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What is a Business Intelligence Manager and How to Become One

By Ibrahim Okunade

Published:

Data and analytics have taken center stage in recent times, and businesses need dedicated professionals to piece the data together for actionable insights. Thus, the role of a Business Intelligence Manager has never been more crucial as they bridge the daunting divide between raw data and meaningful insights. This article outlines a clear path for aspiring professionals to step into this dynamic and highly rewarding role.

Career Summary

Business Intelligence Manager Salary

Business Intelligence Manager Salary

The average Business Intelligence Manager salary varies from one organization to another.

Nonetheless, data from Glassdoor presents the salary breakdown thus:

  • Entry Salary: US$141K
  • Median Salary: US$169K
  • Senior Salary: US$205K

Compared to the national average salary in the United States, which is $59,428 according to Forbes, Business Intelligence Managers earn considerably more.

What is a Business Intelligence Manager?

A Business Intelligence Manager is a professional who oversees data collection, analysis, and interpretation to make informed business decisions. BI Managers typically use various tools and technologies to transform data into actionable insights, aiming to improve an organization’s efficiency and overall strategic direction.

Business Intelligence Manager Job Description

While a Business Intelligence Manager job description may vary slightly based on the specific needs of the organization, the role typically entails leading the development and implementation of strategies to analyze data, aiming to optimize business decisions and performance. This role involves managing a team to gather, interpret, and present data insights using advanced analytics and visualization tools. It requires strong analytical skills, technical proficiency, and the ability to communicate complex information effectively to stakeholders.

Business Intelligence Manager Career Progression

  • Business Intelligence Analyst: Entry-level position focusing on data analysis, reporting, and dashboard development.
  • Senior Business Intelligence Analyst: Experienced role with a deeper understanding of data analysis techniques, advanced reporting, and familiarity with BI tools.
  • Business Intelligence Manager: Responsible for overseeing BI projects, managing BI teams, collaborating with stakeholders, and aligning BI initiatives with business goals.
  • Senior Business Intelligence Manager: Senior leadership role with broader strategic responsibilities, including setting BI strategy, driving innovation, and guiding organizational change through data-driven insights.
  • Chief Analytics Officer: Executive-level position responsible for the overall direction and management of the organization’s BI and analytics function.
Business Intelligence Manager Career Progression

Best Aspects of Working as a Business Intelligence Manager 

  • Attractive compensation packages that reflect the high value of BI skills in the market.
  • Opportunity to lead a team of analysts and developers, fostering growth and innovation.
  • Strong demand for BI professionals across industries ensures job stability.
  • Opportunity to work in diverse sectors.
  • Direct interaction with top executives, influencing key business decisions.

Worst Aspects of Working as a Business Intelligence Manager 

  • Balancing diverse expectations from various departments and senior management.
  • Overcoming organizational resistance to insights or changes suggested by BI findings.
  • There is a need to continuously adapt to evolving BI technologies and methodologies.
  • Project deadlines and critical data analysis can lead to extended working hours.

Useful Skills to Have as a Business Intelligence Manager 

  • Data Analysis and Interpretation
  • Proficiency in BI tools (e.g., Tableau, Power BI)
  • Strong SQL Querying Skills
  • Data Visualization Expertise
  • Project Management Abilities
  • Strategic Thinking and Decision-Making
  • Leadership and Team Management Skills
  • Excellent Communication and Presentation Skills

Popular Business Intelligence Management Specialties

  • Data Visualization and Dashboard Design
  • Advanced Analytics and Predictive Modeling
  • Business Process Optimization and Performance Management
  • Customer Analytics and Segmentation
  • Financial and Operational Reporting
  • Supply Chain Analytics and Inventory Optimization
  • Marketing and Sales Analytics

How to Become a Business Intelligence Manager 

Business Intelligence Manager 5 Steps to Career

Education

Before you can think of getting any BI Manager job, you need a solid educational background. In the sections that follow, we discuss the educational aspect of the journey to a BI Manager role.

Do I Need a Degree to Become a Business Intelligence Manager?

Yes, you need at least a bachelor’s degree in fields like Computer Science, Marketing, or Business Management to become a Business Intelligence Manager. The path to becoming a BI Manager can vary, and while practical experience, skills, and industry certifications can significantly contribute to your qualifications, having a degree can provide a foundational understanding and a competitive edge in the job market.

Why is it Important to Get a Degree in Computer Science or a Related Field?

  • Solid Foundation: A degree in fields such as Computer Science, Business Administration, Information Systems, or a related field can give you a strong foundation in the principles of business intelligence, data analysis, and management.
  • Skill Development: Degree programs are usually well-structured and often cover critical areas such as data warehousing, analytics, project management, and decision-making processes, which are essential skills for a BI Manager.
  • Credibility: Having a degree can enhance your credibility and demonstrate your commitment and capability in the field to potential employers.
  • Networking Opportunities: Beyond the theories, skills, and concepts you learn in class, university programs provide opportunities to connect with like-minded professionals, instructors, and peers who can be valuable resources throughout your career.
  • Career Advancement: While you can enter the BI field without a degree, advancing to a managerial position often requires a combination of education, experience, and demonstrated leadership abilities.

How Long Does it Take to Get a Degree in Computer Science?

Getting your Computer Science degree could take between two to six years. The exact duration depends on several key factors, including whether you pursue a full-time or part-time schedule, the specific requirements of the degree program you choose, and whether you’re enrolled in an undergraduate (Bachelor’s) or a graduate (Master’s or Doctoral) program. Undergraduate programs typically take four years to complete when attending full-time, while Master’s programs can take anywhere from one to three years, depending on the pace of study and the nature of the program. 

Doctoral programs are more variable, often taking between three to six years, as they involve comprehensive coursework, examinations, and original research culminating in a dissertation. Additionally, accelerated programs and those offering year-round classes can shorten the time to graduation, while students who need to balance their studies with work or other commitments may take longer to complete their degrees. 

How Much Does it Cost to Get a Degree in Computer Science?

Depending on the degree level you’re pursuing and factors like state residency, you can expect to spend between $9,934 and $32,635 to bag a Computer Science degree. Studying in-state could save you a significant amount of money, as tuition fees for in-state students are generally much lower than for out-of-state students.

For example, public universities in the United States often offer lower tuition rates for residents of the state where the university is located. This difference can be substantial, making it an important consideration for students who are looking to minimize their educational expenses.

Can I Become a Business Intelligence Manager Through Online Education?

Yes, you can certainly become a Business Intelligence Manager through online education. Online platforms provide comprehensive courses and degree programs in data analysis, business management, and specialized business intelligence (BI) and data analytics subjects.

To effectively prepare for a role as a Business Intelligence Manager, it’s crucial to engage in practical, project-based learning opportunities available through these online courses. Hands-on experience with BI tools, coupled with internships or part-time roles, can significantly enhance your understanding and application of business intelligence concepts. 

What are Some Web Resources to Learn Skills to Become a Business Intelligence Manager?

The Internet is a repository of invaluable resources and tools for learning. Aspiring Business Intelligence Managers can take maximum advantage of these resources.

Here are some of the top web resources to aid your BI Manager journey:

  • Tableau Public: Tableau Public is a free tool for aspiring Business Intelligence Managers, offering hands-on experience in creating interactive data visualizations. It helps build a professional portfolio and learn from a community of data enthusiasts, making it a useful resource for developing data visualization skills.
  • Towards Data Science on Medium: Towards Data Science is one of the largest data science publications on Medium, featuring articles and tutorials written by data scientists and analysts covering a wide range of topics.
  • Harvard Business Review: Harvard Business Review publishes articles and case studies on business intelligence, data analytics, and management best practices.
  • Data Science Central: Data Science Central is an online resource for professionals involved in data science. It offers articles, tutorials, webinars, and discussions on various topics related to data science and business intelligence.
  • Data Visualization Society: The Data Visualization Society provides resources, webinars, and discussions focused on data visualization best practices, which are crucial for effective communication and decision-making in business intelligence. The platform also offers a mentorship program that connects data enthusiasts from different fields.

Relevant Certifications for Business Intelligence Managers

As a management-level role, business intelligence managers need to stay abreast of the latest technologies, methodologies, and best practices within the field of BI to effectively lead their teams and drive strategic business decisions. Certifications play a crucial role in this continuous learning process, serving as a benchmark of professional excellence and expertise.

Here are some certifications you should consider as a BI Manager:

  • SAP Certified Application Associate – SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence Platform 4.2: A certification that validates that you possess the skills and expertise necessary to design for, install, and operate SAP’s business intelligence platform.
  • Certified Analytics Professional (CAP): While not solely focused on BI, the CAP certification covers the end-to-end process of analytics and is suitable for managers overseeing analytics projects, including business intelligence initiatives.
  • Tableau Certified Architect: The Tableau Certified Architect certification is designed for individuals who are responsible for managing the Tableau Server infrastructure. It validates expertise in designing, deploying, monitoring, and maintaining a scalable Tableau platform, including migrations to Tableau Cloud.
  • Certified Business Intelligence Professional (CBIP): Offered by TDWI (Transforming Data With Intelligence), the CBIP certification is designed for senior-level personnel in the information systems and technology industry with a focus on data management and analytics. It validates that you are up-to-date with BI technologies and are proficient at driving business value through data analysis.

Practical Experience

A BI Manager has a lot of expectations resting on their shoulders. Their decisions could significantly impact the organization’s strategic direction, operational efficiency, and overall competitiveness in the market. In this role, practical experience is not just beneficial—it’s critical. Real-world experience enables BI Managers to understand the nuances of data, from collection and analysis to the interpretation and application of insights in a business context.

What Are Internship Opportunities for a Business Intelligence Manager?

Internships are one of the first ways for aspiring BI Managers to hone their skill and learn on the job.

Here are the top internship opportunities for Business Intelligence Managers:

  • Business Intelligence Intern: Some companies offer internships specifically focused on business intelligence. As a BI intern, you might assist with data analysis, report generation, dashboard development, and data visualization tasks. This role can provide valuable hands-on experience with BI tools and techniques.
  • Data Analyst Intern: Data analysis is a fundamental aspect of business intelligence. Interning as a data analyst can provide exposure to data manipulation, querying databases, interpreting results, and generating insights from data sets. This role can help interns develop analytical skills crucial for BI management.
  • Data Science Intern: Data science internships often involve working with large data sets, applying statistical analysis techniques, and building predictive models. Interns may work on projects related to data mining, machine learning, and data-driven decision-making, which are relevant to BI management roles.
  • Business Analytics Intern: Business analytics internships focus on using data to drive business decisions and improve organizational performance. Interns may assist with data modeling, trend analysis, forecasting, and performance measurement tasks, gaining exposure to key concepts in BI management.
  • IT or Business Systems Intern: Interning in IT or business systems departments can provide valuable insights into the technical infrastructure supporting business intelligence initiatives. Interns may work on projects related to database management, data integration, system architecture, and software implementation, which are integral to BI management.
  • Project Management Intern: Project management internships offer opportunities to develop leadership, communication, and organizational skills essential for BI management roles. Interns may assist with project planning, stakeholder management, resource allocation, and performance tracking in the context of BI projects.

What Skills Will I Learn as a Business Intelligence Manager?

The BI Manager role requires you to have a solid understanding of data, an analytical mind, and the ability to extract meaningful insights from complex datasets. This position demands proficiency in data analysis tools and techniques, as well as a keen eye for detail to ensure data accuracy and integrity.

Here are the top skills you will learn: 

  • Analytical Skills: Ability to analyze large datasets to discover trends, patterns, and insights that are not immediately apparent.
  • Data Warehousing: Understanding how to store data efficiently, including knowledge of data warehouse architectures, ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) processes, and data modeling.
  • Data Quality Management: Ensuring the accuracy, completeness, and reliability of the data used in analysis.
  • Database Management: Proficiency in SQL and knowledge of NoSQL databases to query and manipulate data.
  • Business Intelligence Tools: Mastery of BI tools and platforms such as Power BI, Tableau, or Qlik for data visualization and reporting.
  • Programming Skills: Knowledge of programming languages like Python or R for data analysis and automation.
  • Strategic Planning: Ability to use data insights to inform strategic business decisions, understand business objectives, and align BI strategies with these goals.
  • Leadership and Communication: Effective leadership and communication skills are vital for BI Managers to inspire and motivate cross-functional teams, collaborate with stakeholders, articulate insights, and drive organizational change through data-driven decision-making.
  • Agile Methodologies: Familiarity with Agile project management methods can be beneficial for managing BI projects with flexibility and efficiency.
  • Business Acumen: BI Managers need a deep understanding of business processes, industry dynamics, market trends, and organizational goals to align BI initiatives with strategic objectives and deliver value to the business.

What is the Work-life Balance of Business Intelligence Managers?

The work-life balance of Business Intelligence (BI) Managers can vary based on the company, industry, and project deadlines. Generally, BI Managers often face periods of high demand where longer hours are required, especially during project implementations or critical reporting cycles. 

However, many organizations recognize the importance of work-life balance and may offer flexible working arrangements, such as remote work options and flexible hours, to help manage these demands. Overall, while the role can be demanding, with proper time management and organizational support, BI Managers can achieve a reasonable work-life balance.

What’s the Career Outlook for Business Intelligence Managers?

The career outlook for Business Intelligence Managers is largely positive. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of management analysts, which includes Business Intelligence Managers, is projected to grow 10 percent from 2022 to 2032. The growth rate is much faster than the average for all occupations in the United States.

Business Intelligence Manager Popular Career Specialties

What are the Job Opportunities for a Business Intelligence Manager?

For Business Intelligence (BI) Managers, the job market offers a variety of roles across different sectors.

Some specific job titles they might explore include:

  • Business Intelligence Analyst: A role where you analyze data to produce actionable insights for business improvements.
  • Data Analytics Manager: Oversees analytics teams, focusing on data analysis and interpretation to guide business decisions.
  • BI Developer: Specializes in developing and maintaining BI interfaces, such as dashboards and reports, using data analytics tools.
  • BI Consultant: Provides expert advice to businesses on how to improve their BI strategies and implement BI solutions effectively.
  • BI Project Manager: Manages BI projects, ensuring they meet business requirements, deadlines, and budgets.
  • BI Solutions Architect: Designs comprehensive BI solutions to meet business needs, integrating various data sources and analytics tools.
  • Data Governance Manager: Focuses on establishing and ensuring adherence to an organization’s data standards, policies, and procedures.
  • Customer Intelligence Manager: Specializes in analyzing customer data to drive sales strategies, improve customer experiences, and increase loyalty.

What Type of Organizations Hire Business Intelligence Managers?

As a BI Manager, you are spoilt for options in terms of the organizations that need your expertise.

Organizations that hire BI Managers include:

  • Technology and Telecommunication Companies: Firms developing software, hardware, and internet services, where data is central to product development and market strategy.  Telco companies use BI for network optimization, customer retention strategies, and market analysis.
  • Financial Services: Banks, investment firms, and insurance companies use BI to analyze market trends, manage risk, and enhance customer service.
  • Retail and E-Commerce: These businesses use BI to optimize inventory, understand customer behavior, and tailor marketing strategies.
  • Manufacturing: Manufacturing companies need BI Managers to streamline operations, reduce waste, and improve supply chain efficiency.
  • Government and Public Sector: For policy analysis, resource allocation, and public service 
  • improvement.
  • Consulting Firms: BI Managers work in consulting firms to offer BI services across industries, help clients implement BI solutions, and improve their data-driven decision-making.
  • Media and Entertainment: BI Managers are needed to analyze consumer preferences, advertising effectiveness, and digital content distribution.

Should I Become a Business Intelligence Manager?

Becoming a BI Manager is a good career choice considering that the career outlook is positive, and a Business Intelligence Manager salary is higher than the national average salary. Apart from these, the role of a Business Intelligence Manager opens up opportunities for professional growth and development in an increasingly data-driven world. With the ability to analyze complex data and translate it into actionable insights, BI Managers play a crucial role in shaping strategic decisions and driving business success. 

However, it’s essential to weigh the responsibilities and challenges of the role against your personal interests, skills, and long-term career objectives. Pursuing a career as a Business Intelligence Manager is not just about tapping into a lucrative job market; it’s about finding alignment with your professional values, leveraging your strengths, and contributing meaningfully to an organization. As you consider this path, reflect on the key points discussed and evaluate how this career aligns with your vision for your future. The article has shown you the path; the ball is now in your court to act upon it. 

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Ibrahim Okunade

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