What is Business Intelligence?

Business intelligence (BI) refers to the field within business that relates to the collection and use of data. While it is often assumed that business intelligence is the same thing as business analytics, they actually differ slightly. Business intelligence is specifically about reviewing existing data, while business analytics deals with predictions and statistics.

Due to the high levels of technology used by most companies around the world, business intelligence activities are vital to the success of an organization. BI can be used to review limitless types of data for countless reasons, but it is often used to identify data that is needed for company decisions and activities. Business intelligence examples include performance reports that are reviewed across industries. For example, a manager might review the average sales per hour for a diner to determine how well the business is for the day, and possibly to determine if there are too many employees clocked in. Most businesses use some level of business intelligence tools, although the degree to which they are used can vary drastically.

For most companies, the data that a manager wants to review is typically raw when first accessed. Without training, an individual probably would not understand the data and then would be unable to use the data to improve efficiency. A manager might not even understand how to access that raw data using the software that houses it, as many databases are not user-friendly to novice users. Business intelligence is the bridge for this gap. Learning about business intelligence can enable an individual to not only understand how to navigate the software programs but also how to identify, translate and apply the data that is retrieved in real-time. Prepared reports may be provided to managers periodically, but an understanding of BI means that they can bypass the wait and review available data immediately.

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Business Intelligence Topics

Business Intelligence Resources

More business operations and activities are strongly integrated with business intelligence, making it an extremely valuable topic to understand. While an online search might offer a simplified definition of business intelligence, it isn't something that can be understood with a few minutes of online reading. This is one of the many reasons that Study.com has developed different resources for business intelligence learning, with options for a wide variety of needs.

For any individual that is interested in pursuing a college program, several of Study.com's courses offer credits for transfer. Several of the BI resources on this page are easily implemented for groups, which can be helpful to managers or team leaders who wish to improve their employees' understanding of business intelligence and analytics. These courses can also be used to reinforce existing BI skills as well as to lay the framework for comprehension in a new area. The benefits of business intelligence are countless in today's technologically advanced market, making BI vital to the success of most businesses.

Business Intelligence Courses

For anyone asking, "what is business intelligence," one or more of these courses might be a fun and flexible way to find a useful answer to the question. The business intelligence courses offered by Study.com have a wide variety of uses and focus areas, but all of them offer self-paced structures that enable students to take as much time as needed on each section. Lessons are delivered through short and fun videos, which are followed up by interactive assessments. Students can choose to review a section before moving on if they are unhappy with the initial results and level of comprehension.

Some of the courses are designed so that students can transfer 3 credit hours into a program at more than 2,000 colleges and universities, while other courses offer a certificate once students have completed them. Through the courses, students can explore business intelligence and analytics, business intelligence reporting, databases, and business intelligence systems. Regardless of one's industry, business intelligence is likely a key aspect of business operations, and these courses can provide students with a new (or strengthened) area of skill.

Business 121: Introduction to Entrepreneurship

This course explores the fundamentals of entrepreneurship and is eligible for transfer credits to many colleges. Some of the topics covered are developing business plans, steps in business creation, understanding the target customer, and legal components.

Business 202: Introduction to E-Commerce

Business 202 explores online commerce and related topics and how they affect today's market. Students learn about types of commerce, risk management, marketing, and business intelligence topics. This course is eligible for transfer credits.

Creating a Business Plan

This class can be used by individuals as well as managers for employee education and offers a certificate upon completion. Students learn about mission statements, strategies, and other topics that are crucial to developing and implementing business plans.

Business Strategy: Help & Review

This course is designed for individuals interested in improving their business strategy knowledge and skills, whether students, professionals, or managers. Topics covered include goal setting, marketing, pricing strategies, and communication.

Big Data Tutorial & Training

With an available certificate, this course provides students with a deeper understanding of big data and how to efficiently use it. Students learn about big data fundamentals and processes, data mining, relevant software, database design, and data management.

Business Intelligence Test Prep for Teachers and Students

Business Intelligence Test Prep

Get ready for important exams on business topics, including business intelligence, by using Study.com's study guides and courses. Whether students are interested in earning college credit or are preparing to sit for teaching licensure exams, these resources cover key topics that will be part of these tests, including business management, marketing, ethics, and computer software and information systems. Study.com also offers test preparation for those planning to be banking representatives. These course materials are designed for ease of use and are tailored to individual tests to help test-takers succeed on their exams.

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is an example of BI?

    Businesses of all sizes use business intelligence, and people often use BI methods without realizing. For example, a manager at a fast food restaurant recording waste for the evening needs to retrieve and use relevant data such as current inventory and price. Extracting that information and using it to complete the waste process is part of business intelligence.

  • What are the five basic tasks of business intelligence?

    The processes involved in business intelligence can be viewed as a value chain, which can be broken down into five stages (or tasks):

    • Access, store and source the raw data
    • Convert the data through analysis and engineering
    • Furnish readable and relevant reports to the appropriate users
    • Make decisions based on the data
    • Evaluate the implications and effects of decisions
  • What is meant by business intelligence?

    Business intelligence enables business professionals and managers to have access to important information when they need it, by providing methods and tools for locating and reviewing raw data. Without business intelligence, it would take more time for managers to get the information that they made need to make an important business decision.