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What is Business Intelligence?

Houston IT companiesHouston IT companies have been providing business intelligence (BI) to larger enterprises for many years. Until recent times, attaining such information wasn’t realistically feasible for small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs). One of the biggest reasons this is possible today is SaaS (Software as a Service). This cloud provision uses a server array hosting the cloud to run certain software solutions which would be expensive, if not beyond affordability, to smaller businesses. There are a number of reasons for this, chief among them is the need for processing power.

BI refers to all the information which is generated throughout conventional operational cycles across a business. This can be petabytes of data for larger operations like Amazon or Walmart. It can be terabytes–or even exabytes–for SMBs. Every keystroke entered in by workers, natural seasonal cycles, the fluctuation of clientele; all these things are part and parcel to BI as it relates to your business. Examination, processing, and interpretation of this data can now be done through a number of SaaS-related programs totally free–though you’re likely going to find more intuitive, manageable solutions at some cost. The point is, that cost today is vastly reduced from what it would have been even a few short years ago.

BI Options Worth Looking Into

Houston IT companies can help you determine where the most cost-effective BI solutions lie and how to use the resulting data as a means of making your business more efficient. Not exploiting such solutions in today’s environment is likely going to reduce your competitive ability amidst peers. The truth is, BI represents an operational asset likely to produce statistically high and regularly sustainable quotients of ROI. For a taste, below are two BI solutions which can help businesses of varying size acquire and make sense of operational data:

  • BIRT
  • Microsoft Power BI


BIRT is actually open-source and has a lot of popularity in the land of Oz (Australia). Currently, there are over twelve million users and a ubiquity of associated endorsements.

Microsoft Power BI, by contrast, is the free version of Microsoft’s primary BI solution. It can be upgraded to the premium solution if you find the data gleaned worthy of the expense. Generally, larger quotients of data benefit from such an upgrade.

Optimizing Your Business

Greater information visibility and processing lead to less-costly, more profitable operations. Houston IT companies can help appraise your business of existing BI options and determine where they can best be put to use to help your operation competitively optimize. Contact us now at ICS to see where BI could help you.