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Sep 09

business intelligence (BI)

Types of BI tools

Business intelligence combines a broad set of data analysis applications, including ad hoc analytics and querying, enterprise reporting, online analytical processing (OLAP), mobile BI, real-time BI, operational BI, cloud and software-as-a-service BI, open source BI, collaborative BI, and location intelligence.

BI technology also includes data visualization software for designing charts and other infographics, as well as tools for building BI dashboards and performance scorecards that display visualized data on business metrics and key performance indicators in an easy-to-grasp way.

Data visualization tools have become the standard of modern BI in recent years. A couple leading vendors defined the technology early on, but more traditional BI vendors have followed in their path. Now, virtually every major BI tool incorporates features of visual data discovery.

BI programs may also incorporate forms of advanced analytics, such as data mining, predictive analytics, text mining, statistical analysis and big data analytics. In many cases, though, advanced analytics projects are conducted and managed by separate teams of data scientists, statisticians, predictive modelers and other skilled analytics professionals, while BI teams oversee more straightforward querying and analysis of business data.

Business intelligence data is typically stored in a data warehouse or in smaller data marts that hold subsets of a company’s information. In addition, Hadoop systems are increasingly being used within BI architectures as repositories or landing pads for BI and analytics data — especially for unstructured data, log files, sensor data and other types of big data.

Before it’s used in BI applications, raw data from different source systems must be integrated, consolidated and cleansed using data integration and data quality tools to ensure that users are analyzing accurate and consistent information.

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