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Business Intelligence
What is Business Intelligence?
Business Intelligence (BI) is a term coined for technologies and applications employed in data collection, access, analysis and information about an organisation's business. It refers to the use of several financial / non-financial metrics / key performance indicators to assess the present state of business and to assist in deciding future course of action. It is ‘actionable intelligence'.

Business Intelligence approach to HR strategy
Human Resources metrics have always been linked to other key performance indicators such as revenue and profitability. However, applying measurements systems, including Balanced Scorecard, to people management is always a challenging task.

Business intelligence (BI) is a broad category of applications and technologies for gathering, storing, analyzing, and providing access to data to help enterprise users make better business decisions. BI applications include the activities of decision support systems, query and reporting, online analytical processing (OLAP), statistical analysis, forecasting, and data mining.

Business intelligence applications can be:

  • Mission-critical and integral to an enterprise's operations or occasional to meet a special requirement
  • Enterprise-wide or local to one division, department, or project
  • Centrally initiated or driven by user demand

This term was used as early as September, 1996, when a Gartner Group report said:

>By 2000, Information Democracy will emerge in forward-thinking enterprises, with Business Intelligence information and applications available broadly to employees, consultants, customers, suppliers, and the public. The key to thriving in a competitive marketplace is staying ahead of the competition.

Making sound business decisions based on accurate and current information takes more than intuition. Data analysis, reporting, and query tools can help business users wade through a sea of data to synthesize valuable information from it - today these tools collectively fall into a category called "Business Intelligence.

The need for clarity and vision

Businesses, rather the people who guide them make decisions that affect everything about the business many times each day. Some of these decisions are trivial and do not substantially affect the outcome of the business (usually to make a profit). However, there are decisions that are made that really are important and can grossly affect the business in some way. Perhaps in a good positive way. Sometimes with disastrously outcomes. Let's think about this statement about business today:

Because of lack of information, processes, and tools, more than 35 percent of the top 5,000 companies will regularly fail to make insightful decisions about their business and markets.
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