Business Intelligence & Analytics.

Business intelligence (BI) encompasses tools, technology, strategies for data analysis to help business operators to make informed decision.  Making a decision that is not based on discretion or impulse but proven by data evidence. Business intelligence gives you what has been happening historically to your business for you to see your current state  and so it is otherwise known as descriptive analytics.
Many companies collect tons of unstructured data from different sources and departments but get little information because they are not able to relate those data together. Business intelligence is a key area for business as oppose to business owner wondering in the dark. So, the best way to know why you are where you are is to know what has been happening to you historically.
Business Intelligence is a tip of the Iceberg, which has data mart and data warehouse beneath the sea (backend). The beginning of research is data gathering. So, data is the source of anything calls intelligence. To understand what has happened is very easy because whatever you are given is concluded. No one can do anything about it now. If you made gain or loss at the end of period; the case is closed. Maybe you could have performed better if you had known; well, next time. The accountants already closed the books, the die is cast.
Business owner cannot continue to face these surprises at the end of period and so there is got to be a way to change it. The foundation for everything is data and the level of benefit you get within the data depends on the depth of analysis you subject it to. Business Intelligence describes the present situation but Business Analytics will support you with the information to face the future.

Overview of business value from BI/Analytics

The adventure to slice and dice the data to bring out benefits requires time and money. The business value you get is a function cost. The starting point is to know what has happened which is called “Reporting”. A little higher than that is to know: Why did it happen? It is called “Analysis” Another level is: What is happening now? This is called “Monitoring”. The next level is: What might happen? This is known as “Forecasting”. The next level gives you what is likely to happen: This is “Predictive” and last step gives you the action to take: which is called “Prescriptive”.
Whichever level you are in your establishment depends on the value you place on your data which in turn describes your level compare to your competitors. There are many tools out there that will help you in this regard.