What are Business Intelligence, ETL and Why do You Need Them?

If you’ve ever wondered what Business Intelligence is all about, here’s a short article that will brief you on what BI is and why it’s an integral part of lots of companies around the globe. Moreover, we’re going to touch upon ETL, which is highly important for Business Intelligence.

What is Business Intelligence?

Business Intelligence, also known as BI, is a process driven by technology that helps companies extract and analyze implicit data to make key and rational decisions.

To make it clearer, let’s consider some examples. When you know your friend’s phone number, date of birth, and his or her address — it’s not Business Intelligence. These pieces of information are explicit and are comparatively easy to access.

But if you want to figure out where to look for your next ideal customer, it requires more effort than knowing info about your friends. With the help of sophisticated technologies, you’re trying to find out what you need — and this is Business Intelligence.

Why do companies need BI?

Probably, no big corporation can do without BI nowadays. Why is it so? The answer is straightforward — companies are getting more and more data round-the-clock through various channels that they need to manage and use. Despite the importance of BI, it’s still not common to find quite a lot of companies that use spreadsheets and servers to store all the information they have. BI should be a part and parcel of every business regardless of its size and industry.

Business Intelligence tools reduce manual work by automating data extraction from sources and providing the user with concrete results to make strategic decisions. Such data may be sales forecasts, various trends, customer behavior, etc.

What is ETL in Business Intelligence?

To get meaningful data, you need to collect it from various channels, make it organized, and put it into a unified repository. This is when ETL comes to the rescue.

ETL stands for extract, transform, load, and it’s a technological process that helps to put data from different sources into a single place with a view to analyzing it to get meaningful results or/and insights. The process consists of three sub-processes:

  • Extraction

At this stage, you extract information from as many different sources as you have.

  • Transformation

Here you apply business rules in order to get standardization, data sorting, and verification. You also apply your rules to avoid any data duplication. In simple words, you transform your information into the form you need.

  • Loading

Upon completing the transformation stage, now it’s time for the third one. At this stage, you load the data into a new place where you can efficiently manage it.

All in all, the ETL process is used to:

  • aid businesses in analyzing information so that they could strategic decisions and make educated predictions, which, eventually, should lead to their success, profit, growth, etc;
  • get an insightful overview of the company’s historical data;
  • answer complex business-related questions;
  • easily manage large chunks of information;
  • provide a visual representation of data as ETL tools are based on GUI (graphical user interface) that provides a flow to demonstrate the system’s logic. It also allows you to use the drag-and-drop functionality to make the visualization more comfortable.

These are just a few things that ETL can do in terms of Business Intelligence and BI is extremely important for businesses throughout the world right now. And the need for it will only be growing.

If you want to learn more about Business Intelligence, you can sign up for our courses at DEVrepublik.

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