The importance of intelligence had been addressed even thousands years ago. In ancient China, the famous military specialist, Sun Tzu first addressed the importance of the intelligence in his book, The Art of War. He claims that one must be fully informed about the strengths and weaknesses concerning himself and his enemy, then he can achieve the success in the war. Lack of either one can lead to the defeat. The military intelligence is extremely important in the war. In the same way, business intelligence is also extremely important in the business activities. But there is something even more important than the intelligence itself, which is how to collect, analyze, and process intelligence. The term Business intelligence (BI) is used to describe an extensive of methods, skills, technologies and applications used to collect, accumulate, integrate, analyze and process data concerning business operation in order to give the historical, current, and predictive views of business operations, and help make correct business decision.
The term "business intelligence" is first mentioned In 1958 by IBM researcher Hans Peter Luhn. But It is until the late of 1990s that this usage is widespread. In the past, we faced far less competition in the business operation. So bad decisions or missed opportunities often could not lead to disastrous results. But Today a bad decision or missed opportunity can mean the end of your business. So the business intelligence is playing a deadly important role in the strategic planning process of a company.
In a business intelligence system, information is key to making the right business decisions at the right time. But in the current world, the information volume is huge and is increasing in a exploding speed. So the information processing is impossible by hand. Fortunately with the development of computer and network technologies, more and more software, tools and algorithms are developed to help us collect, analyze and process these business information and make correct decisions. Generally these information or data are stored in database, and the specific business intelligence software or applications can be used to analyze and process them based on specific algorithms. Finally some normalized reports or analytical results can be generated automatically, like statistical charts, dashboards, spreadsheets, tabular reports.
Data mining (also called data discovery or knowledge discovery) is the process of analyzing data from different views and summarizing it into useful information.
In business intelligence, benchmarks are especially useful. They are programs to evaluate how successful a business is. It could help answer the questions like: How are we conducting our business? What's the difference between us and other companies? Benchmarks can help establish rational performance goals through the comparison with the industry best practice. By processing benchmarks, you could learn much from the experience, mistakes, information and revelations of others in the industry.
Predictive analytics is a branch of programs concerned with the prediction of future probabilities and trends. The key element of predictive analytics is the predictor, a variable that can be measured for an individual or company to predict future behavior. To use predictive analytics, a predictive model must be set up to analyze the current and historical data and records, then the prediction about the future can be made.
Now the typical modern deployment of a modern business intelligence application is based on the Web, which depends on internet or intranet connections. More advanced business intelligence applications can be founded in the market with optimized functions for mobile devices, smart phones, and e-mail. Business intelligence applications can be:
Usually, the application areas of business intelligence include, but not limited to customer profiling, customer support, market research, market segmentation, product profitability, statistical analysis, and inventory and distribution analysis. In a short summary, the business intelligence technologies can help a company control their costs by