Business Intelligence (BI) is an umbrella term that refers to a variety of application software and systems used to analyze an institution’s raw data. BI as a discipline is made up of several related activities from simple querying and reporting to more advanced data mining and online analytical processing to very advanced predictive analytics. BI can deal with an institution's basic, structure data such as financial and human resources data all the way to mass quantities of unstructured data such as email and social network posts. (The latter is often called "big data".)
The bottom line is that institutions use BI to improve decision making, everything from how to cut costs to identifying new opportunities to predicting how the institution is likely to perform in the future. BI is more than just reporting and more than a set of tools to coax data out of enterprise systems. Institutional leadership uses BI to truly understand what is going on in the organization and to make the right decisions.
With today’s BI tools, users can jump in and start analyzing data themselves, rather than wait for IT to run complex reports. This democratization of information access helps users back up—with hard numbers—business decisions that would otherwise be based only on gut feelings and anecdotes. It's all about getting information into the hands of the people that need it in a form that allows them to quickly draw conclusions. For this reason, the areas of dashboards and visualization are powerful tools in a successful BI implementation.
The BICC was created to provide a central focus for BI at Purdue.