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What is a BI tool? From what you can do to examples of use!

With the ability to collect a wide variety of data these days, companies are accumulating enormous amounts of data. To make use of this data in business, it is necessary to analyze it according to its purpose and make decisions based on the data. Therefore, BI tools are attracting attention and an increasing number of companies are considering introducing them. We will explain what a BI tool is, look at examples of how to use the tool, and introduce the recommended BI tool “Tableau”.

Table of contents

  • What is a BI tool?
  • What BI tools can do
  • Features of Tableau
  • Introducing BI tools and effectively utilizing information expands business opportunities

What is a BI tool?

BI stands for Business Intelligence and refers to making business decisions based on data. For example, we systematically, continuously, and systematically accumulate and analyze customer-related data held by companies, data collected through the Web and various Internet tools, and store data, and process them as necessary. It then derives useful insights for business decision-making. Tools that utilize such data are called BI tools.

The evolution and spread of the Internet have made it possible to obtain a greater amount of various data than ever before. The utilization of BI tools is expected to greatly contribute to the growth of companies, but in reality, BI tools are not so widespread.

According to Gartner Japan, Inc.’s “Survey Results on BI and Data Utilization” released in April 2017, as of November 2016, 37% of all companies have introduced BI tools and those with more than 2,000 employees. It reaches 80% of large companies. However, less than 20% of all employees are using BI tools at 58% of the companies. Less than 10% is the result of 36%.

The fact that there has been no major movement in this trend since then can be seen from the “Survey results on the status of introduction of BI tools in companies” announced by the company in May 2019. As of March 2019, when the survey was conducted, 74% answered that they were using BI tools at their company, while 41% answered that they were not using them. doing.

Based on these results, we believe that although companies recognize the importance of BI tools and are promoting their introduction, only a small percentage of employees use them. In many companies, the current situation is that BI tools do not contribute significantly to business decisions.

What BI tools can do

There are various reasons why many employees do not use BI tools even though they have been introduced to them. One of them is a lack of understanding of what can be done with BI tools. Therefore, after explaining what can be done using BI tools specifically, we will introduce examples of companies that are using BI tools.

Main features of BI tools

Data visualization

BI tools collect, aggregate, analyze and analyze various data and output them as reports. However, if the output report is just a list of numbers, it will be difficult to make business decisions from it. BI tools are expressed in graphs, infographics, and other forms that are intuitive and easy for anyone to understand, reducing the time it takes to make decisions.

Analyzing relationships between multiple data from various angles

One of the important functions of BI tools is the ability to analyze multiple data from multiple angles. For example, you can instantly aggregate and analyze sales data by customer, region, product, profit margin, month-on-month change, and year-on-year change. In addition, you can easily perform processing such as “drill down” to dig deeper into the data, allowing you to analyze the data more deeply. In addition, it is possible to connect to multiple data sources and combine and analyze different data sources, enabling more diversified analysis.

Deriving regularity from data

There is a well-known example that after analyzing sales data at a US supermarket, customers tended to buy beer and diapers together. This is a technique called data mining that derives specific rules by aggregating and analyzing various data. BI tools also include the ability to do data mining.

Prediction based on data analysis

BI tools can analyze huge amounts of accumulated data, formulate hypotheses, and predict the future. For example, based on past data, it will be possible to make sales forecasts based on the weather, season, and time of day, determine the number of products to purchase and create budgets based on those forecasts.

BI tool introduction case

Thousands of hours are saved by centralizing disparate data sources

Company A, which has its headquarters in the United States and operates restaurant chains around the world, was unable to get a complete picture of its customers because each store had different data sources. Therefore, we utilized BI tools to unify different data sources. This makes it possible to analyze more data in a shorter time than before, saving thousands of hours of man-hours.

Predict which students are likely to drop out. Early Intervention Successfully Reduces Dropouts Significantly

A public school in the United States used to manage student attendance with manual Excel reports. However, doing this manually was time-consuming, and administrators were unable to check the latest data on attendance and absences and were unable to reach out to problematic students promptly.

Therefore, we started using BI tools to utilize student attendance status as data through advanced analysis. Predicting students who are likely to drop out of school has made it possible to identify high-risk students at an early stage. Based on the analysis data, we have succeeded in reducing dropouts as a result of being able to provide the necessary support to the students who need it.

Features of Tableau

We have seen the functions and benefits of BI tools, but here we will introduce the recommended BI tool “Tableau”. “Tableau” is a BI tool used all over the world, and its main features are as follows.

Intuitive operation

BI tools that can aggregate, analyze, and analyze various data are difficult to operate, and it tends to be thought that unless you are an expert who handles data like a data scientist, you cannot fully demonstrate its performance. is. However, “Tableau” basically allows intuitive operations centered on drag and drop.

Visual analysis

In addition to graphs, various visualizations such as map linkage allow anyone to understand the analyzed data at a glance. By not only visualizing data, but also by digging deeper, changing perspectives, and asking questions repeatedly, we can find discoveries and issues that we hadn’t noticed before.

Dashboard

You can flexibly create a dashboard that can display multiple tables and charts on one screen at the same time. You can also easily perform operations such as highlighting only that item by clicking on the data you want to see or opening the detailed data in a separate worksheet.

Automatic updating

The automatic update function, which automatically aggregates and analyzes data according to the weekly meeting, frees you from spending time and effort creating new data before the meeting.

Subscription pricing structure

The pricing system of “Tableau” is a subscription method, and it can be used only for a fixed cost burden according to the usage period (annual contract). Therefore, it is possible to reduce the initial cost, and it can be easily introduced by small and medium-sized enterprises and start-up companies.

Introducing BI tools and effectively utilizing information expands business opportunities

Efficient use of data is essential for continuous business effectiveness. An increasing number of companies are introducing BI tools to make effective use of the enormous amount of data they accumulate daily. However, on the other hand, there are also voices that it is not being used well, that the effect is not visible, and that there is no difference from analysis in Excel. This is probably because the BI tools that have been introduced are not being properly operated.

Data is a great asset for companies. For the selection of BI tools to make good use of that data, consider consulting with a specialized company that has a wealth of expertise and implementation support cases. At SoftBank, we can utilize the many solutions and know-how handled by SoftBank to provide consistent support and advice, from organizing data, building an analysis platform, introducing Tableau, making predictions, and utilizing them in business. One way is to consult with your company to consider the introduction of the most suitable BI tool for your company.

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