Analytics play a crucial role in empowering business leaders to make strategic, data-driven decisions. They help businesses avoid potential pitfalls, and stay ahead of the competition. Today's business intelligence (BI) and analytics platforms are much more than mere reporting tools. They have a wide range of features and capabilities to offer. If you're a business owner looking to invest in one of these platforms, it is important to know some basic analytics systems terminologies to bring context to your research, and ensure you choose the right product for your business. 

Here are the basic analytics terms you should know:

Big data 

Every time you open and interact with an app or run an internet search, your actions generate data in various forms, including images, text, URLs, videos, and more. Similarly, data is being gathered across the world from a variety of internet-enabled sources (mobile phones, electronic devices, social networks, GPS devices, server log files, and more). This massive amount of data produced—often referred to as "big data"— is impossible for traditional data management systems to handle. Only advanced big data solutions can efficiently process and analyse big data, so your business can derive insights and make smarter decisions.

Business Intelligence 

Business intelligence (BI) denotes tools and processes that analyse large volumes of raw data sets and provide actionable insights. Many BI vendors offer software with built-in AI-powered forecasting and reporting capabilities to help organisations discover hidden insights and patterns, and make strategic, data-driven decisions. 

Check out our blog to learn more about how business intelligence software can help your organisation.


A dashboard is a user interface that summarises all the metrics or key performance indicators (KPIs) you want to track. It shows you the big picture at a glance. Most BI tools now offer intuitive drag-and-drop tools so users can personalise their dashboards according to their preferences.

Data sourcing 

BI solutions allow users to import data for analysis by integrating and gathering information from various internal and external sources. This process is called data sourcing. Sources can include in-house or public cloud databases (like Amazon RDS and Microsoft SQL Azure), online storage services, flat files, feeds, web URLs, surveys, and more. As a business owner, you may also have a lot of valuable information stored in your CRM, accounting systems, help desk and other business applications. To make the most of it, it's critical to choose a BI platform that can source and analyse information from multiple applications and verified data sources.

Data storytelling 

Data storytelling is the ability to present information through captivating narratives and visualisations. This function can be a key differentiator that makes data easy to comprehend and act upon. In recent years, people have become more selective of how they engage with and consume information. In response, BI suppliers are concentrating on giving users a more immersive experience, rather than throwing a bunch of numbers at them. The below infographic from Budget 2022-2023 is a good example to mention here. To image givers viewers a visual breakdown of the Commonwealth water infrastructure investments planned for the year, highlighting the geographic location where the money would be invested.