Business Intelligence is the process of transforming related business data into information, information into knowledge and with repetitive identification turning knowledge into Intelligence.
- Data: It is a raw data i.e. it represents reality, facts and figures.
- Information: It is a data that is processed and interpreted.
- Knowledge: After the information is processed, it becomes more sensible containing some meaning and understanding.
Business Intelligence (BI) is a wide category of applications and technologies for collecting, storing, analyzing, and providing access to data to help the enterprise users make better decision making. BI applications supports the activities decision support systems, querying and reporting, online analytical processing (OLAP), statistical data analysis, forecasting and data mining.
Some important definitions of Business Intelligence are:
- Business Intelligence is a set of methodologies, processes, architectures, and technologies that transform raw data into meaningful and useful information used to enable more effective strategic, tactical, and operational insights and decision-making.
- A set of methodologies, processes, architectures, and technologies that leverage the output of information management processes for analysis, reporting, performance management, and information delivery.
- Business Intelligence is neither a product nor a system. It is an architecture and a collection of integrated operational as well as decision-support applications and databases that provide the business community easy access to business data.
- BI is the delivery of accurate, useful information to the decision makers within the needed time frame to enhance decision making.
- BI is not just some facts and figures on a printed report or computer screen. BI provides foundational information on which to base a decision. BI also provides feedback information that can be used to evaluate a decision.
- BI systems enable organization to provide the users an insight about the company’s information assets.
The Five Stages of Business Intelligence
- Data sourcing :Business Intelligence is about extracting information from multiple sources of data. The data might be: text documents – e.g. memos or reports or email messages; photographs and images; sounds; formatted tables; web pages and URL lists. The key to data sourcing is to obtain the information in electronic form. So typical sources of data might include: scanners; digital cameras; database queries; web searches; computer file access etc.
- Data analysis: Business Intelligence is about synthesizing useful knowledge from collections of data. It is about estimating current trends, integrating and summarizing disparate information, validating models of understanding and predicting missing information or future trends. This process of data analysis is also called data mining or knowledge discovery.
- Situation awareness: Business Intelligence is about filtering out irrelevant information, and setting the remaining information in the context of the business and its environment. The user needs the key items of information relevant to his or her needs, and summaries that are syntheses of all the relevant data (market forces, government policy etc.). Situation awareness is the grasp of the context in which to understand and make decisions. Algorithms for situation assessment provide such syntheses automatically.
- Risk assessment: Business Intelligence is about discovering what plausible actions might be taken, or decisions made, at different times. It is about helping you weigh up the current and future risk, cost or benefit of taking one action over another, or making one decision versus another. It is about inferring and summarizing your best options or choices.
- Decision support: Business Intelligence is about using information wisely. It aims to provide warning you of important events, such as takeovers, market changes, and poor staff performance, so that you can take preventative steps. It seeks to help you analyze and make better business decisions, to improve sales or customer satisfaction or staff morale. It presents the information you need, when you need it.