What is BI (Business Intelligence)?

Business intelligence (BI) is a set of theories, methodologies, architectures, and technologies that transform raw data into meaningful and useful information for business purposes. BI can handle large amounts of unstructured data to help identify and develop new opportunities. Making use of new opportunities and implementing an effective strategy can provide a competitive market advantage and long-term stability.[1]

Generally, Business Intelligence is increasing number of components, these are:

  • Multidimensional aggregation and allocation
  • Denormalization, tagging and standardization
  • Real-time reporting with analytical alert
  • Interface with unstructured data source
  • Group consolidation, budgeting and rolling forecast
  • Statistical inference and probabilistic simulation
  • Key performance indicators optimization
  • Version control and process management
  • Open item management

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, process mining, complex event processing, business performance management, benchmarking, text mining, predictive analytics and prescriptive analytics.

Though the term business intelligence is sometimes a synonym for competitive intelligence (because they both support decision making), BI uses technologies, processes, and applications to analyse mostly internal, structured data and business processes while competitive intelligence gathers, analyses and disseminates information with a topical focus on company competitors. If understood broadly, business intelligence can include the subset of competitive intelligence.