It’s becoming increasingly obvious that the pace at which we create new data won’t slow down anytime soon. With millions of streams and touch points, most businesses create gigabytes of data every minute, yet our rate of data comprehension cannot keep up.
To get the most out of data, companies need to analyze it as soon as it is created—when it can provide the most immediate and relevant insights. Unlike traditional models that look at historical data for patterns, real-time analytics focuses on understanding information as it arrives to help make faster, better decisions. Today, real time business intelligence is a necessity more than a luxury, so it’s important to understand exactly what it is, and what it can do for you.
What is Real-Time Business Intelligence?
Real time business intelligence is the use of analytics and other data processing tools to give companies access to the most recent, relevant data and visualizations. More than anything, this up-to-the-minute information lets organizations make smarter decisions and better understand their operations. To provide real-time data, these platforms use smart data storage solutions such as Redshift data warehouses, visualizations, and ad hoc analytics tools.
To successfully provide you with the best data, real-time BI tools use a combination of server-less analytics (where data is transmitted directly to a dashboard or visualization) and data warehouses. This allows dashboards to show both real-time and historic data in a holistic way. It also lets companies provide users with the data they need to complete their jobs more effectively, and even assists in predictive analytics.
Why is Real-Time BI Crucial for Organizations?
At its core, real-time business intelligence is about understanding data faster and using it to make wise snap decisions. For organizations which produce gigabytes—and even terabytes, in some cases—much of this information loses its relevance once it’s sitting in storage. Information about inventory levels, customer needs, ongoing services, and more can all be incredibly useful, but more so if it’s analyzed as soon as it’s generated.
Real-time analytics and BI also empower users in organizations to perform their own research and use their available data. This includes the ability to perform ad-hoc analysis on existing data or creating visualizations specific to new streams. Finally, real-time BI helps better understand trends and create more accurate predictive models for organizations.
Who Uses Real-Time BI?
There are several industries, sectors, and fields where using real-time BI can optimize an organization:
- Customer relationship management suites (CRMs) can use real-time data to provide better service for consumers. This includes providing better engagement by tailoring services and conversations to consumers’ known preferences in the moment.
- Logistics organizations can better understand their supply chains and workflows as they evolve. This allows for better decisions in emergencies (how to best alter a route for faster delivery) or simply to create more efficient chains.
- Inventory managers can see their stock falling and rising as it happens, letting them make better calls about which products to order. By combining with historic trends, they can also create predictive models for ordering that automate time-consuming tasks.
- Manufacturers can collect real-time data from machinery and production chains, and see how they are performing, as well as their condition. This allows them to both improve efficiency and productivity and resolve any maintenance issues before they become a full-blown emergency.
- Risk analysts can take advantage of incoming data to continuously modify their risk models and make better calls on insurance, loans, and a variety of other financial decisions.
What are the Real-Time BI Best Practices?
These are some of the best ways to ensure your real-time business intelligence tools give you the best results:
- Understand the value of your data – the value of data decreases as it ages. Understand how quickly this change happens and make sure your BI tools optimize your information.
- Have a strong infrastructure built for your data – Once you collect it, data must be stored, scrubbed, and parsed. Having a clear data warehousing solution and organized data flow can help you optimize your results.
- Collect the right data – Most importantly, real-time analytics works best when you’re using the most relevant data. Focus on the data that can give you the most pertinent answers for each situation.
Real-time business intelligence is becoming a central aspect of organizations’ decision-making. By implementing the right solution and empowering your teams to use it, you can start making upgrades and finding the best insights in your data.