What is BI?
The purpose of business intelligence (BI) is to support better business decision making. BI leverages software and services to transform data into actionable intelligence that informs an organization’s strategic and tactical decisions. BI tools access and analyze data sets and present analytical findings in reports, summaries, dashboards, graphs, charts and maps to provide users with detailed intelligence about the state of the organization.
What is the value of business intelligence?
The potential benefits of business intelligence tools include accelerating and improving decision-making, optimizing internal business processes, increasing operational efficiency, and increasing student recruitment and retention. BI systems can also help organizations identify trends and spot problems that need to be addressed.
BI data can include historical information stored in a data warehouse, as well as new data gathered from source systems as it is generated, enabling BI tools to support both strategic and tactical decision-making processes.
Types of BI tools
BI technology includes data visualization software for designing charts and other infographics, as well as tools for building BI dashboards and performance scorecards that display visualized data on metrics and key performance indicators in an easy-to-grasp way. Data visualization tools have become the standard of modern BI in recent years.
In addition to BI managers, business intelligence teams generally include a mix of BI architects, BI developers, business analysts and data management professionals. Users are also often included to represent the business side and make sure its needs are met in the BI development process.
To help with that, a growing number of organizations are replacing traditional waterfall development with Agile BI and data warehousing approaches that use Agile software development techniques to break up BI projects into small chunks and deliver new functionality to business analysts on an incremental and iterative basis. Doing so can enable companies to put BI features into use more quickly and to refine or modify development plans as business needs change or as new requirements emerge and take priority over earlier ones.
Although business intelligence does not tell users what to do or what will happen if they take a certain course, neither is BI only about generating reports. Rather, BI offers a way for people to examine data to understand trends and derive insights.