What is Business Intelligence?

Business Intelligence is many things to many people. It's about getting the right information to the right people, at the right time, via the right channel.

Business Intelligence as a discipline is made up of several related activities, including data mining, online analytical processing, querying and reporting.

Companies use Business Intelligence to improve decision making, cut costs and identify new business opportunities. Business Intelligence is more than just corporate reporting and more than a set of tools to coax data out of enterprise systems. CIOs use Business Intelligence to identify inefficient business processes that are ripe for re-engineering. 

  • Fact based decision making
  • Optimisation of business processes
  • Automated exception reporting
  • Ability to perform "ad-hoc" or "what-if" analysis

Business Intelligence can be seen as set of systems and processes that enable an organisation to effectively plan, monitor and improve.

Why Plan, Monitor and Improve?

If we are to look at all the actions an organisation needs to perform in order to satisfy its objectives, Montage believes that they resolve down to these: plan, monitor and improve. Firstly the organisation needs to plan its objectives and how it will meet them; secondly it needs to monitor how it is performing in meeting these objectives and thirdly to improve on that performance.

So any solution that is able to assist in the execution of any of these three actions could be considered to be Business Intelligence.

Business Goals for Business Intelligence

Don Jones writer of the business whitepaper  'Achieving Business Intelligence in Midsize Companies' refers to the practice of Business Intelligence as helping a business acquire a better understanding of itself. More broadly, Business Intelligence also refers to the skills, technologies, applications, and practices involved in bringing that understanding to light.

Don talks about the incredible amount of disparate data systems, that don't communicate with one another to allow businesses to explore data in different ways or provide high-level sumaries of the data in an instant.  Which he believes are the main goals for Business Intelligence, is to provide exactly those things:

  • The ability to view data from multiple sources in a single view
  • The ability to quickly see summaries of data from different places
  • The ability to see data over time
  • The ability to ask “what if” questions and have answers generated based on historical data

To read the 'Achieving Business Intelligence in Midsize Companies' whitepaper (Click Here)