Business intelligence and analytics: From Big Data to Big Impact

What is Business Intelligence and Analytics?

In this article, BIA refers to the set of techniques, technologies, systems, practices, methodologies and applications to analyse critical business data. As such, BIA helps enterprises to understand its business and markets to enable timely and quality decision making (Chen, Chiang, & Storey, 2012).

Which types of Business Intelligence and Analytics exist?

Three BIA types can be distinguished:

  • BIA1 originally stems from database management and relies on the collection, extraction and analysis technologies. This form of BIA relies on structured data that is collected by companies and stored in DataBase Management Systems (DBMS). BIA1 consists of three elements: (1) converting and integrating data, (2) exploring important data characteristics and (3) analyzing and visualizing performance metrics. This requires: reporting, dashboard, query, search based BI, Online Analytical Processing (OLAP), interactive visualization, scorecards, predictive modelling and data mining skills.
  • BIA2 stems from internet and web-based data collection. It fundamentally relies on direct interaction with customers, by using IP tracking to understand customers and discover business opportunities. This form of BIA has an unstructured data source, uses techniques such as click tracking and analytics tools to reveal online activities. Also it enables conversation between customer. This data requires integration with existing DBMS systems. Skills related to this BIA type are: query and search capabilities.
  • BIA3 has developed in early 2010 and uses mobile devices and sensors to collect data. This kind of analysis closely follows up on Internet of Things. Data is gathered directly from these devices and is: (1) Person-Centric, (2) Highly Mobile, (3) Location-aware and (4) context relevant. Modes of analyzing and integrating data with BIA1 is still emerging. However, for businesses this opens a window for innovative applications. According to the trend-framework of Gartner, this is considered a disruptive technology.

What is the impact of Business Intelligence and Analytics?

The impact is visible in global business. The tremendous amount of information generated by web-based, mobile devices and sensors lead to new science, discoveries and insights that can be researched for both academics and businesses. Current application fields of BIA are: E-commerce, E-government and Politics, Science and Technology, Smart Health and Wellbeing and Security and Public safety.

What skills and knowledge are desired when working in Business Intelligence and Analytics?

  • IT skills: refers to the ability to turn raw data into insight.
  • Business Domain Knowledge: refers to the capability of understanding business issues and framing the appropriate analytical solutions.
  • Communication skills: refers to the ability to properly communicate and interact with domain experts within an organization.

What is my take-away?

BIA is on the rise. Benefiting from the growing amount of data available, businesses can can create a deep understanding of their business, customers and its interaction. By combining traditional database information, web-based sources and ultimately mobile and sensor driven data, new research and discoveries will emerge disrupting business practice. To effectively use BIA within an organization, employees should have the right combination of IT capabilities, domain knowledge and communication skills.


Chen, H., Chiang, R. H. L., & Storey, V. C. (2012). Business Intelligence and Analytics: From Big Data to Big Impact. MIS Quarterly, 36(4), 1165–1188.

What did you think of this article?