Business Intelligence (BI) is a technology-driven process used to analyze data and present actionable information to aid executives, managers, and other corporate end users in making informed business decisions. It encompasses the applications, infrastructure and tools, and best practices that allow access to and analysis of information to improve and optimize decisions and performance.


Why should people use it

People should use Business Intelligence because it helps businesses convert raw data into meaningful information. It can provide past, current, and predictive views of business operations, enabling organizations to make data-driven decisions. It also allows organizations to identify market trends and spot business problems that need to be addressed.


Which tools does it use

Business Intelligence tools are a type of software that is designed to retrieve, analyze, transform and report data for business intelligence. The tools generally read data that have been previously stored in a data warehouse or data mart.

Some popular Business Intelligence tools include:

  1. Data visualization tools: These tools provide an easy way to analyze complex data through graphical representation. Examples include Tableau and Power BI.
  2. Reporting tools: These tools help in creating a report from data which can be in a human-readable form. Examples include Crystal Reports and Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS).
  3. Data mining tools: These tools are used for discovering patterns in large data sets. It involves methods at the intersection of machine learning, statistics, and database systems. An example is RapidMiner.
  4. OLAP (Online Analytical Processing) tools: These tools are used to analyze data from multiple dimensions. Examples include Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services (SSAS), Apache Kylin and IBM Cognos.
  5. ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) tools: These tools are used to extract, transform, and load data from multiple sources to a data warehouse. Examples include Microsoft SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS), Informatica and Talend.

Each type of tool serves a different purpose and can be used depending on the needs of the organization.

The implementation of Business Intelligence tools in an organization is not always straightforward. It requires careful planning, the right infrastructure and, most importantly, a clear understanding of the business requirements. The choice of tools should be determined by the business needs, the data complexity, and the desired outcomes.

For instance, if a business wants to visualize its sales data to identify patterns and trends, data visualization tools like Tableau or Power BI could be ideal. If the business needs to frequently run complex reports, then reporting tools like Crystal Reports or Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) might be more suitable.

On the other hand, for businesses dealing with huge amounts of data and looking to uncover hidden patterns and correlations, data mining tools such as RapidMiner would be beneficial. OLAP tools like Apache Kylin and IBM Cognos are perfect for those who want to analyze data from multiple dimensions, while ETL tools like Informatica and Talend are essential for extracting, transforming, and loading data from various sources to a data warehouse.

The ultimate goal of using Business Intelligence tools is to improve business decision-making, increase operational efficiency, identify new business opportunities, and gain a competitive advantage. In the age of data-driven business, BI tools are no longer a luxury, but a necessity.

To conclude, Business Intelligence is a powerful concept that can transform raw data into meaningful and actionable insights. Through the use of BI tools, businesses can optimize their decision-making processes, stay ahead of market trends, and ensure sustainable growth in a competitive environment.