Business intelligence (BI) allows applications and solutions to transform information into actionable insights that inform a company’s tactical and strategic business decisions. BI tools analyze and gain access to data collections and current findings in reports, summaries, dashboards, charts, graphs, and maps to supply customers.

The expression of business intelligence also pertains to a selection of tools that offer easy-to-digest accessibility to advice concerning the present state of an organization, dependent on the information that is available.

Business intelligence examples

Reporting is an element of business intelligence, and the dashboard is the BI tool. Dashboards are applications that pull together information into graphs and charts that provide a sense of the company’s condition.

Although business intelligence doesn’t tell business users exactly what to do or what’s going to happen if they choose a course, neither is BI completely about reports. BI delivers a means for people to analyze information, understand trends, draw advice, and streamline the effort required to search for and query the data needed to make sound business decisions.

For example, a business that wants to manage its supply chain needs BI capabilities to determine where delays are occurring and where variabilities exist within the delivery process, says Chris Hagans, a consultant and vice president of operations at WCI Consulting. That corporation could use its BI capabilities to find out which modes of transport are involved in delays or which products are delayed.

The use cases for BI extend beyond performance metrics of costs and sales, states Cindi Howson. She points to the Columbus, Ohio, school program and its success with BI tools to analyze data points — from attendance rates to student performance — to improve high school graduation rates and student learning.


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