What is Business Intelligence?

Business Intelligence

Management decisions in companies today are made almost exclusively on the strength of data. Either it is data of the own company or data about competitors. In the 1990s, the term business intelligence was established in this context. Business Intelligence, or BI for short, is a software-based process that collects and parses data, and with the help of which the data can be used to visually display reports, charts, etc. Especially in recent years, the topic of BI has been gaining momentum, as companies are now accumulating more and more external and internal data.

In order to process and analyze the data, you first collect it in a data warehouse. Since the data usually exists in different formats and is mostly unstructured, this data is then homogenized and structured in the data warehouse. A data warehouse groups data from multiple data sources into a centralized system to support business analysis and reporting. Business intelligence software queries the data warehouse and presents the results to the user in the form of reports, charts and mappings.

Some newer business intelligence solutions can extract and ingest raw data directly, but data warehouses remain the data source of choice in many cases.

What are the benefits?

As mentioned, business intelligence helps managers and business executives make decisions based on big data. Instead of relying on assumptions and approximations, BI allows them to make decisions based on business data, whether it’s production, supply chains, customers, or market trends.

Business intelligence turns companies into data-driven enterprises and provides them with the following benefits:

  • ROI improvement: BI uncovers unnecessary resources and costs. ROI can increase revenue through smart allocation.
  • Increased customer value: Improved knowledge of customer behavior, preferences, and trends enables potential customers to be better addressed or products and services to be adapted to changing market requirements.
  • Process optimization:Thanks to BI, operational processes can be monitored and continuously optimized.
  • Improving supply chain management: Supply chains can be optimized through in-depth monitoring activities and sharing of results with partners and suppliers.


In times of Big Data, software-supported analysis with BI is a must for every company. Only those who know their company, their customers and the market in detail can gain a competitive advantage. Business intelligence has therefore been part of the strategic business strategy of large corporations for a long time. In the meantime, however, BI is no longer the privilege of management only. More and more, mid-level management is also turning to data-driven analytics for their decision-making.