Most companies collect huge amounts of data from its business operations. To keep track of that information requires a wide range of software programs and different database applications for various departments (e.g. sales, finance, supply) throughout the organization to access and use the data. According to this article on Webopedia.com, using multiple software programs makes it difficult to retrieve information in a timely manner and to perform analysis of the data. A business intelligence solution replaces the multiple tools traditionally used to collect and analyze the data.
"In many ways business intelligence is a catch-all phrase as it does not refer to one single type of analysis or data, but rather it represents a variety of methodologies, technologies, and software applications and tools to organize and analyze all of a businesses' data.
"The effect of a business intelligence system, however, is much easier to define. The BI system takes all the raw data and provides an organization with useful and relevant reports and graphs that management and decision-makers within the organization can make sense of -- and then use -- to analyze business trends to capitalize on."