What You Need to Know About Working in Business Intelligence

Over time, business operations are becoming increasingly more complex, giving less and less time for research and innovation. Larger enterprises are heavily focused on winning the competition, which ultimately requires them to gain access to a huge amount of meaningful insights. However, with more and more data being gathered by companies today on a daily basis, analyzing it in real-time has become more and more difficult. It’s at this point when businesses need to consider using technology that is designed to analyze data and predict market trends with a click of a button. And, this is where business intelligence comes into play. 

Business intelligence is made up of a number of ways, methodologies, and means that are used by various companies and organizations in order to analyze any data related to the business. Careers in business intelligence are becoming increasingly more sought-after and are used to get a clearer view of past, present, and future business operations. There are various activities involved in business intelligence technologies including business performance management, text mining, process mining, data mining, analytics, complex event processing, online analytical processing, reporting, prescriptive analytics, predictive analytics, and more. 

What Qualifications are Required?

Business intelligence analysts are required to hold at least a bachelor’s degree in a related subject. This could include statistics, business, management, economics, accounting, or IT. High-profile career options in business management may require the candidate to hold a more advanced degree such as a master’s degree in business administration (MBA) or similar. If you are looking to work up the career ladder in the business intelligence field, you can study for an MBA with a concentration in business intelligence to focus more on your chosen career pathway. Click here to learn more about the benefits of earning your MBA in business intelligence. 

Business Intelligence Career Options

There are various reasons to consider a career in business intelligence, including a high average rate of pay and lots of opportunities for career development. In order to be a suitable candidate for working in this field, a candidate must have a strong skill-set that includes an eagerness to learn and strong multitasking ability. It is an ideal choice of career for somebody who wants to do something exciting with their work and wants to work in a variety of roles rather than simply doing monotonous work. 

When it comes to the best salaries and future career prospects, the software and pharmaceutical industries are the best ones to go for. Business intelligence professionals are also required in a wide range of further industries including retail, manufacturing, healthcare, communications, education, financial services, and insurance to name a few. Some career options to consider if you are thinking of taking this route include:

Business Intelligence Project Manager:

A business intelligence manager reports all the data that relates to the business intelligence tools and solutions used by the company. The person in this role is responsible for coordinating with the various internal departments of the company and working towards building up a range of suitable business intelligence solutions. They are also responsible for identifying and working to improve any areas in business intelligence that could be better. 

Business Intelligence Analyst:

A business intelligence analyst studies and understands a range of factors including production systems, data warehouses, business processes, and departmental databases. Their knowledge is put to use in a wide variety of different ways within a company including coming up with and improving business intelligence projects, tools, and solutions ideas. 

Business Intelligence Manager:

The business intelligence manager is responsible for the design and implementation of business intelligence software and systems, including integrating databases and data warehouses. They are tasked with pursuing the testing of business intelligence tools and solutions to identify any room for improvement and frequently collaborate with developers. 

Business Intelligence Administrator:

A business intelligence administrator is tasked with analyzing, utilizing, and presenting the data. They spend their time working on the database management software and using business intelligence systems to get a clearer overview of factors such as economic shifts, competition, consumer behavior, and anything else that is likely to impact the business.

Business Intelligence Consultant:

The role of a business intelligence consultant is to utilize business intelligence solutions in order to come up with new business strategies. They are responsible for executing solutions in order to make information easier to handle. The business intelligence consultant role combines both technology and business management and is crucial to helping to improve an organization’s efficiency. 


The salary of a business intelligence professional can vary depending on the specific role. In general, professionals working in this field tend to earn an annual average of between $70,000-$90,000. A business intelligence analyst is typically paid an average annual wage of around $67,000. 

Career Outlook for Business Intelligence

Big data is getting bigger and bigger and as a result, the career opportunities in business intelligence are increasing on a day to day basis. Currently, there’s a skills shortage in data science and business intelligence and vacancies are getting filled up quickly with more to spare. Because of this, there has never been a better time than the present to get into business intelligence if you are looking for a lucrative, exciting career with several opportunities to consider and high job security. 

 Skills You Need for a Career in Business Intelligence

A business intelligence role requires a range of both hard skills and soft skills, which include:

Data Analysis:

The ability to understand and convert data into insights is crucial for any business intelligence role. To be skilled in this field, you will need to be able to think conceptually and use high-level models of data to come up with concept maps relating to the organization. Business intelligence professionals are required to have a solid understanding of the movement of data from operational source systems throughout the organization to the point where it is eventually used in decision-making. 

Business Acumen:

The ability to understand the business domain that is specific to their particular organization and industry is a key skill for any business intelligence professional. A business intelligence professional will require a solid knowledge of the industry that they work in along with the business model, strategy, and objectives for the organization. They must also become well-versed in the organization’s strategy and understand its competitors. A strong business acumen benefits business intelligence professionals, as they work with a top-down approach to translate the organization’s strategies and goals into key performance indicators (KPIs). 

Ability to See Both Finer Details and the Big Picture:

Being able to focus on the finer details while seeing the bigger picture at the same time is a unique skill that business intelligence professionals are required to possess. Often, business intelligence roles require you to work within the finest grains of data, and it’s important to be able to understand all the smaller details such as where the data is sourced, who uses it, who owns it and more. At the same time, it’s also important for business intelligence professionals to be able to apply this information to the bigger picture and consider factors such as the organization’s vision and missions and how they translate into the various strategies and objectives in order to translate them into actionable metrics, measures, and KPIs. 

Ability to Tolerate Ambiguity:

Business intelligence requirements and scope are not very often well-defined up-front, as they typically will only tend to emerge once any further information comes to light by analyzing data. Along with this, the quality and the structure of the data are not very often known upfront, meaning that a business intelligence professional needs to be equipped with soft skills that allow them to confidently manage even when things are uncertain. They’ll need to create a sense of stability and structure even when this is not readily available from the data at the time. 

Tech Skills:

When seeking business intelligence professionals, the majority of employers will look for candidates that are highly skilled in a range of business intelligence-specific analytics programs and software. Higher than average skills in Microsoft Office applications are often required, particularly advanced Microsoft Excel skills that are often used for the analysis and pivoting of data. In addition, most employers require business intelligence professionals to be proficient in a query language such as Microsoft SQL. Being capable of seeing and analyzing data is important, due to the hands-on, data-focused nature of these roles. Many employers also require business intelligence professionals to be proficient in using a range of popular data analysis software applications. 

Business intelligence and its application within businesses in various industries and of all sizes are rapidly rising. With this has come the rapid growth of increasing opportunities for professionals looking to work in the business intelligence field. Business intelligence can be applied in business in a wide variety of different ways, helping to improve business prospects, make better decisions and predictions, and improve the efficiency of any organization. With this in mind, it’s easy to see why business intelligence is one of the hottest fields for anybody interested in big data to get into.

Anzhela Sychyk

Anzhela is a seasoned business journalist with a keen eye for spotting industry trends and a knack for explaining complex financial concepts in a clear and accessible way. With over 15 years of experience covering the world of finance and economics, Anzhela has established herself as a respected authority on all things business.