I am a business intelligence consultant specializing in data architecture and solutions architecture. I’ve had the pleasure to work at 23 company and 9 industries over the last 27 years.
According to Wikipedia,
Business Intelligence (BI) comprises the strategies and technologies used by enterprises for the data analysis of business information. BI technologies provide historical, current and predictive views of business operations.
In other words, business intelligence is when a company uses data to optimize sales, reduce risk, or make a higher profit.
Some examples would be:
- An insurance company using data about their members to determine the risk of cancer. Since cancer is expensive to cure, the insurance company might decide to offer free enrollment to a stop smoking class to members who smoke. Statistically, the cost of sending the mail and the free classes may be many times less than the cost of treating the extra cases of cancer.
- By tracking what a person purchases at a grocery store, it may be possible to determine that the person is pregnant before it becomes common knowledge. See this Forbes article.
- A shipping company can analyze the damaged packages to determine that there is a point in the processing equipment that is damaging packages and fix the issue before anyone working in the processing center recognizes the pattern.
I help very large companies build the databases and computer systems that allow them to improve their business.
During my time working for all of these companies I’ve noticed problems that IT departments have in keeping up with business intelligence. I believe that cloud computing is going to resolve many of those issues, so right now, I’m moving into the cloud.