What is Business Intelligence?

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business intelligenceBusiness Intelligence (BI) includes the technologies and tools used to analyze and report on different business operations. Business Intelligence uses raw data stored in varying data warehouses, data marts, data lakes, and other storage platforms, and transforms it into actionable knowledge/information assets. Such elements include dashboards, spreadsheets, data visualizations, reports, and many others. According to DATAVERSITY’s 2015 Business Intelligence vs. Data Science Report:

“In its more comprehensive usage, BI is all of the systems, platforms, software, technology, and techniques that are essential for the collection, storage, retrieval, and analysis of data assets within a given organization. Therefore, BI is the procedures and processes used for strategic planning, decision making, market research, customer support, inventory analysis, statistical reporting, and many other aspects of an enterprise’s overall operational insight mechanisms.”

According to theData Management Body of Knowledge (DMBOK), Business Intelligence:

“[Has] two meanings…First it refers to a type of data analysis aimed at understanding organizational activities and opportunities. Results of such analysis are used to improve organizational success…Secondly, Business Intelligence refers to a set of technologies that support this kind of data analysis…BI tools enable querying, data mining, statistical analysis, reporting, scenario modeling, data visualization and dashboarding.”

 Other Definitions of Business Intelligence Include:

  • “An umbrella term that includes the applications, infrastructure…tools and best practices that enable access to and analysis of information to improve and optimize.” (Gartner IT Glossary)
  • “BI focuses on… a way to make decisions quickly and efficiently based on the right information at the right time.” (Keith D. Foote)
  • “Leverages software and services to transform data into actionable intelligence that informs and organization’s strategic and tactical business decisions.” (Mary Pratt, CIO)
  • An “umbrella term that encompasses a range of activities around data collection, processing and analysis for businesses.” (Mikal Khoso, Northeastern University)
  • “A set of methodologies, processes, architectures, and technologies that leverage the output of information management processes for analysis, reporting, performance management, and information delivery.” (Forrester)

Organizations Use Business Intelligence to:

Photo Credit: Zuraihan Md Zain/Shutterstock.com

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