Breaking Down Business Intelligence

Business intelligence is a broad term that encompasses the technology and techniques that companies use for data analysis.

Get a better grasp on business intelligence, BI tools, and where AnswerRocket fits in with this BI guide. Scroll down to learn more.

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Table of Contents

What is Business Intelligence?

The term business intelligence has been around since the 1800s. In the modern era, it’s a fairly simple umbrella term that encompasses many complex business processes and activities.

Business intelligence (BI) refers to the process of using technology and services to analyze data and uncover actionable findings for executives and other corporate users to leverage.

Essentially, business intelligence seeks to make sense of big data, not only managing the sheer volume but generating strategy-focused takeaways.

Forrester explains the business intelligence definition well, stating, “Business intelligence (BI) is a set of methodologies, processes, architectures, and technologies that transform raw data into meaningful and useful information. It allows business users to make informed business decisions with real-time data that can put a company ahead of its competitors.”

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Every business is searching for the same thing — a competitive advantage and sustainable stability. With business intelligence, companies position themselves to strive for that goal.

Business Intelligence Software Basics

Business intelligence software is designed to accomplish many necessary functions for its users. Here’s a breakdown of what the technology typically has the capacity to accomplish, broken out by role, as well as some of the BI software features you’ll encounter as you research the solution that is best for your company.

Data Scientists and Analysts

At its core, BI software should make the jobs of data scientists and analysts far easier. Reporting should be simpler. To start off with, a business intelligence platform needs to let you connect to your data, no matter where it is. Whether your data is on-premises, cloud-based, or a mix of both, you should be able to access it. From Salesforce to Excel to Microsoft SQL to Hadoop and beyond, pick a platform that connects with all of your critical data sources.

Once you’re confident that you’ve selected a platform that will work with your various data sources, look for an option that checks the following boxes:

  • It is designed to make prepping and modeling data easier.
  • The advanced analytics features are user-friendly and accessible for those who are capable of taking full advantage.
  • The software enables you to create interactive, customized reports for your business’s unique needs.
  • Reports and visual analytics are readily accessible and digestible for non-technical users.

However you look at it, it is clear that business intelligence is deeply embedded in the roles and responsibilities of analytics departments, so it is crucial that you put your best forward with an advanced and capable software solution.


The right BI software can be a huge win for marketing teams. The better a marketer understands past and current performance, the better they can strategize for driving customer acquisition. Data is the key to that enhanced understanding.

Business intelligence technology should help pull together your data, run various marketing analytics, and report on the findings, all as quickly as possible — and preferably — in real time.

From social and web analytics to customer data, your BI solution should be ready and able to meet your marketing needs while answering your marketing questions.


Sales is metrics driven. Your sales team is going to be asking questions like “Have we reached our monthly sales quota?” and “How is our region performing compared to other regions?” You need a solid BI solution in order to answer those questions effectively and efficiently.

Look for software that can help you perform sales pipeline analytics, win-loss analysis, opportunity studies, and KPI tracking. Then, you can leverage your enhanced data capabilities to identify opportunities to shorten the sales cycle and grow revenue. 

Generally speaking, your entire sales team should be able to leverage dashboards and scorecards to track performance against targets and business requirements. Pick a platform that equips your team with the visibility it needs to close deals and bring in revenue.

Financial Analysts

Business intelligence provides a huge opportunity for financial analysts. Make a greater impact given your time and resources with an advanced BI solution.

Those in finance need to track professional success metrics like company growth compared to competitors, percentage growth over time, profitability, market share, and more.

While looking to convert raw data into those metrics, your average financial analysis team is also going to be simultaneously struggling with forecasting errors, uncertainty, disparate data, and lack of collaboration and communication.

Business intelligence technology can help your team solve for those challenges while tracking the right metrics.

The Top BI Tools

The market is full of business intelligence solutions, which is great for buyers. Below you’ll find a BI tools list that highlights some of the best offerings in the industry.

AI, BI, and AnswerRocket

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) is a huge topic in tech. In the data and analytics space, the combination of machine learning and natural language processing are changing the way companies approach their data. It’s making it possible for business users to forecast future trends and automate analysis in a way that was previously unimaginable.

Business Intelligence

Data analytics providers have been working for years to incorporate AI technology into business intelligence tools. Now, a few years into this trend, the most established version of this pairing is augmented analytics. Gartner coined the term, explaining that augmented analytics automates insights using machine learning and natural-language generation.


AnswerRocket is a leading augmented analytics platform, leveraging AI and BI to help its end users find growth opportunities faster than the competition. With business intelligence features such as dashboards and data visualizations and AI technology that automates processes and offers deeper insights, the AnswerRocket platform is a leading solution in this new era.

AnswerRocket’s Approach to Business Intelligence

AnswerRocket brings AI, machine learning, and natural language processing to BI. With AnswerRocket, the analytical power is in the hands of the everyone, not just analysts, unlike with other business intelligence examples.

Discover how our analytics platform leverages AI and business intelligence technology to help the end user generate actionable insights and find growth. Schedule a demo today.