Business intelligence (BI) encompasses the activities, applications, tools, and strategies a company undertakes to analyze information for running its business. Often software-driven, business intelligence solutions turn raw data into useful information that helps businesses make decisions and improve performance.
The technologies that drive business intelligence employ data mining, text mining, and process mining; event processing and online analytics processing; reporting and benchmarking; predictive analytics and prescriptive analytics as well as business performance management (BPM) to develop reports and strategies. BI takes a global view: looking at history, the current landscape, and future possibilities, it can help companies interpret big data, identify new opportunities, and implement strategies.
BI is big business. While many business executives employ business intelligence solutions to gain insight and find opportunities, the majority of BI implementations don’t succeed, often due to the sheer size and weight of BI applications. Extracting real value from BI data requires more than simple reporting and presenting data, and business leaders often struggle to analyze it, place it context, and convert it into actionable insights.
What is business intelligence in the real world? What does it look like? BI applications include cloud platforms, dashboards, and company portals. A large multi-chain retail store might use BI solutions to aggregate and analyze transaction records in order to identify ways to control costs, and consolidate resources and processes such as ordering and fulfillment. It might use predictive analysis to foresee returns and customer queries as well as to plan deliveries and monitoring their progress.