9 great books about business intelligence (BI)

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 real-life examples of business intelligence in action, we've got an article for that.

What is business intelligence?

 BI refers to an infrastructure that contains an assortment of processes and tools, all with the goal of providing businesses with complete and actionable data to aid in their decision making processes. Some of the things included in BI are: data visualization, data infrastructure and tools, business analytics, preparation, benchmarking, statistical analysis, and more. 

Learn more about business intelligence

1. “Business Intelligence Guidebook: From Data Integration to Analytics”

Author: Rick Sherman 

Website: Amazon 

“Business Intelligence Guidebook” goes over in detail an entire spectrum of Business Intelligence topics. Sherman notes a disconnect from BI concepts to 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 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.

2. “Big Data in Practice: How 45 Successful Companies Used Big Data Analytics to Deliver Extraordinary Results”

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 recognize 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.

3. “Business Intelligence Roadmap: The Complete Project Lifecycle for Decision-Support Applications” 

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.

4. “Business Intelligence For Dummies” 

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 analyze trends and apply BI on their own.

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5. “Hyper: Changing the way you think about, plan, and execute business intelligence for real results, real fast!” 

Author: Gregory P. Steffine 

Website: Site | Amazon 

“Hyper” is a little different from the rest of the books, in that it doesn’t focus so much on the technical part of getting into Business Intelligence, but 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.

6. “Learning Tableau 10 - Second Edition: Business Intelligence and data visualization that brings your business into focus” 

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 visualization. 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 visualizations and present data in Tableau, so that 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 analyze trends using different models.

7. “Business Intelligence: The Savvy Manager's Guide”

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.

8. “Business Intelligence in Plain Language: A practical guide to Data Mining and Business Analytics”

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 utilizing BI and how the process works in plain terms that anyone can understand.

9. “Successful Business Intelligence: Unlock the Value of BI & Big Data”

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 organizations. Howson covers everything your business will need for getting into BI, from how to customize 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.

Continue your BI education

All the books above are a great place to start learning about BI and how it can help your business. If you want further reading resources, check out our list of the best BI blogs out there to follow and stay up to date with information. And if you want to learn more about Tableau’s BI software, check out our products page to learn how to get started. 

Disclaimer: Tableau does not officially endorse nor profit from any products, or opinions therein, listed in this article, and as such this page does not engage with any affiliate link programs. This article is intended purely for educational purposes and the above information about products and publications is made available so that readers can make informed decisions for themselves.