Business intelligence (BI) refers to the methods that collect and analyze various data produced by companies. It includes the processes of data mining, descriptive analytics, and process analysis, among others. Business intelligence technologies can provide historical, current, and predictive views of business operations and handle both structured and unstructured data to help companies identify and analyze patterns to better their business structure.
Data harvested from business intelligence techniques are used by businesses to guide their business choices, ranging from marketing practices to product offerings and more. The technology is most effective when it is combined with both external and internal company data, which concerns things like market, financial, and operational information. Combining this data provides more accurate results than what can be shown from a single data set. After collection, the data is put into a repository called a data warehouse.