Business Intelligence

This page intends to provide an overview of Business Intelligence using an approach easy to understand.

Definition: Business Intelligence, simply noted as BI, is the art of building and optimizing processes and tools necessary to transform raw data into summarized information and insights through standard reporting (daily, weekly, monthly, Quarterly, annually, etc.) or ad-hoc reporting (response to particular business questions).

BI Questions Examples:

Business Intelligence is a critical component of growing and running a successful business nowadays. BI enhance executives and senior managers to come up with optimal solutions to questions that businesses face on a daily basis. Below are examples of questions that business leaders and BI analysts answer on a regular basis:

Customer Segmentation: what are the characteristics of my customers? In which segments do my customers fall in?

This question should always lead every business project, either in start-up companies or already established corporation. Leaders always need to know the segmentation of their customers to better serve them. Therefore, the first analysis of every Business Intelligence Engineer / Analyst should be leaned towards understanding the characteristics of the customers, their needs and what their experience with the business products or services looks like.

Conversion and Profitability: how likely my potential customers are to purchase my products? what is the conversion ratio?

Whenever a given Business presents a developed product, the presentation creates an impression, and not every potential customer will end up buying the product. As a business leader or a Business Intelligence person, you should always try to maximize the conversion ratio.

To achieve this, it is imperative to provide every single information needed to demonstrate how your products align perfectly with the needs of the customer and how your products stand out in the market. A high conversion rate is a strong indicator that your business is reaching out to the right customer’s group and that your product and services are easy to adopt.

Customer satisfaction: How likely are my customers to adopt my products for a long-term?

A successful business always tries to surpass the customer’s expectations. Therefore, Business Intelligence analysts are encouraged to gauge the expectations of customers and potential customers, their needs, what they want, and make sure that every product and or service provided by the business meets or surpass the customer’s expectations. It’s highly encouraged that business leaders and business intelligence people take seriously customers reviews and feedback.

As I said in the beginning, every topic of a successful business spin around understanding the customer’s needs and expectations, a successful business leader and BI person always lives in the customer’s perspectives.

BI Processes

BI generates data-driven analysis through many processes:

Data sources

Before digging into how to analyze data and generates data-driven solutions we need to understand the very first important thing, the source of our data set. Data sources are usually divided into two main categories: data files and databases.

Databases: The most common data sources are databases and they are classified into two main categories: traditional databases and relational databases. The most common databases vendors are Amazon Redshift, Amazon RDS, MySQL, MS Access, DB2, Oracle, MS SQL Server, MariaDB, etc.

File: MS Excel Spreadsheets are the file data sources observed throughout many businesses. It is also highly recommended mastering the MS Excel software as it is a critical component of many BI tasks on a daily basis. As a BI person, you should be able to use the data tab and the developer tab of the MS Excel software.

Data Integration and Data management

Data integration is a collection of processes used by business intelligence engineer and data engineer to collect and combine data from different data sources. Data integration is achieved using two major technics, ETL and ELT.

ETL stands for extract, transform and load while ELT stands for extract load and transform. Clearly, the difference between those two technics is that the first transform the data before loading the extracted datasets in a data warehouse while the second load the dataset first and perform all the transformation later.

Once all the data is loaded into data warehouses, therefore comes data management which is a term used to describe all the administrative processes to validate, protect and make accessible data as well as ensuring the data integrity before actually start doing any analysis. 

Data reporting and Insights deliveries:

Finally data reporting is the process of extracting data from data warehouses, organizing data – data modeling – based on key performance indicators (KPIs), and presenting summarized information through BI dashboards, BI scorecards, BI standards and ad-hoc reports.

This final phase of Business Intelligence encompasses the use of SQL (Structured Query Language), a widely used language to extract data from databases, data modeling – a technic used to combine tables from different databases, data analysis which covers dashboards building, and reporting.


As I said in the beginning, this page intent was to provide an overview of what is business intelligence, what is the place of BI in business as well as the components and processes of BI. Feel free to leave a comment, I will be more than happy to reply.

Are you a BI expert? Are you a recent graduate who is looking for a Business engineer/analyst or data engineer position? or are you simply passionate about data, about BI? Please leave a comment, it can help the next visitor.

I will be posting more pages about BI resources, BI tools, BI software, BI technics, BI training, BI jobs, etc. in the upcoming week.

Thank you for stopping by, I’m looking forward to hearing from you. 
Your BI friend, Brice Arnaud Gateka!

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