What is Business Intelligence? (BI)
Although Business intelligence (BI) is widely used by companies these days, its terms and exact definition is often confused and mixed with other types of intelligence (marketing intelligence, market intelligence, and competitive intelligence) an organization looks to gather. It is therefore important for us to “put things in order” and help better distinguish between these types of intelligence.
CIO.com defines BI as “...an umbrella term that refers to a variety of software applications used to analyze an organization’s raw data. BI as a discipline is made up of several related activities, including data mining, online analytical processing, querying and reporting. Companies use BI to improve decision making, cut costs and identify new business opportunities. BI is more than just corporate reporting and more than a set of tools to coax data out of enterprise systems. CIOs use BI to identify inefficient business processes that are ripe for re-engineering.”
On Wikipedia, BI is defined as “...computer-based techniques used in identifying, extracting, and analyzing business data, such as sales revenue by products and/or departments, or by associated costs and incomes. 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, and predictive analytics”.
The main mission of Business Intelligence is to support better business decision-making and it is often referred to as a “decision support system (DSS)”. While BI is sometimes 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. It goes with out saying that both disciplines are important for organizations to utilize.
There are many ways to implement data management and competitive intelligence software to a company's department functions. To learn how to gain a competitive advantage using business intelligence and data monitoring software in your department, download one of our helpful competitive guides.
What do you think? How is BI and CI separated at your company?