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Business intelligence is a technology-driven process in which variety of software applications are used to analyze organization’s raw data and presenting the information in actionable format so executives and business leads can make better decisions looking at them.

Although business intelligence has some common functions, it includes three basic functions: data mining, data analyzing and data processing.

Business intelligence is a kind of tool that works as a strategic planning process in an organization. The role of business intelligence is to enable the organization for better decision making.

Business intelligence explained in detail

Business Intelligence (BI) refers to a technology-run process to examine data and present questionable information to help corporate end users form informed business evaluations. It includes all the technologies, applications and practices required to collect, integrate, analyze and present business information. BI systems are data-driven Decision Support Systems (DDS).

Chris Hagans, vice president of operations for WCI Consultancy, says, “So many people in the business need data to do their jobs better.” BI lets people examine data to identify trends and draw their own conclusions.

The term ‘Business Intelligence’ was coined by Professor Richard Miller Devens in 1865. It took over a century for it to become a widely used scientific process. IBM researcher Hans Peter Luhn, in an article in his 1958 IBM journal, laid down the analytic concept to BI. The first all-inclusive BI systems were developed by IBM and Oracle between 1970 and 1990. By 2000, several reporting systems and analytic programs, some of which were owned by the top performing software producers in the U.S., had become widespread.

BI simplifies the process of data discovery. Instead of writing a complex query for reports that only a few people could analyze, a simple BI solution can help one make more informed decisions. Visual analytics further simplifies this process. It is easier to identify patterns in data which is presented in charts and graphs instead of data tables. Business Intelligence dashboards offer the ability to look deeper into sections of data and then maneuver them as needed. By sorting the dashboard, one can spot patterns in sale opportunities or possible threats that might have been missed otherwise. Self-service BI combines these two to examine live business data and build precise reports immediately. The heightened availability of BI on mobiles and Cloud aids not only in making it more widely accessible but also reduces the cost and makes it extremely scalable.

The major challenges being faced by BI include –

  • Making it user-friendly, so that end users can benefit from them. Traditional BI tools are complicated and only few people have the ability to use them, hence the easiest way to popularize BI is to simplify the BI usage process.

  • Analyzing data over numerous systems and unifying them in a single data warehouse so as to draw accurate conclusions.

  • Unlocking buried data so that it is on hand while required.

  • Reducing the cost of producing reports.

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