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Business intelligence (BI) is the methodologies, processes, systems and technologies for collating data for analysis, reporting, visualization and performance management – and turning data into actionable information that fulfil strategic objectives and support decision-making.
BI is focused on organizing, analyzing, and understanding how a business is performing by better utilizing data. We use a variety of tools such as data warehouses and data lakes to consolidate data across operations to improve accessibility, then other tools such as embedded analytics and data visualization to translate vast volumes of complex datasets into digestible dashboards and reporting, which then help contextualize the most important metrics. This is so business users can make sense of the connections, trends and insights that can be actioned.
BI differs from analytics in that the former presents the ‘what’ and ‘how’ of business questions and the latter interprets the ‘why’. BI helps people understand what a business has accomplished and how it is performing, how to improve performance, and how to find new opportunities for growth. Analytics is the tools and processes that explore data, extract performance and draw conclusions and insights to offer end-users the ‘why’ behind the metrics.
The general framework for business intelligence is best summarized as follows: