What is Business Intelligence?

Business Intelligence (BI) is a multi-billion dollar market subject to the same marketing hype that is so common in solutions underpinned by information technology.

In its most simple definition, BI encompasses all aspects of reporting and the processes of getting data ready for reporting. At its most complex, it covers an evolving range of disciplines, methods and technologies including: Enterprise Data Warehousing, Extraction Transformation & Load (ETL), Scorecards, Balanced Scorecards, Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), Corporate Performance Monitoring (CPM), Business Activity Monitoring (BAM), OLAP, Data Mining, Analytics, Planning etc. etc.

There is great debate about the most effective and dynamic BI methodology and technology. There is merit in most arguments. What often gets lost however, is they all, ultimately, aim to deliver information and intelligence to the user.

It is the accuracy, timeliness, trustworthiness and relevance of this intelligence that is important.

It is the ability of the user to access, digest and act upon that intelligence to the benefit of the business that will determine whether a return on investment is achieved.