Business Intelligence is a term that is heard of often in companies and among students in Business Studies and also in Information Technology. This might make people wonder “What is Business Intelligence“. Also what use is it to me. With this article and a few others, I try to explain the term and its significance in simple terms from a layman perspective.
As per Wikipedia, Business intelligence (BI) is a set of theories, methodologies, processes, architectures, and technologies that transform raw data into meaningful and useful information for business purposes.
From this definition we understand that the basic purpose of a Business Intelligence application is to help users make sense of data, which would indirectly help them make sense of it.
If you are someone working on the sphere of BI, the difference between Information and Data will be self evident, but it is often used interchangeably. Since the aim of this blog is to start studying from the point of a novice, let me point out the difference between the two:
One of the ways to explain this is to state that Information is a meaningfully organized data, or to state that data is a collection of random knowledge that could be used to form information.
That means, I can have a huge load of data and since it could be worthless, if I do not know how to convert this into useful information. Any information is useful if it aids in decision making that enables or assists the attainment of the goal for which the information is used. This could be information related to the sales of a product, it could be the outcome of a market survey to learn the impact of a social revolution, or any such information.
Also of note should be the fact that Business Intelligence need not necessarily be used for Business in the commonly used sense of buying and selling. It could be used by governments and social service organizations as well to improve their performance and reach.