9 great books about business intelligence

Business intelligence (BI) is rapidly becoming more accessible and important for interpreting big data. With the right tools, anyone can use BI to learn more about their business and what will help them succeed. These books cover an array of expertise for every reader: from beginners who only know the term “business intelligence” and want to learn more, to business managers who want to make their BI analysis more effective.

And if you want some real-life examples of business intelligence in action, we've got an article for that.

1. “Successful Business Intelligence: Unlock the Value of BI & Big Data” by Cindi Howson

Author: Cindi Howson
Website: Amazon

Author Cindi Howson, an experienced business intelligence analyst, details how to successfully integrate BI in business in this book. Rather than simply discussing the theories behind BI, she dives into the best strategies used by successful organisations.

Howson covers everything your business will need for getting into BI, from how to customise BI strategy to business goals, to choosing the right applications and getting the right training. She notes the need for quality data and that there’s no single way to measure success. The proven examples and walkthroughs are enough to get anyone started.

2. “Business Intelligence Guidebook: From Data Integration to Analytics” by Rick Sherman

Author: Rick Sherman
Website: Amazon

“Business Intelligence Guidebook” goes over the entire system of business intelligence in detail. Sherman notes a disconnect between BI concepts and actual integration, and provides clear explanations of the architectural design and processes within BI.

Sherman details the project development lifecycle for BI that can be applied to any size of business. He explains the guidelines for building BI with best practices and practical solutions to aid readers in getting started. Included is a companion website for further references, templates and examples. Sherman’s guidebook helps readers work their way through data integration and analytics to make BI work for them.

3. “Big Data in Practice: How 45 Successful Companies Used Big Data Analytics to Deliver Extraordinary Results” by Bernard Marr

Author: Bernard Marr
Website: Site | Amazon

This book dives into big data and analytics to show business intelligence in action through real-world examples. Author Bernard Marr covers the big names we all recognise and discusses how they use BI to create success. He explains what data they use, the issues they’re trying to solve and how they accomplish that, as well as any challenges they face. Big data is changing many industries and these companies set examples on how to successfully harness data with business intelligence to get results.

4. “Business Intelligence Roadmap: The Complete Project Lifecycle for Decision-Support Applications” by Larissa T. Moss and Shaku Atr

Authors: Larissa T. Moss and Shaku Atr
Website: Amazon

“Business Intelligence Roadmap” is a guide to help readers get started implementing a BI project. The book walks readers through every step of the way to getting a BI application in place. There are two parts: part one goes through the six stages of a BI project, from concept to deployment, while part two features references and tools for the development process. At each stage of the process, it lists clear steps to take and the roles and responsibilities involved in each step. At the end, the authors list their tips for the BI process, as well as dos, don’ts and rules of thumb that have clearly come from experience.

5. “Business Intelligence For Dummies” by Swain Scheps

Author: Swain Scheps
Website: Amazon

“Business Intelligence For Dummies” is an introduction to BI for anyone with no prior experience. It introduces the basic concepts and vocabulary to get readers started. The book then walks readers through figuring out their business needs, developing a strategy and putting BI into place. It not only covers the technical process for implementing BI, but it also gives readers the tools and skills to analyse trends and apply BI on their own.

6. “Hyper: Changing the way you think about, plan and execute business intelligence for real results, real fast!” by Gregory P. Steffine

Author: Gregory P. Steffine
Website: Site | Amazon

“Hyper” is a little different from the rest of these books in that it doesn’t focus so much on the technical part of getting into business intelligence. Rather, it looks at the broader view with a practical approach. In this book, Steffine discusses the challenges with BI and how to be more effective with it.

He presents major challenges in the BI process and how to overcome them, as well as proven methods to assist planning. The book is also littered with practical advice and tips for analytical projects.

7. “Learning Tableau 10 - Second Edition: Business Intelligence and data visualization that brings your business into focus” by Joshua N. Milligan

Author: Joshua N. Milligan
Website: Site | Amazon

A lot of business intelligence is finding the answers to questions and making better decisions, and part of that is achieved through data visualisation. Displaying data through storytelling helps bring the pertinent information to the forefront to show the answers to business questions.

In this book, author Joshua Milligan talks about how to create stunning visualisations and present data in Tableau, so you can spend more time acting on the data than putting it together. The book teaches readers how to present data effectively, as well as how to dig deeper into data and analyse trends using different models.

8. “Business Intelligence: The Savvy Manager's Guide” by David Loshin

Author: David Loshin
Website: Amazon

As part of “The Savvy Manager's Guide” series, this book on business intelligence is a good way for business managers to get started in BI. The book introduces the core concepts of BI along with the technical jargon and terms that accompany it. Loshin guides managers through the process of developing BI and how it aids success. Old and new technologies are introduced, both as a way to present BI’s background and also how the technology is evolving to accommodate digital data needs. The book also features a quick reference guide with a list of terms and technology, as well as companion websites for more information.

9. “Business Intelligence in Plain Language: A practical guide to Data Mining and Business Analytics” by Jeremy Kolb

Author: Jeremy Kolb
Website: Amazon

This book is a good primer for getting introduced to the concepts of business intelligence and why it’s useful for every business. Author Jeremy Kolb discusses what BI can do for businesses and why it has become the buzzword it is. He explains the benefits of utilising BI and how the process works in plain terms that anyone can understand.