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Without BI, your AI is useless

Posted by Brad Watson on Jun 18, 2019 9:07:15 AM
Brad Watson
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Artificial intelligence (AI) may be at the center of most discussions these days, but without a solid data platform, AI technology won't have the proper foundation. Business intelligence tools organize data in a way that provides clear insights which you can use to make educated business decisions. When AI and BI work together, a company can rely on AI to use data (collected by BI) to make informed business decisions without the need for human interaction. However, without BI, your AI is useless. 

Business Intelligence Wordcloud

The Importance of Business Intelligence

Business intelligence (BI) refers to the procedural and technical infrastructure that collects, stores, and analyzes the data produced by a company’s activities. BI is a broad term that encompasses data mining, process analysis, performance benchmarking, and descriptive analytics. BI parses all the data generated by a business and presents easy-to-digest reports, performance measures, and trends that inform management decisions.


BI can be used to make important business decisions, often much faster than using any other form of data analysis. BI tools such as Power BI make it clear where your problem areas are, what kind of customers you have, and how you can be more efficient. By streamlining the process in which data is collected, you’ll notice more consistency and fewer errors across the board. 


While BI doesn’t tell you exactly what actions to take, it shows you how the company has evolved across different areas. What you do with the data presented by BI,  however, is completely up to you. Often this creates a problem, as companies using BI tools may not know what actions to take by looking at the data, or they simply don’t take the time to put them in motion.

The Purpose of Using AI

The reason most people choose to implement AI systems in their company’s day-to-day operations is simply to save time and money. Ideally, AI can develop to the point that it can simulate human behavior and be able to automatically make decisions for businesses without human interaction. This can be anything from customer service to automated accounts receivable processes. 

Chatbots, for example, have evolved to a point where it’s often difficult to tell that you aren’t speaking to a human. Chatbots can answer customer service and general brand questions without issue and no longer require questions to be asked in a certain format in order to initiate the proper response (sentiment analysis). Using chatbots has allowed businesses to cut down on costs significantly and has created a more convenient line of communication for the customer as well. 

How BI and AI Work Together

While BI and AI are two distinctly different tools, they complement one another when used together. BI tools may offer you clear insight into your company’s data, but AI tools can suggest the appropriate actions to take in order to see certain outcomes. When you have enough data, AI can then be used to create useful and coherent business plans of action. As time goes on and more data is collected, AI will be able to learn and adjust to better suit your needs.   

[See also] In data we trust: intuition no longer needed

Why AI is Useless Without BI

For an AI system to be successful, it will need to continue learning. The data collected and analyzed using BI will feed the mind of your AI, so to speak, allowing it to grow in knowledge and functionality specific to your business. Over time, you will end up with a highly intelligent system in place to help your company be successful. Without a solid BI foundation, there is no data feeding your AI systems, rendering them useless.

Using the Combined Approach of BI and AI

The combination of BI & AI  has proven to be useful across a wide range of industries (e.g., healthcare, financial services, and manufacturing).  Not only can these tools provide up to the minute data reports on any device, but they can provide predictions and recommendations which improve patient health, increase sales, or improve maintenance.

Realizing the potential of combining these systems is the first step towards addressing your business challenges head-on. 


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Topics: Business Intelligence, Artificial Intelligence

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