Business Intelligence (BI) is a broad category of computer software solutions that enables a company or organization to gain insight into its critical operations through reporting applications and analysis tools. BI applications may include a variety of components such as tabular reports, spreadsheets, charts, and dashboards. Although traditional business intelligence systems were delivered via host terminals or paper reports, the typical modern deployment of a BI application is over the Web, via internet or intranet connections. It is also possible to develop interactive BI applications optimized for mobile devices, smart phones, and e-mail.
Well-designed BI applications can give anyone in your company the ability to make better decisions by quickly understanding the various "information assets" in your organization and how these interact with each other. These assets can include customer databases, supply chain information, personnel data, manufacturing, and sales and marketing activity, as well as any other source of information critical to your operation. BI software allows you to integrate these disparate data sources into a single coherent framework for real-time reporting and detailed analysis by anyone in your extended enterprise – customers, partners, employees, managers, and executives.