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What is business intelligence?

Updated: 2008-08-21

Business intelligence (BI) simplifies information discovery and analysis, making it possible for decision-makers at all levels of an organization to more easily access, understand, analyze, collaborate, and act on information, anytime and anywhere. This definition for BI demonstrates that traditional analyst-driven BI applications have evolved to include multiple initiatives to measure, manage, and improve on the performance of individuals, processes, teams, and business units. For this reason, Microsoft delivers BI tools that can give every employee access to the data required to make informed decisions and that have the flexibility to work the way they do. As a result of extending the definition of BI, Microsoft sees information and insight flowing steadily between three main categories of BI: personal (, team (, and organizational (

During the course of business, the following questions must be asked. The functions of monitoring, analyzing, and planning delve into these questions.

  • What has happened?

  • What is happening?

  • Why?

  • What will happen?

  • What do we want to have happen?

Microsoft Office PerformancePoint Server 2007 provides applications that help you monitor, analyze, and plan. This section describes the ways Microsoft delivers business intelligence.

The Microsoft BI stack

Business intelligence is achieved with the following actions and corresponding tools.

  • Provide quality data: Business intelligence is built on the scalable and reliable SQL Server 2005 platform with a powerful relational database management system, SQL Server Integration Services, SQL Server Analysis Services, SQL Server Reporting Services, and SQL Server data mining capabilities. For more information the SQL Server 2005 BI platform, see About business intelligence; data warehousing ( on

  • Gain deeper insight and facilitate better decision making: Reporting and analysis are the capabilities that allow you to gain deeper insight from your data. To learn more about reporting and analysis, see About Business Intelligence: Reporting ( on

  • Align decisions with corporate goals: PerformancePoint Server is a powerful performance management application that provides the infrastructure to link executives, line-of-business managers, or individual contributors to the overall corporate strategy.

For more information about business intelligence, see Microsoft Business Intelligence frequently asked questions ( on Microsoft Office Online, About Business Intelligence ( on, and watch Why is Business Intelligence Important? (

See Also