Business Intelligence

Business Intelligence (BI) refers to computer-based techniques used in spotting, digging-out, analyzing and presenting the right business data to right people at right time for making business decisions. In single line, BI makes possible to convert ËœDataâ„¢ into ËœInformationâ„¢.

BI technologies provide historical, current, and predictive views of business operations. Common functions of Business Intelligence technologies are reporting, online analytical processing, analytics, data mining, business performance management, benchmarking, text mining, and predictive analytics.

Business Intelligence often 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 often 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, is done by gathering, analyzing and disseminating information with or without support from technology and applications, and focuses on all-source information and data (unstructured or structured), mostly external to, but also internal to a company, to support decision making.

Business intelligence tends to be an esoteric function because it is an entangled process that calls for employees with specialized knowledge and skill both in business and technology, a combination in short supply in most organizations. Analysts must understand what viewers are interested in and how business is run, but they must also have the technical skills to formulate complex queries, design intuitive reports, optimize retrieval, and so on. Such a small group of BI specialists can evolve into isolated elitism, a bottleneck in maximizing the functionalities of BI.