Business intelligence combines business analysis, data mining, data visualization, data tools and infrastructure, and best practices to help organizations make more data-based decisions. Business intelligence (BI) is software that ingests business data and presents it in easy-to-use views, such as reports, dashboards, tables, and graphs. BI tools allow business users to access different types of data, historical and current, third-party and internal, as well as semi-structured and unstructured data, such as social networks. Users can analyze this information to gain insights into the company's performance.
Business Intelligence (BI) discovers information to make strategic decisions. Business intelligence tools analyze historical and current data and present findings in intuitive visual formats. Business intelligence (BI) encompasses the strategies and technologies used by companies for data analysis and business information management. Common functions of business intelligence technologies include reporting, online analytical processing, analysis, panel development, data mining, process mining, complex event processing, business performance management, benchmarking, text mining, predictive analytics, and prescriptive analytics.
Some newer business intelligence solutions can extract and ingest raw data directly using technology such as Hadoop, but data warehouses are still the preferred data source in many cases. Business intelligence tools often use the Extraction, Transformation, and Loading (ETL) method to aggregate structured and unstructured data from various sources. Companies collect and analyze the data needed to find answers to questions and track the progress of their business objectives. Business intelligence software and tools are used to achieve a variety of other things, such as business growth, solving urgent problems, or predicting future results.
While the term business intelligence is sometimes synonymous with competitive intelligence (because both support decision-making), BI uses technologies, processes, and applications to analyze mainly internal structured data and business processes, while competitive intelligence collects, analyzes, and disseminates information with a thematic focus on the company's competitors. Business intelligence is descriptive and tells you what the current situation is and what happened to bring us to that state in the past. Business intelligence helps organizations become data-driven businesses, improve performance, and gain competitive advantage. As a result, companies increasingly need technologies that help them streamline their efforts to obtain business information or predict trends and give them the ability to implement changes and quantify results.
BI tools can manage large amounts of structured and sometimes unstructured data to help identify, develop, and create new strategic business opportunities. By this definition, business intelligence encompasses information management (data integration, data quality, data storage, master data management, text and content analysis, etc.). If you're planning to pursue a career in business intelligence, you're taking a step in the right direction. In 1989, Howard Dresner (later an analyst at Gartner) proposed business intelligence as a general term to describe concepts and methods for improving business decision-making through the use of fact-based support systems.
While BI studies historical data to guide business decision making, business analytics is based on looking to the future. Business intelligence analyst jobs often require only a bachelor's degree, at least at the entry-level, although to move up the ranks, an MBA may be useful or even mandatory. In all cases, BI is most effective when it combines data derived from the market in which a company operates (external data) with data from internal company sources, such as financial and operational data (internal data). The term business intelligence also often refers to a range of tools that provide quick and easily digestible access to information about the current state of an organization, based on the available data.