I find that Business Intelligence is really a stem from analytics, a different way to view and utilize data for the business that doesn’t stop at the website or an entity online. With true business intelligence tools, you can use pretty much any kind of data collection or data source to derive insights that can answer questions, provide trends and allow for business specific insights. BI tools are typically software applications that can retrieve, process, analyze and report on data, mostly from stored data sources like datamarts or databases (but not necessarily).

There are different classes of tools ranging from purely data visualization specific, external data tools to data processing & viz combos. My goal has always been to learn about these tools in an effort to use them in conjunction with data that I get from web analytics, surveys, financial information, internal/transactional systems and other marketing data collection tools.

Additionally, there are options that are free, partially free or low cost, and of course proprietary. Each tool is different, so you’ll need to assess the functionalities you need in the tool set you choose. I’ll be aiding you of course with information around any tools I have the opportunity to use, try or master – and in turn, I’d love to hear back from you on your own experiences.