Business Intelligence (BI) refers to the tools, technologies, applications, and practices used to collect, integrate, analyze, and present an organization’s raw data in order to create insightful and actionable business information.BI as a discipline and as a technology-driven process is made up of several related activities, including: Data mining, Online analytical processing, Querying and Reporting.
Business Intelligence software systems provide historical, current, and predictive views of business operations, most often using data that has been gathered into a data warehouse or a data mart and occasionally working from operational data. Software elements support reporting, interactive “slice-and-dice” pivot-table analyses, visualization, and statistical data mining. Applications tackle sales, production, financial, and many other sources of business data for purposes that include business performance management. Information is often gathered about other companies in the same industry which is known as benchmarking.
Business intelligence tools are essentially data-driven Decision Support Systems (DSS). BI is sometimes used interchangeably with briefing books, report and query tools, and executive information systems. With these tools, business people can start analyzing the data themselves, rather than wait for IT to run complex reports. This information access helps users back up business decisions with hard numbers, rather than only gut feelings and anecdotes.
The potential benefits of business intelligence programs include: accelerating and improving decision making, optimizing internal business processes, increasing operational efficiency, driving new revenues, gaining competitive advantages over business rivals. Identifying market trends, spotting business problems that need to be addressed.
Remember, BI is about more than decision support. Due to improvements in the technology and the way CIOs are implementing it, BI now has the potential to transform organizations. CIOs who successfully use BI to improve business processes contribute to their organizations in more far-reaching ways than by implementing basic reporting tools.