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Business intelligence (BI) is a technology-centric process of analyzing data and presenting information to aid the management role of informed decisions making. It has evolved as a science to include a variety of tools & applications enabling organizations to collect data, both internally and externally, enriching it for analysis by making it available via reports and visualizations for practical usage.
As has been rightly summed up, the main benefits of business intelligence programs include accelerating and improving decision making; in effect assisting a business gain a competitive edge. In its evolving role, BI is now a joint exercise conducted by a team of BI developers, business analysts and data scientists, amongst others, working towards a basket of findings targeted at that operational edge.
The importance attributed to the field of BI can be gauged from the forecast by Gartner, Inc that global revenue in the business intelligence (BI) and analytics market would reach USD 16.9 billion in 2016, a 5.2% over 2015. According to Gartner, the BI and analytics market is in the final stages of a multiyear shift from IT-led, system-of-record reporting to business-led, self-service analytics.
Software review platform G2 Crowd has researched the Self-Service Business Intelligence Software products market and using customer satisfaction and scale placed them into four categories of a grid:
The concept of ‘Business Intelligence’ was first proposed by consultant Howard Dresner (currently Chief Research Officer at Dresner Advisory Services, LLC and earlier an analyst at Gartner) as an umbrella term to describe ‘concepts and methods to improve business decision making by using fact-based support systems’, as early as 1989. It was not until the late 1990s that this usage was widespread.