Regardless of the size of a business enterprise, having an integrated reporting system and excellent channels for accessing information are critical for success. In many instances, small and medium sized businesses assume that business intelligence is a thing for large corporations, and often end up neglecting it. This is serious mistake since business intelligence is vital for all types of businesses. A large number of small scale businesses decide based on guesses on what they think business stability is. In the instance a business owner has full knowledge of the business intelligence system; he always assumes it to be an unworthy investment for small scale business. A business should only purchase a business intelligence system that matches its needs, not a too big or too small one. With the technological advancements, it is now possible for companies to provide fully web based and hosted services. This means that business can now utilizes business intelligence systems without the need to install and maintain, which only serve to complicate a business.
There are various functions of BI systems, its efficacy depends on the ability of the business to utilize the system, and this means they need a well trained personnel and relevant tools and equipment to realize full benefits. The technologies provide past, present and future views of business operations. In many cases, the business intelligence systems are used for prescriptive analytics, reporting on various operations, web based analytical processing, analytics, mining data, process mining, processing complex events, managing business performance, mining texts, benchmarking, and predictive analytics.
In some instances the word is interchangeably used with competitive advantage, since both are used to provide support for the decision making process, but there are slight differences between them. BI makes use of applications, and processes to make an analysis of mainly intra-structured data and business processes. On the other end, competitive intelligence collects, analyses, and distributes information with major focus on competitors to a business. For people who with a wide experience of business intelligence, they can include competitive intelligence as a subset.
A business intelligence system enable a business to gather all vital information for its survival, and made a decision that will enable it survive market competition, and fully meet the needs of all customers. Since a business involves so many activities, it will not be possible for the management to make decisions that affect all areas that relate to it, and this is where a BI helps.