Business Intelligence

Business Intelligence (BI) is defined as the ability for an organization to take all its capabilities and convert them into knowledge. This produces large amounts of information which can lead to the development of new opportunities for the organization. When these opportunities have been identified and a strategy has been effectively implemented, they can provide an organization with a competitive advantage in the market, and stability in the long run (within its industry).

BI technologies provide historical, current and predictive views of business operations. Common functions of business intelligence technologies are reporting, online analytic processing, analytics, data mining, process mining, complex event processing, business performance management, bench-marking, text mining, predictive analytic's and prescriptive analytic s.

Business intelligence aims to support better business decision-making. Thus a BI system can be called a decision support system (DSS). Though the term business intelligence is sometimes used as a synonym for competitive intelligence, because they both support decision making, BI uses technologies, processes, and applications to analyze mostly internal, structured data and business processes while competitive intelligence gathers, analyzes and disseminates information with a topical focus on company competitors. Business intelligence understood broadly can include the subset of competitive intelligence.

Often BI applications use data gathered from a data warehouse or a data mart. However, not all data warehouses are used for business intelligence, nor do all business intelligence applications require a data warehouse.

In order to distinguish between concepts of business intelligence and data warehouses, Forester Research often defines business intelligence in one of two ways:

Using a broad definition: "Business Intelligence is a set of methodologies, processes, architectures, and technologies that transform raw data into meaningful and useful information used to enable more effective strategic, tactical, and operational insights and decision-making." When using this definition, business intelligence also includes technologies such as data integration, data quality, data warehousing, master data management, text and content analytic's, and many others that the market sometimes lumps into the Information Management segment. Therefore, Forester refers to data preparation and data usage as two separate, but closely linked segments of the business intelligence architectural stack!