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Business Intelligence Dictionary: What is Business Intelligence | NSBI

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What is Business Intelligence (BI)?

We define Business Intelligence (BI) as the ability of an organization to make competitive decisions based on the acquisition, analysis and executive reporting of huge volume of data.

NSBI Tutorials aim to make Business Intelligence (BI) and Data Warehousing (DWH) attractive to non-technical people as well as to those who are now entering the field and are excited by the numerous ways data is changing our world. NSBI Tutorials are written and delivered by Nick Shopov, (BI Software Developer & DWH Consultant). 

Business Intelligence (BI) Benefits

As to align with our business intelligence definition we have grouped some common business intelligence benefits in three categories according to the stage of data workflow.

(1) Business Intelligence Benefits Related to Data Acquisition

Business intelligence is used to provide a standardized view for all lines of business, usually handled by a separate relational databases.

(2) Business Intelligence Benefits Related to Data Analysis

Business intelligence serves to business users to identify root causes for events in their organization. It helps manage inventory effectively on the fly. Business Intelligence is used to identify trends about the external or internal environment. It may focus on customer behavior as well and hence facilitate marketing targeting as well as focus data groups. Other benefit is the historical view and drill down across financial systems.

(3) Business Intelligence Benefits Related to Reporting

Business Intelligence reporting enables drilling to micro processes inside the organization and empowers the workforce with actionable data to take advantage. It also provides a standardized reports for external stakeholders or regulatory institutions.

Business Intelligence Example

Imagine you are running a cloths retail store and you also have a shopping cart on your website. So you have two different (operational) databases to store your web data and your venue data.

Answering simple questions like "what's my revenue this month" requires that you integrate/combine your web sales and your venue sales. You want to make sure that you have the same consistent nomenclature for your selling items, you keep/convert sales in the same currency, your customer data is in the same format, etc.

Next a customer comes and asks if you have "M" size from a particular dress. You don't have that in the venue, but your business intelligence system tells you that you have one in your inventory. It is also telling you that this is the best selling product on your website so you may want to adjust the price tag accordingly. On checkout you see that this customer also had another purchase of that glamorous pair of shoes last month, so you make a personal compliment that the dress is very well matching with the shoes. Customer is happy of this personal attitude and is likely to come back soon.

In the end of the day you want to preview all your sales for last month using your business intelligence application. You drill down to figure out that 80% of all your revenue is due to ladies' fashion so you consider rebranding. You generate a sales report and send it to your partners, so you can back your decision.