Business Intelligence (BI) is a broad category of computer software solutions that enables a company or organization to gain insight into its critical operations through reporting applications and analysis tools. BI as a discipline is made up of several related activities, including data mining, online analytical processing, querying and reporting.
BI applications may include a variety of components such as tabular reports, spreadsheets, charts, and dashboards. Although traditional business intelligence systems were delivered via host terminals or paper reports, the typical modern deployment of a BI application is over the web, via Internet or intranet connections. It is also possible, and becoming more popular, to develop interactive BI apps optimized for mobile devices such as tablets and smart phones, and for e-mail. Well-designed BI applications can give anyone in the company the ability to make better decisions by quickly understanding the various “information assets” in the organization and how these interact with each other. These assets can include customer databases, supply chain information, personnel data, manufacturing, product data, sales and marketing activity, as well as any other source of information critical to the operation. A robust BI application, which includes integration and data cleansing functions, can allow integrating these disparate data sources into a single coherent framework for real-time reporting and detailed analysis by anyone in your extended enterprise – customers, partners, employees, managers, and executives.
Companies use BI to improve decision making, cut costs and identify new business opportunities. BI is more than just corporate reporting and more than a set of tools to coax data out of enterprise systems.
For example, a bank bridges a legacy database with departmental databases, giving branch managers and other users access to BI applications to determine who the most profitable customers are or which customers they should try to cross-sell new products to. The use of these tools frees information technology staff from the task of generating analytical reports for the departments and it gives department personnel autonomous access to a richer data source.
Characteristics of Business Intelligence System (BIS):
- It is created by procuring data and information for use in decision-making.
- It is a combination of skills, processes, technologies, applications and practices.
- It contains background data along with the reporting tools.
- It is a combination of a set of concepts and methods strengthened by fact-based support systems.
- It is an extension of Executive Support System or Executive Information System.
- It collects, integrates, stores, analyzes, and provides access to business information
- It is an environment in which business users get reliable, secure, consistent, comprehensible, easily manipulated and timely information.
- It provides business insights that lead to better, faster, more relevant decisions.
Benefits of Business Intelligence System (BIS):
- Improved Management Processes.
- Planning, controlling, measuring and/or applying changes that results in increased revenues and reduced costs.
- Improved business operations.
- Fraud detection, order processing, purchasing that results in increased revenues and reduced costs.
- Intelligent prediction of future.