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  • Writer's pictureDuc Pham

Business Owners Guide to Modern Business Intelligence (1): What is Modern BI?

Updated: Jul 31, 2023

TL;DR: what does Modern BI mean for Business Owners?

  1. Streamline reporting and save time without manual processes.

  2. Optimize your engineering resources for the core of your business.

  3. Gain in-depth and high-quality insights.

  4. Make data-driven decisions for your daily operations.

  5. Save costs by automating laborious tasks.

  6. Achieve competitive advantage by staying ahead of trends, customer needs, and opportunities.

In this series, we will explore Modern BI from the point of view of business owners. We've gathered insights from experts and C-suites to help you make better decisions for your data-driven journey.

In this article:

The "Outdate" Business Intelligence:

Traditional business intelligence was a top-down approach to data analysis. It involved laborious workflows where IT or Engineering teams collect data from various sources, store it in a centralized data warehouse, and then Data teams jump in & clean up the data before generating reports and dashboards for business users. The business people, from the person in charge, have become the end-users, the customers serviced by a whole team of experts that require a lot of communication & understanding between human & human, human & platform, human & process.

This approach had several limitations, including:

  • High maintenance costs: The centralized data warehouse required a significant investment in hardware and software and ongoing maintenance costs.

  • Time-consuming: Extracting and loading data from various sources into the data warehouse could be time-consuming and error-prone. Any changes in the request would also increase the lead time to insight by 2-3 times.

  • Low user engagement: Business users often felt disconnected from the reports themselves, & alienated from the data warehouse, and had to rely on tech teams to generate reports and dashboards.

When there is a problem, people invent solutions. There were various names for it such as agile BI and self-service BI, but nowadays, it's known as modern BI. Let's explore the concept of modern BI, its advantages over traditional BI, and why it is vital for your business's success.

The key differences of Modern BI:

So what is modern BI?

The idea is to cut down the service providers as much as possible and create self-service tools, like the old time. Harnessing cutting-edge technologies like cloud computing, automation, and shiny artificial intelligence (AI) makes modern data easier for businessmen & businesswomen to use. This bottom-up approach empowers business users to access, visualize, and explore data intuitively and collaboratively.

Traditional BI vs Modern business intelligence comparison
Traditional BI vs Modern business intelligence

Modern business intelligence benefits:

Embracing modern BI can be a game-changer for your business, driving growth and success in today's dynamic market:

  1. Accelerated Decision Making: With modern BI, you can access real-time data from various sources without waiting for specialists, enabling faster and better decision-making.

  2. Enhanced Efficiency and Productivity: Automating tedious tasks like data cleansing and validation boosts overall efficiency, allowing your teams to focus on strategic initiatives.

  3. Unleashing Innovation: Modern BI's advanced analytics techniques unveil hidden patterns and trends in your data, inspiring creativity and driving innovation.

The Limitation of Modern BI:

Let's take a look at a modern BI workflow:

Modern BI architect with Data Integration, ETL, DMD & Visualization modules
Modern BI process with fewer service providers and more autonomy for end-users

Modern Business intelligence tools are designed to help business users analyze data and make informed decisions independently. However, the current tools have limitations that prevent users from fully utilizing their capabilities. Key challenges are the need for data integration and processing before the data can be explored and visualized by the end users, which require technical skills. Instead, they rely on service providers such as data engineers or BI and data analysts to perform these tasks for them:

  • Data integration involves combining data from multiple sources into a single, consistent dataset. It's a complex and time-consuming task, especially if the data is in various formats or comes from different sources.

  • Data storage: Once you establish a data connection, you need to store it in a way that is both efficient for analytics and secure. This step requires careful planning and consideration of the organization's specific needs.

  • Data preparation: Before the users can analyze the data, it must be cleaned and prepared. In this process, removing duplicate data, correcting errors, and transforming the data all demand data manipulation skills with coding.

Ideally, users should be able to explore and visualize data without having to integrate or process it first. Or better if there is a way these non-tech users can quickly connect and easily fine-tune the data themselves, giving them deeper understanding before starting to create charts, and build reports. They would also be able to discover more in-depth insights for themselves, freeing up service providers (IT/ Engineers & Data team) to focus on more strategic and value-added activities. However, let's discuss this further at a later date.

Why should you care about Modern BI?

That's an excellent question! Does your company gather a significant amount of data? Do your reporting requests take days or even weeks to complete? Are your business decisions still being made based on guesswork? If your answer to these questions is yes, then it's time to seriously invest in Modern BI. 🤔💼📊💭💡🚀

As a business owner, it's understandable to feel overwhelmed by competition and the constant need for progress. However, taking a lot of actions doesn't necessarily equate to excellent actions based on data-backed thinking. To simplify your data and gain insights that will keep you ahead of the game, you need the right tools and processes.

Modern BI for business owners

Modern BI is no longer just an optional extra, it's a crucial element for any business that wants to thrive. With Modern BI, you can monitor, manage, and optimize your business processes seamlessly. Whether you're a retailer keeping up with the latest buying trends, a Consumer Goods Brand analyzing daily sales and user feedback from multiple sales channels in different geographies, or a Restaurant chain optimizing your promotions based on stock levels, Modern BI can help you achieve your goals. By viewing easy-to-understand dashboards and reports, you can gain a clear idea of your business performance and opportunities. With Modern BI, you can increase your revenue, reduce your costs, and improve customer satisfaction. So, why not take advantage of this powerful tool and take your business to the next level?

Modern BI for IT & Tech Leads

As a technical lead, it is crucial to support your business teams and deliver value with data. Modern Business Intelligence (BI) is a game-changer that can make your job easier. Imagine a world where all those time-consuming ad hoc requests vanish, allowing you to focus on your core job responsibility of product development. With your organization growing exponentially, modern BI is the way forward. Modern BI is not just a trend, it is a necessity for any business that wants to thrive in the digital age.

How to Get Started with Modern BI:

To embark on your modern BI journey, follow these steps:

  1. Define Business Goals: Identify your business goals and the key performance indicators (KPIs) you want to measure and improve.

  2. Assess Data Landscape: Evaluate your current data sources, address data quality issues, and implement data governance policies.

  3. Choose the Right BI Platform: Select a modern BI platform that aligns with your needs, offering self-service analytics, cloud-based deployment, and AI capabilities.

  4. Empower Your Team: Provide comprehensive training to your business users, encouraging them to explore and share insights collaboratively.


Modern BI is more than a buzzword; it's a transformative approach that can empower your business for success. By adopting modern BI, you can unleash the true potential of your data, making data-driven decisions faster, easier, and more impactful. If you want to enhance your business intelligence capabilities or witness modern BI in action, don't hesitate to contact us today.

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