What is Business Intelligence?

The world of business intelligence is one of interest to the majority of organisations.  But one thing has never ceased to amaze me.  Ask a multitude of different people the same question “What is business intelligence?” and you are guaranteed to get a whole host of different answers. Try typing the question into your favourite search engine and from a business standpoint, it’s apparent that various different industry definitions seem to exist…


Here are a few glossary examples I’ve found:

I find the shorter definitions are often the better ones as the scope of business intelligence never stops expanding, just like the boundaries of technology.


My personal take on it is being able to find out the information I need to know when I need it in the exact way that I want it presented.  Let’s say you’re part of a quiz team and you have a certain specialist subject.  When someone asks you a question on that subject, you would be considered an expert if you knew the answer.  This form of intelligence maps to large and small organisations through the use of business information systems.  Often, those systems (or quiz team members) contain all of the answers to questions posed by individuals within an organisation but the difference in computing terms is that there is no guarantee that the data is organised or integrated in a manner that could provide the quiz master with an answer.  


So, how is it possible to provide access to real time information, in either a visual or textual manner that is relevant to the individual with the query and how can an organisation ensure that any intelligence derived from business systems is produced in a manner contextual with the business need?  I’m certainly not going to answer that question in a single sentence or paragraph so welcome to my blog!

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