Business Intelligence – Is It Still Essential in 2020?

The first type of BI, which was arguably born in the 60s, first gained recognition as a system through which organizations shared valuable information. In the 80s, however, BI further evolved to include computer models for aiding in decision-making as well as drawing insights from data.

Soon after, various companies all over the world began setting up a team of professionals who could offer IT-oriented solutions.

Today, you know you’ve got business intelligence right when:

  • You have effective tools and a team to aid with an in-depth understanding of your company’s data.
  • You can leverage that information to fuel growth, do away with inefficiencies, and rapidly adapt yourself to the prevailing demand as well as supply conditions.

But BI has had its fair share of struggles as a buzzword, sometimes seeming to disappear, yet always managing to not only stick around but get bigger and better. Talk of the classic BI from the 60s and even self-service BI.

Now, with unprecedented advances in machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI), some might argue that BI, as we know it, is steadily dying. So, is it? Or is it simply evolving as it has done several times in the past? And, if so, is it still relevant to your company today?

Is BI Important Overall?

What if you knew it all; from why your company performed the way it did in the past to how it is now and the industry’s direction in the future? Well, BI is the closest thing you’ll find to a magic wand for that. It is the secret weapon through which companies can make data-driven choices by analysis of both historical and current information surrounding the brand.

When employed effectively, various data sets can reveal your performance and your competition benchmarks. This helps with almost all company endeavors, from HR to production and marketing. For example:

  • Discovering new ways to increase revenue
  • Understanding consumer behavior
  • Streamlining operations
  • Identifying hot trends related to markets
  • Comparing data as well as results with competitors
  • Establishing the likelihood of success
  • Keeping track of your performance
  • Identifying issues in your establishment that need attention

Is AI Burying BI?

The excitement and fear in equal measures surrounding AI are easily justifiable. At the beginning of the year, an AI algorithm gained a reputation after correctly predicting the spread of Coronavirus and issuing warnings to multiple health institutions days ahead of the WHO. Amazing, isn’t it?

But again, AI has had a lot of chilling shortcomings recently – like when an AI technology from Google was found to result in racially prejudice depictions. What’s more, a while back, Amazon ceased the use of one hiring algorithm that was proven to favor specific applicants. And there are so many similar cases! So, again, it is understandable why AI would receive so much negative force in any filed it tried to enter, including BI.

However, the two were born out of totally different philosophies and goals. Firstly, AI is a child of the need for machines powered by human-like intelligence. On the flip side, BI is meant to help teams analyze performance better, backed by data-driven insight. Secondly, even the algorithms used between the two are significantly different.

But then, we cannot simply ignore the power of AI in creating expert systems. It helps to forecast based on data and streamlining various organizational activities, which is not so different from what BI is trying to achieve. Do you see where this is heading?

AI can provide a much-needed back-up for BI but should not be mistaken for a replacement. The two make for a perfect match, though. For instance, AI-powered alerts in BI can help you maintain total control of unique performance factors as soon as any change occurs or new information is acquired.

Moreover, AI can more easily sift through mountains of raw data to reveal patterns and provide multiple possible reactions to issues, which might otherwise get costly. So, to finally address the question, AI is not killing BI but instead offers support.

What Are the Upcoming BI Trends?

1. Collaboration

Although most tools today are isolated and are run independently by brands, a connection within a wider network is inevitable. The BI world is going to get more comprehensive, allowing for tools as well as platforms to get more collaborative.

2. Machine Learning Is Becoming a Major Driver for Insight and Reliable Self-Service

Rest assured BI algorithms are getting more intuitive. We are now looking into providing context-related insights. For example, being able to tailor answers based on the unique aspects expressed during the inquiry.

3. Advancements in Network

BI algorithms are getting more comprehensive, and new network structures must be deployed to handle the tons of data as well as its movement within and across organizations’ systems.

4. Highly Integrated BI Systems

Integration capabilities are bound to expand in BI software, especially through APIs that can facilitate analyses of data within businesses’ existing systems and other applications. Third-party tools will be embeddable into company intelligence systems, making up a full-service platform. Various executives will be able to react to data absent the need to exit their BI software.

5. Proactive BI

Soon, we’ll reach a point where BI activities won’t have to be initiated by human users. Instead, you’ll be able to receive dependable insight passively instead of taking to the dashboards in search of it.

What to Look for In a BI Team?

Whether you are hiring an in-house team or looking for a custom business intelligence tools provider, you want to ensure that the following boxes are checked:

  • Data Analytics: They should offer a reliable and effective SQL Server setting for your business. This implies improved response time, performance, and even identifying and supplying the lack of qualified personnel.
  • Data Integration: You must get efficient SSIS packages and have the ability to customize your existing packages.
  • Data Warehousing: Find the most convenient BI tools for your team after assessing the prevailing state of your storage architecture.
  • BI Auditing: Assessing your existing BI solution to check for scalability or compliance with up-to-date industry standards.

Additionally, you want a diverse team, complete with personnel from various unique fields, who understand your niche, the challenges faced, and the best solutions. For example, scientists, multi-disciplinary specialists, database admins, and BAs among others.


BI is and will remain relevant to almost every serious organization for ages to come. Those who resist the wind find themselves unable to cope with the ever-changing market conditions and the rapidly advancing technology. There’s simply no way around it.

The sooner a business gets on board, the more likely they are to identify crucial market trends on time and maintain a smooth flow of information and accurate decision-making.

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