Business Intelligence (BI) refers to technologies, applications and practices that collect, integrate, analyze, and deliver business information. The purpose of business intelligence is to support better business decision making. Data driven decision support (DSS) systems are based on business intelligence systems. BI is sometimes used interchangeably with concise books, reporting and query tools, and administrative information systems.
BI systems provide historical, up-to-date and actionable insights into business operations, often using data collected in a data warehouse or data mart, and periodically running from operational data. Software components support reporting, interactive “slice and dice” pivot table analysis, visualization and statistical data mining. Utilities address many sources of sales, production, financial and business data for purposes including business performance management. Information about other companies in the same industry, is often collected.
Companies are now beginning to see that data and content should not be viewed as separate aspects of information management, but rather managed in an integrated organizational approach. Organizational information management brings together business intelligence and enterprise content management. Currently, companies are moving toward operational BI, which is currently in service and not being challenged by vendors. Traditionally, BI providers have only targeted the top of the pyramid, but now there is a paradigm shift that focuses on self-service business intelligence, moving business intelligence to the bottom of the pyramid.
Self-Service BI (SSBI) includes business systems and data analytics that enable business end users to access information without direct contact from a company. Self-service BI enables end-users to make more use of their data without technical skills. These solutions are usually designed to be flexible and easy to use so that end users can analyze data, make decisions, plan and predict themselves.