This sponsored post is produced in association with SiSense.

We live in a world of big data. It’s being collected constantly, from the purchases you make to the websites you visit to the GPS info gathered on your phone. But the fact that a lot of data is being collected isn’t what makes “big data” so impressive. Rather, it’s the ability to process and utilize this data faster, more efficiently — and in some cases for the first time — that makes big data so noteworthy.

And in terms of function, big data is benefiting businesses in truly amazing ways. High capacity tools that transform raw, unorganized data into something useable and useful is what stands behind the big data that makes up business intelligence (BI). BI gives companies big and small the upper hand by offering them the ability to analyze large data sets quickly.

But why is this important? And how can it be leveraged for your business? That’s what we will discuss here today.

Who benefits from Business Intelligence?

According to the most recent BI Scorecard, — a survey conducted in 2012 of BI and its impact on businesses — 24% of employees at a typical company now use BI or analytics tools. And the adoption rate for field staff was 43%, which is a 10% increase since 2009.

Which is all to say, more and more companies — and more and more staff within those companies — are recognizing the importance of using BI tools to collect, store, and analyze data to make informed decisions about business operations. These tools are being used for customer profiling and support, market research and segmentation, inventory, and statistical analysis.

Businesses across every industry are using BI to improve operations, efficiency, and ROI. For instance, since the intimate apparel brand Maidenform invested in BI in 2012, it has found itself capable of answering even the most complicated questions related to SKU supply and demand for retailers that send the company POS data. A massive amount of point-of-sale data has always been collected at the company, but it’s the processing of it that makes BI invaluable. Only with BI tools was Maidenform able to identify discrepancies between its supply and demand at the SKU level, according to an Apparel Magazine article.

What BI can accomplish

BI lets companies join data from multiple sources to gain a better understanding of where they stand and where they should go from here. These sources include anything and everything like spreadsheets, Google Analytics and Adwords data, CRM data, cloud applications, and more.

And once all of this data is compiled, it can be used in a variety of ways including:

Data visualization

When all of your data is processed and output into visual form, it’s a lot easier to comprehend than a list of numbers. And visual outputs can be updated in real-time. This gives business analysts and people across the entire hierarchy of a company the ability to see the big picture. And that’s important now that employees outside of IT are expected to derive information from big data. A visual aid is immensely helpful here, according to Phil Simon, author of The Visual Organization.

“Today more than ever, professionals are being asked to argue their cases and make their decisions based on data,” Simon said in a Forbes article. All the more reason to adopt BI tools that make this sort of analysis possible then, don’t you think?

Interactive dashboards

The best solutions in BI will allow you to customize interactive dashboards that let you see the information you want to see. Not only that – they’ll display this information, even from terabytes of data, in just seconds. When you can view and analyze data this fast, you’ll discover more answers.

You’ll also be able to monitor your dashboards live, or get notifications when the data updates. Up-to-the minute reporting and data interaction means companies can make better informed decisions.

The ROI of BI

The results attainable with a well-implemented BI solution can deliver a significant ROI every time. Once the system is up and running, you can readily measure your user base, site impressions, sales, word of mouth, ad impressions, conversions, and more. Then you can view real-time reports or visualizations of that data from which you can make any number of decisions about your business.

One recommended solution is SiSense, which provides companies with robust tools for business intelligence and analysis. Its services have benefitted companies like eBay,, ESPN, Merck, and NASA. Thanks to SiSense, companies, both small and large, have figured out important site metrics.

An example of SiSense’s success is found in WeFi, whose data base team had been manually running SQL queries from large amounts of data. Before SiSense, the team was unable to generate meaningful feedback and analysis for management.

Fortunately, SiSense came in. Their solutions allowed WeFi to easily gather and study data on the behavior of millions of users, activities, and Wi-Fi performance by combining numerous tables of data, each with an average size of more than five million rows. Thanks to SiSense, management was able to gather crucial feedback to improve their business.

Getting Started with SiSense

Starting with SiSense isn’t complicated. Pricing depends on how many employees will be utilizing these services, but you can request a quote now to begin the process. And soon, BI tools will be working for you and your business.

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