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What is a Business Intelligence Consultant?

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  • Written By: D. Jeffress
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 16 November 2016
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A business intelligence consultant helps companies adopt and learn new strategies for organizing computer data. He or she sets up new software and improves existing systems to make it easier to manage information. Consultants combine their knowledge of technology and business management to improve efficiency, boost profits, and reduce operating costs. Most professionals work for private consulting firms, but some experts are self-employed freelance contractors.

In order to compete in the modern business world, companies need to utilize up-to-date, efficient information technology systems. A business intelligence consultant can help company owners identify the shortcomings of their current systems and suggest ways to improve them. When first meeting with a new client, a consultant usually spends time working through existing software programs and pointing out problems. He or she explains how information gaps, lagging computers, and outdated technology are affecting the business at a fundamental level. Once all problems have been identified, the consultant can set up a demo to show the client how new hardware and software makes data easier to manage.

By implementing a new system, a business intelligence consultant can help improve a company's ability to make smart decisions. He or she may improve such areas as the accessibility of sales records, employee profiles, accounting programs, and customer information. In addition, the consultant sets up programs that make it easier to understand past and current figures and predict future successes.

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A consultant may also spend time at a company after systems have been set up to provide employee training. He or she can provide helpful hints on how to quickly access important data and use programs to produce meaningful graphs, charts, and documents. Many consultants revisit clients periodically over months or years to make sure they are satisfied with their new business intelligence systems.

There are no strict requirements to become this type of consultant, but most firms prefer to hire individuals who hold college degrees in a related specialty. A degree in computer science, information technology, or business administration can be very helpful in finding a job as an entry-level consultant. In addition, previous work experience in a business setting is highly valued by most employers.

An experienced business intelligence consultant usually has many opportunities for advancement. Some workers become supervisors or lead consultants within their firms where they perform more administrative duties and fewer hands-on projects. Supervisors set up appointments, meet with potential clients, and explain the benefits of bringing in consultants. A worker who has several years of professional experience may even be able to start his or her own business.

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anon342375
Post 4

The systems a BI consultant deals with are primarily data. Operating systems and applications are usually out of scope. Relevant education is statistics, economics, and business analysis.

JessicaLynn
Post 3

I've never seen a business intelligence resume, but I would assume it would probably help to have some experience in the field. How are you supposed to help companies with their computer systems and tell them how to improve if you've never actually work with those computer systems?

I'm sure there may be a few entry level business intelligence consultants out there, but I think it's a lot more likely that people work with computers in a business setting for awhile and then start working as a consultant.

indemnifyme
Post 2
@strawCake - I know exactly what you mean about outdated computer systems. One insurance company I worked for had a DOS based system that was so complicated even the people with a lot of experience had trouble using it. I think we definitely lost out on some business because of this.

Anyway, I think if you're going to be a business intelligence consultant, freelancing would probably be a better option. I have a few friends who freelance in other industries, and they generally make more than they would as employees. So I'm going to assume that a business intelligence consultant salary for a freelancer is probably more than an employee too.

strawCake
Post 1

It sounds like every business should make some business intelligence consultant jobs available. From working in an office, I know first hand how much the computer system can affect your ability to do your job. If your computer system is out-dated or doesn't work well, you work much slower, which costs the company money in the long run.

I imagine it would be well worth the money to hire a consultant to come in and take a look at your systems. You never know where you might be missing something that a professional would notice and be able to improve.

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