The terms Business Intelligence and Data Warehouse continue to grow in popularity. And while everyone can roughly agree on what these terms mean, there are a lot of ‘flavors’ of each, and it can get confusing fast. Especially as Data Warehouse software sales reps try to convince businesses that they don’t need BI, they just need a Data Warehouse.

Data Warehouse 101

So, what’s a data warehouse? It’s a giant database of company information, pulled from the diverse IT systems that companies run on. It’s a superset of data from your ERP/Finance system, CRM, Inventory, Purchasing, etc. It can be an easy way to get data without having to log into multiple systems. But that’s where the benefits start and end.

Business Intelligence 201

Business Intelligence also pulls together data from multiple business systems, but that’s where the similarities end. BI doesn’t just put the data all in the same bucket and call it a day. After it pulls data from software systems, cloud-based apps, Excel sheets, servers, and more it then:

  • Normalizes the data. What this means is that all the data is connected, regardless of terminology. Does your ERP call things regions, but the CRM calls them territories? BI takes care of that
  • Crunches massive amounts of data to find trends, discrepancies and insights. Nowsight BI, in particular, uses Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to surface even more powerful information.
  • Notifies pre-identified employees to get real-time texts or emails when something actionable occurs. Few BI systems have this capability (of course Nowsight does)–so make sure you ask your BI provider if they can handle this.

This is, of course, an extremely high-level description of these systems. Data warehouses gather information, Business Intelligence turns gathered information into profitability and revenue growth. Don’t forget that Nowsight will do a free data analysis for you to help identify where key data resides in your organization, and how to best turn that data into an active source of intelligence. And, if you want to see the impact BI can have on sales insights, check out our ROI Calculator where you can use 5 data points from your business to see the impact small improvements have on profitability. Let’s talk!