An interactive process of gathering, analyzing and exploring structured, domain-specific information (often stored in a data warehouse) to discern trends or patterns, thereby deriving insights and drawing conclusions for users to make better business decisions for an organization. The Business Intelligence process includes communicating findings and effecting change for small parts or group within an organization or an entire enterprise. BI software solutions include software for database query and reporting, multidimensional - or OLAP - data analysis, data mining, and visualization. Some of the BI Dimensions include customers, products, services or competitors.
Business Intelligence provides organizations with information to help in 3 main areas:
- Improve business processes.
- Improve customer's response.
- Adapt to changing market conditions.
Although many business intelligence initiatives are initially local in scope, fully informed decisions require a broader range of information to be available, allowing information to be understood within the overall business perspective. Hence, organizations require a comprehensive strategy for business intelligence.
The vast majority of business users will use business intelligence through prepared (canned) reports, through web based or OLAP clients and through custom applications (such as balanced scorecards and financial analysis). A smaller number of users will require greater analytic capability, and will use ad-hoc queries, data mining, segmentation and advanced visualization technologies to achieve their goals.