Business intelligence is a software-driven process allowing organizations to analyze raw data from multiple sources, extracting insights that lead to more effective business decisions.
While the term “business intelligence” describes both a methodology and a category of enterprise software, the primary activity in business intelligence is data analysis. Business intelligence tools and applications correlate data about business performance and process it to determine the best course of action for a wide range of business functions.
Business intelligence (BI) operates on the principle that the best decisions are well-informed decisions. Before the advent of data analytics technology, organizations could only answer the simplest questions about business performance. More nuanced, complex, or cross-functional insights were either impossible or extremely expensive and time-consuming to attain.
BI technology solved this problem by making it possible to correlate data from multiple sources in order to provide a more complete understanding of business performance factors.
Business intelligence is traditionally delivered to executives and managers in the form of reports or dashboards, but it is becoming more common for workers in many roles across the organization to access BI information to help them be more effective in their roles. Business intelligence can be delivered in a standalone application, integrated into custom applications or, increasingly, delivered via an Intranet or mobile application.