Business Intelligence

AI Business Intelligence – The Future of Analytics Has Arrived

by
Craig Wisneski
,
April 7, 2021

Artificial intelligence is changing the way we shop, the way we communicate, and how we get our entertainment. From deep learning to natural language processing, autonomous vehicles to intelligent robots, AI technology is increasingly showing up in our connected world.

AI is also changing the nature of how businesses operate. Because of the increasing volume and complexity of business data, AI is fast becoming central to the world of business analytics. AI is helping companies gain valuable insights from their data, enabling better decision-making, accelerating growth, and increasing revenue capture. 

So, how exactly does artificial intelligence contribute to better business intelligence? In this post, we will explore the topic of AI and why it's so essential for next-generation business intelligence.  

What Are the Goals of Business Intelligence?

Before looking at how AI contributes, let's first do a recap on business intelligence. Business intelligence (BI) refers to using technologies or tools to collect, store, and analyze business data. Think dashboards and reports that summarize data in understandable and actionable ways. When done well, it makes the process of working with business data more manageable and more efficient.

Good data intelligence allows businesses to improve their understanding of their users, product, and market, which helps them make smarter decisions. While BI gives businesses a clearer picture of their data, it doesn’t tell them where the business is heading or make any decisions on it - that's where artificial intelligence comes in.  

What Is Artificial Intelligence and What Can It Do?

Artificial intelligence (AI for short) is when computer systems are programmed to enable human-like traits such as learning, problem-solving, and decision making. AI models learn from historical data they’re given and then they apply that learning to predict outcomes of new situations, much in the same way our brains work.

AI allows software to do tasks like:

And AI can take what it understands and use it to try to predict the future. In the same way that AI can finish the sentences in an email, it can predict the revenue of a business. AI systems work best when sorting through massive amounts of data to surface the underlying patterns, which makes AI a perfect match for Business Intelligence. 

One of the most significant applications of AI is its ability to read and understand text. After all, billions of Internet-connected consumers turn to social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook every day to share their thoughts on everything from current events to the products they use. Meanwhile, e-commerce platforms such as Amazon and Yelp rely heavily on user-generated reviews to drive product discovery and sales.

In order to make sense of all this unstructured text, businesses rely on AI-powered software that can read and classify it quickly and accurately. This not only allows businesses to track sentiment around their brand or products, but also provides valuable insights into customer needs and preferences. Additionally, AI can be used to detect the tone of interactions in customer service chat sessions or phone calls, which can be extremely helpful in ensuring a positive experience for customers.

Customers repeat their business with those brands that show they understand them not just as a dollar sign but as an individual with certain wants and needs. Using AI to analyze customer sentiment is a key way to show that you understand your customers on a deeper level, which can ultimately lead to increased sales and repeat business.

Image recognition is another important application of AI. This technology can be used to classify images and identify objects in them, which has a wide range of potential applications. For example, retailers can use image recognition to catalog products and track inventory, while law enforcement agencies can use it to scan for wanted criminals or missing persons. Additionally, AI-powered image recognition can be used to create targeted marketing campaigns based on the interests of individual consumers.

Further, AI can also be used to recognize patterns and make predictions. This is especially valuable in industries where data is constantly changing, such as the stock market or the commodities market. By analyzing past data, AI-powered software can forecast future trends and prices, which can give businesses a major advantage in these highly competitive industries.

Regardless of the particular Key Performance Indicator at stake, the ability of AI to quickly and accurately make predictions based on data is invaluable for businesses. By harnessing the power of AI, businesses can gain a significant competitive edge and improve their bottom line.

The Synergy Between AI and BI

Today’s businesses are accumulating ever-increasing volumes of data. As more commerce and communication shift online, the amount of data we generate is exploding.

As a result, businesses can no longer depend on traditional BI tools alone to analyze big data and gain actionable insights from it to develop their business strategies and improve their decision-making. Increasingly, the only way to make sense of the sheer volume of data flowing in is through AI.

BI tools are great for making sense of small data sets, reporting key performance indicators, and generating visualizations. These points alone drive many business decisions. However, when it comes to large data sets and predictions, BI tools fall short.

For one, building scalable infrastructure for AI is difficult with BI tools. You need to be able to handle large amounts of data quickly and accurately, which is something that BI tools lack. Additionally, deploying AI models can be difficult and time-consuming with BI tools.

In fact, most BI tools don't have any deployment toolsets at all. This makes it hard to integrate AI into your BI workflow. Finally, accuracy is always a concern with AI. With BI tools, you're missing out on a dedicated accuracy handling process that can help you improve your predictions.

In short, while some BI tools offer basic prediction functionality, they lack the comprehensive set of tools that you need to truly take advantage of AI. If you're looking to implement AI in your business, you'll need to look beyond BI tools.

AI gives businesses the ability to:

  • Make sense of big data. With AI, business intelligence can work with larger volumes of data to surface the underlying patterns at a speed not attainable with traditional techniques. 
  • Yield deeper insights. With AI, companies can gain better insights from their data, especially when they augment their data with supplemental data from other sources that help draw out patterns.  
  • Simplify complex processes. Using AI technologies like natural language processing and machine learning, businesses can automate many tedious tasks in ways that improve operational efficiency and lead to better customer experiences. 
  • Grow faster. Better and faster decision-making directly increases a business’s ability to grow

Given these benefits, it's easy to see why combining business intelligence with artificial intelligence can be a tremendous investment for a business. Although both AI and BI are different tools, they are complementary and combine to allow enterprises to act on the massive amounts of data they collect daily. 

AI and BI enable next-generation business processes and automation while unlocking valuable insights, intelligent decision-making, and increased operational efficiency. 

As a result, BI with AI is taking hold in many of the largest businesses in the world. General Electric and Siemens use it to monitor equipment and schedule preventative maintenance to improve the upkeep of machinery. Walmart uses AI and BI to optimize staffing in their stores. Amazon uses it to optimize their supply chain with customer demand.

And companies beyond just the largest are catching on too. The adoption of intelligent and efficient AI-powered BI tools can make any business smarter and faster.              

In Closing

In a world increasingly ruled by data, the future of business intelligence and predictive analytics lies with artificial intelligence. Businesses will capture insights they never thought possible, allowing them to plan better, keep up with trends, and improve their overall decision-making process, leading to more growth and success. 

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