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What is BI Reporting And How Can It Be Used?

In business today, data is everything, and businesses that can analyse, visualise, and really understand the data at their disposal can gain a clear advantage over competitors in their industry that struggle in this area. The insights gleaned from this data are known as ‘business intelligence’ (or ‘BI’), as is the work involved in understanding the messages that business intelligence data is trying to convey, or using those insights in some way.

Furthermore, in modern business, business intelligence cannot be ignored, since both knowing how to practise it well and the data and insights presented through good use of BI could potentially be significant competitive advantages for a business. Lastly, those involved in the business intelligence industry will probably also have heard of ‘business intelligence reporting’ too – but what is BI reporting, why do businesses do it and how can it help them succeed? The TouchstoneBI team investigates now.
What is BI Reporting And How Can It Be Used?

What is BI Reporting?

Let’s start by providing a clear and uncomplicated answer to today’s core question of ‘what is BI reporting?’. In simple terms, BI Reporting is the gathering, processing, and presentation of data in such a way that decision-makers can understand it clearly, and use it more effectively. Business Intelligence (and business intelligence Reporting) is becoming an essential element in today’s technological era, which has made it a reliable source for all kinds of information about your business, and a driver of sound decision-making processes.

This is good news, as the overarching purpose of BI reporting is to empower businesses with an in-depth understanding of their operations, improving business efficiency and productivity through informed decision-making. In conclusion then, BI Reporting is a valuable tool for all businesses that aspire to enhance their operational efficiency, transparency, and growth potential.

What is BI Reporting And How Can It Be Used?

The Process of BI Reporting

In order to answer the question of ‘what is BI reporting‘, it’s important to note the three main stages involved in the BI Reporting Process:

Data Collection and Integration

This stage in the process involves gathering data from various sources and integrating it into a central repository. The work involved in identifying relevant data sources, cleansing your data, validating it to ensure consistency and accuracy, and loading it into a data warehouse will all take place here.

Data Analysis and Visualisation

During this stage, the raw data collected during the previous step is transformed into insights, using an array of analytical tools and techniques. This stage includes creating dashboards, data tables, graphical readouts like charts or graphs, and interactive visualisations that help users interpret and make sense of data. As such, this stage often requires skills such as data modelling, statistical analysis, and proficiency in BI tools such as TimeXtender.

Creation and Distribution of Reports

The final stage of a sound BI reporting process involves making the final reports compiled using your company’s BI data available to the appropriate stakeholders. This can be done through a wide variety of channels. For instance you might print out hard-copies or send the reports via email – however, increasingly we’re seeing businesses turn to mobile apps and cloud-based platforms instead, since these options can better ensure that the reports are delivered securely and are accessible only to those persons authorised to see them.

What is BI Reporting And How Can It Be Used?

What is BI Reporting Used For?

The truth is that BI reports can be compiled for a number of reasons, or in response to a number of perceived needs. so what BI reports are used for depends in no small part on the wants and needs of the company doing the reporting. With that said however, there are a number of situations where BI reporting is commonly seen, so we’ve outlined some of those here:

What is BI reporting used for internally by a business?

One of the primary ways BI reporting can be used to gain extra insights into your business is by providing a comprehensive understanding of your company’s performance across different departments and functions. By consolidating data from multiple sources such as sales, marketing, finance, and operations, BI reporting can help you identify trends, spot inefficiencies, and assess the overall health of your organisation. This holistic view of your company’s performance enables you to make more informed strategic decisions and allocate resources more effectively.

BI reporting can also be used to gain extra insights into your customers by analysing customer data from various touch points such as social media, website interactions, email campaigns, and their purchase history. By aggregating this data and applying advanced analytics techniques, BI reporting can help you segment your customers based on their behaviour, preferences, and demographics. This granular understanding of your customers allows you to develop personalised marketing campaigns, improve customer satisfaction, and ultimately drive sales growth.

What is BI reporting used for by legislative and regulatory bodies?

The use of a sound BI reporting setup delivers transparency and accountability, and promotes the use of good business practices. For this reason BI reporting – particularly in relation to finances and the environmental impact and sustainability of a business’ activities – can be required either by law, or by the regulatory authorities governing a particular industry or sector of the economy. When reporting is required under these circumstances, the body requiring the report to be made should also specify why it is required, who is obliged to report, and what information or specific metrics and data should be included in the report.

How can good BI reporting help to drive future success?

Another significant benefit of BI reporting is its ability to support predictive analytics. By utilising historical data alongside advanced statistical models, BI reporting can help businesses identify potential future trends and risks. This predictive capability enables businesses to be proactive in addressing potential challenges or capitalising on emerging opportunities.

What Is BI Reporting And How Can It Be Used?

The Key Benefits of BI Reporting

Any business’ leadership team needs to make informed decisions on a regular basis. With BI reporting, your decision-makers get hassle-free access to reliable insights that can help them make the right decisions for your business quickly. Good BI reporting can help you make many improvements to how your company does business – from streamlining operations and spotting more opportunities to boost overall performance, to understanding your customers better – including their personal interests and lifestyle, as well as what they like (or don’t like) about your company, your marketing or your product offering. Lastly, don’t forget that besides helping your management team make business decisions, BI reporting can also help you stay legally compliant too.

What Is BI Reporting And How Can It Be Used?


To sum it up, BI reporting is a crucial aspect of business intelligence that enables organisations to make data-driven decisions. It helps businesses make sense of complex data – data that might not be readily understandable to those without technical knowledge – and because of that assistance and the other plus points good business reporting brings, it’s safe to say that BI reporting is here to stay, and an indispensable tool for running a successful modern business.

If you need some help putting a sound BI reporting setup in place, however, then TouchstoneBI are the team to turn to. We offer invaluable support to both data teams and business leaders – support that includes more theoretical items such as the development of an appropriate BI data strategy, as well as more practical help such as initial implementation services (including for cloud BI), and ongoing support to keep those implementations running smoothly.

What Is BI Reporting And How Can It Be Used?

More About TouchstoneBI

Lastly, don’t forget that Touchstone Business Intelligence is a proud member of the Touchstone Group, and that some of our sister businesses – such as Touchstone Financial Management Services or TouchstoneEnergy – may be able to help you too. Click the links to take a look at their services, or for expert business intelligence support, contact us today.

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