exactly what needs to be done—there’s no guesswork involved.
How to Leverage Big Data and Business Intelligence
Big data and business intelligence go hand in hand. When you use the best versions of both, you set your business up for success. But how do you know whether you’re using the most effective BI strategy to achieve your goals? Creating your own BI strategy from scratch is a time-consuming and complicated process, especially if you have very little experience with data analytics and cloud computing.
This is why you should hire an IT firm that has experience creating custom BI systems. Reliable firms have an arsenal of analytical tools that they use to make the most out of your big data, no matter how complex it is. This also takes a great deal of work off of your shoulders. You and your in-house IT team won’t have to learn how to use and implement new data analytics systems or buy costly software licenses. You can focus on generating insights from your data and making your business the absolute best it can be.
If you’re ready to make the most out of big data and business intelligence, contact Tek Leaders today. We provide customized data analytics and storage systems that allow you to visualize your data and make it actionable. If you have more questions about the big data and BI services we offer, you can reach us by email directly.