Business intelligence is a term that has undergone multiple transformations since the 1960s. Sixty years ago, it stood for a system that enabled the sharing of information across the entire company. In the age of digitalization and on the way to smart factories or the platform economy, such systems have long been part of the basic equipment. Today, business intelligence is regarded as an overarching term for methods, forms of presentation and procedures of data analysis in order to make data-driven corporate decisions. Business Intelligence provides a continuous overview of the company’s past and present, supports forecasts, is intended to enable rapid reactions to the latest trends and make processes more economically efficient.

The term comes from economics or business informatics. The focus of each analysis is the company itself and the question of how insights from existing data can support management decisions. For this purpose, data is collected, analyzed and, on this basis, strategic questions are answered as well as defined which measures are necessary for the achievement of goals. Subsequently, evaluations provide information on how successful the measures were.

Business intelligence includes data analytics as well as business analytics. These terms are often used synonymously, but the latter are only the analysis methods that are used as part of a holistic process. In this process, Business Intelligence picks up all available data and analyses. In recent years,data mining, machine learning and artificialintelligence have been used alongside traditional reporting, performance metrics, data visualizations and simple database queries to make smarter, data-driven decisions.

Implementing a comprehensive business analytics solution requires many resources and usually happens in phases. After data collection and data analysis, the results are disseminated throughout the organization. This should lead to integrated knowledge management and highlight potentials and perspectives for all employees.