Business Intelligence Software Explained

Business intelligence software (BI software) is designed specifically to analyze all business data to better understand an organization’s strengths and weaknesses.

Business Intelligence Definition: What is BI?

The phrase business intelligence (BI for short) is the combination of software applications, methodologies and business systems that play a key role in the strategic planning process of a corporation.

Most companies collect huge amounts of data from its business operations. Keeping track of that information requires a wide range of software programs and different database applications for various departments (e.g. sales, finance, supply) throughout the organization to access and use the data.

Using multiple software programs makes it difficult to retrieve information in a timely manner and to perform analysis of the data. A business intelligence solution replaces the multiple tools traditionally used to collect and analyze the data.

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Editor’s Recommendation: Webopedia’s business intelligence (BI) definition.

In many ways business intelligence is a catch-all phrase as it does not refer to one single type of analysis or data, but rather it represents a variety of methodologies, technologies, and software applications and tools to organize and analyze all of a businesses’ data.

The effect of a business intelligence system, however, is much easier to define. The BI system takes all the raw data and provides an organization with useful and relevant reports and graphs that management and decision-makers within the organization can make sense of — and then use — to analyze business trends to capitalize on.

Business Intelligence Software Explained

Business intelligence software (also called BI software) is software that is designed specifically to analyze all the business data, through automated processes, to provide a better understand an organization’s strengths and weaknesses. It is the organization’s business intelligence software that allows management to better see the relationship between different data for better decision-making and deployment of resources. Business Intelligence software plays a key role in the strategic planning process of the corporation.

Editor’s Recommendation: Webopedia’s business intelligence (BI) software definition.

Business intelligence software is often referred to as business intelligence tools (BI tools) representing a number of software applications that integrate to provide the means to report, analyze and then present the data. Business intelligence software is also designed to use data that is stored by the business in a any type of data storage system or data warehouse.

The types of tools that make up a business intelligence software application solution generally include tools for spreadsheets, operational dashboards, data mining, reporting, search (query), analytics processing (OLAP), content viewer, and other components of enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. Often, business intelligence software may also integrate tools designed for specific verticals, such as retail, healthcare or education.

Business intelligence software applications can be deployed in a number of ways, with the following being the most common options:

Editor’s Recommendation: A Cloud Computing Dictionary Resource, 22 Cloud Computing Terms Defined.

A Dictionary of Business Intelligence Terms

Webopedia’s Business Category offers definitions to more than 60 technology terms and phrases related to business intelligence and enterprise applications. You can view all related terms definitions here.

Based in Nova Scotia, Vangie Beal is has been writing about technology for more than a decade. She is a frequent contributor to Ecommerce-Guide and managing editor at Webopedia. You can tweet her online @AuroraGG.

This article was originally published on November 11, 2010

Vangie Beal
Vangie Beal is a freelance business and technology writer covering Internet technologies and online business since the late '90s.

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