Business Intelligence (BI) is the application of data analytics to business information and data.

The goal of BI is to provide historical, current and future snapshots of a company and its activities. The methods used for this are diverse and include e.g. Data visualisationsometimes machine learning methods, interactive dashboards and descriptive analyses in the form of reports.

A common BI measure, for example, would be to produce weekly reports on how many packages "Your Model Car" has shipped and how many have been returned.

Business intelligence has been practised by many companies for decades. It became really popular in the 1980s and 1990s. At that time, most of the data in companies was stored in relational data bases. Databases and data warehouses that store structured data.

Therefore, BI is mostly associated with the analysis of structured data. Today, BI is still popular. However, the term (and the science) has gradually fallen somewhat out of fashion and is being replaced by other buzzwords, especially Data Science.

In fact, Data Science is often seen as an evolution of BI, as it has the same goal of exploiting corporate data, but it uses a broader range of methods, including more sophisticated methods that also take unstructured data into account.