The Types and Purposes of Business Intelligence Software

You now know what business intelligence software is, but how exactly does it operate? The response is type-dependent. Using business intelligence software's intended use as a guideline is one of the best methods to categorize the categories. The three primary features of BI solutions often come under one of two packaging options: standalone applications or suites.

Handling of data

The main purpose of a BI is to clean up your current data. Raw data is disorganized and erratic. It must be ready for processing, such as reporting or analytics. For indexing and archiving, data management BI software employs a defined method. By using this program, you can be confident that the raw data you analyze is clean, correct, and that you are comparing like with like.

Similar to other BI software types, this one employs the ETL (extract, transform, load) procedures to acquire data from many sources and put it into a target platform, such as spreadsheets, data containers, or data warehouses. Data management is a key component of the majority of top BI software programs.

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Data Exploration

Today, people probably mean the data discovery feature of business intelligence software when they talk about it. When data silos are mined and combined for patterns and insights, this is where actual intelligence is found.

The majority of business intelligence (BI) solutions are data mining tools that can connect to various corporate systems and datasets. Spreadsheets, email lists, reports, website material, etc. are examples of these. Their data is sent into a consolidated platform using BI software, where processing takes place and the product is a literal asset called "business intelligence."

The majority of data discovery BI systems include online analytical processing, which is often regarded as a separate category. However, OLAP is essentially only a subset of the larger data discovery spectrum that is used for "processing." To produce intelligent assets, it requires additional data discovery tools like relational databases, predictive analytics, semantic analytics, and report authoring. These technologies work together to process data, break up large datasets into manageable pieces, and display the results in insightful reports.

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“Flexible product with great training and support. The product has been very useful for quickly creating dashboards and data views. Support and training has always been available to us and quick to respond.
- George R, Information Technology Specialist at Sonepar USA

Report generating tool

Some BI systems concentrate on the straightforward presentation of data, which makes them popular with non-technical users such as senior executives and managers. These systems include dashboards that emphasize KPIs, report writers for customized outputs, and scorecards that provide an objective numerical representation of an organization's overall health.

What does software for business intelligence do?

After defining business intelligence software earlier in the text, let's go through its key attributes now. Although business intelligence solutions have a wide range of functions, in general they enable you to carry out all or part of the following tasks:

  • Using A/B or multivariate testing, compare and contrast various results.
  • Predictive modeling may be used to forecast results.
  • First-level understandings of patterns or linkages
  • Provide cause-and-effect examples.

Try to match the key characteristics of business intelligence software while comparing; they should all be present or at least some of them:

Learn about the top 10 features of embedded business intelligence.

Business analytics or online analytical processing (OLAP)

OLAP covers the whole spectrum of data preparation, processing, and output delivery for reporting. OLAP tools, which let you examine multidimensional data in real-time or concurrently with other analytics processes, are at the heart of BI systems.

For instance, one user may group sales information from the firm by geography, while another would combine real-time internet transactions with the same data source. Two users with different goals interact with the same dataset.

The three OLAP operations—consolidate or roll up diverse sources; drill down to details; and slice and dice—should be possible with superb BI software. In general, the more views and methods to separate data from a dataset, or OLAP cube, the more flexible the interpretation of data may be. You'll run upon OLAP functions like data mashups, data unification, and complicated business queries while assessing BI solutions.

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Querying and reporting

Another important component of BI software is reporting and querying, which governs how complicated data is organized and produced. In order to access outside sources, integration is crucial. The freedom provided by cloud computing and real-time data is also made available to you through mobile access for queries and reports.

Business intelligence reporting often comes in two flavors: tailored and ad hoc. You may adjust the order of the data points in customized reports and utilize certain metrics that are important to you. Ad hoc reports, on the other hand, are short data outputs produced by the solution during a crisis to assist you, among others, in making immediate choices.

Reports may be disseminated across the business in both cases and can be shown as rapid lookups or in drill-down details.

In contrast, modern BI tools provide straightforward querying that allows people to access complicated data even without knowledge of SQL or code. Every time a new query is made, OLAP automatically prepares the datasets. In actuality, this capability enables businesses to deploy BI technologies throughout the whole company, going beyond the conventional domain of the IT department.

why select InetSoft
“Flexible product with great training and support. The product has been very useful for quickly creating dashboards and data views. Support and training has always been available to us and quick to respond.
- George R, Information Technology Specialist at Sonepar USA

Dashboards that are visual or digital

The last level of reporting is data visualization, which is also one of the most recognizable components of BI systems. This is how executives and non-technical users often see BI, which enables them to create graphs, charts, and dashboard widgets. Advanced visualizations include heat maps, funnels, and geographical reports.

Visual dashboards embody the capabilities of the BI system in numerous ways. The OLAP, reporting-querying, integration, customization, and other functions at work underneath the chart or graph.

While visual dashboards for BI systems might vary in terms of color, position, clusters, and other metrics, they often include sharing and commenting options.


The answer to the question, "What does business intelligence software do?" also depends on integration. Integration is crucial since BI systems depend on several data sources to provide insightful and deep data. In reality, a lot of providers integrate BI solutions with other enterprise software, like CRM, salesforce automation, and shopping cart programs.

The arrangement with third-party applications might be pre-built, native (with the vendor's own apps), or API-based (with your own apps). Top business applications including CRM, sales, accounting, content management, and project management are often integrated with leading BI software solutions.

However, not all of them enable you to create applications for the product through API connectivity. There are BI systems with open APIs that also support Ruby, Java, and JavaScript if you're a developer.