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Business intelligence

the use of information systems to gather and analyze information from internal and external sources in order to make better business decisions

Continuous planning process

a strategic business planning process involving continuous monitoring and adjusting of business processes to enable rapid reaction to changing business conditions


collections of related data organized in a way that facilitates data searches


something data is collected about, such as people or classes


a collection of related records in a database where each row is a record and each column is an attribute


a collection of related attributes about a single entity


individual piece of information about an entity in a database

Data model

a map or diagram that represents entities and their relationships

Entity-relationship diagram

a diagram used to display the structure of data and show associations between entities

Data type

the type of an attribute in a database (text, number, or date)


a technique for making complex databases more efficient and more easily handled by a database management system

Data dictionary

a document prepared by database designers to describe the characteristics of all items in a database


a business document that contains some predefined data and may include some areas where additional data is to be filled in, typically for a single record


a compilation of data from a database that is organized and produced in printed format

Report generators

software tool that helps users build reports quickly and describe the data in a useful format


method used to retrieve information from a database

Structured Query Language (SQL)

the most common language used to interface with databases

Query by example (QBE)

a capability of a DBMS that enables data to be requested by providing a sample or a description of the types of data the user would like to see

Operational systems

the systems that are used to interact with customers and run a business in real time

Online transaction processing (OLTP)

immediate automated responses to the requests from multiple concurrent transactions from customers

Informational systems

system designed to support decision making based on stable point in time or historical data

Master data management

consolidating master data so as to facilitate arriving at a single version of the truth

Master data

the data that is deemed most important to the operation of a business

Data warehouse

an integration of multiple, large databases and other information sources into a single repository or access point that is suitable for direct querying, analysis, or processing

Extraction, transformation, and loading

the process of consolidating, cleansing, and manipulating data before loading it into a data warehouse

Data cleansing

the process of standardizing the format of data retrieved from different systems (such as differences in the way dates or zip codes are stored) and removing inaccurate records

Data mart

a data warehouse that is limited in scope; contains selected information from data warehouses so each separate data mart is customized for the decision support applications of a particular end user group

Scheduled reports

report produced at predefined intervals to support routine informational needs of managerial level decision making

Drill-down reports

report that provide greater detail, so as to help analyze why a key indicator is not at an appropriate level or why an exception occurred

Exception reports

report providing users with information about situations that are out of the normal operating range

Key-indicator reports

report that provides a summary of critical information on a recurring schedule

Ad hoc queries

request for information created due to unplanned information needs that is typically not saved for later use

Online analytical processing (OLAP)

the process of quickly conducting complex analyses of data stored in a database, typically using graphical software tools

OLAP server

the chief component of an OLAP system that understands how data is organized in the database and has special functions for analyzing the data

Measures (facts)

the values and numbers users want to analyze


a way to summarize data such as region, time, or product line

OLAP cube

a data structure allowing for multiple dimensions to be added to a traditional two dimensional table for detailed analysis

slicing and dicing

analyzing data on subsets of certain dimensions

Data mining

a method used by companies to discover "hidden" predictive relationships in data to better understand their customers, products, markets, or any other phase of their business for which data has been captured

Data reduction

reduces the complexity of the data to be analyzed; this can be achieved by rolling up a data cube to the smallest level of aggregation needed, reducing the dimensionality, or dividing continuous measures into discrete intervals

Association discovery

a data mining technique used to find associations or correlations among sets of items

Sequence discovery

a data mining technique used to discover associations over time


data mining technique grouping related records on the basis of having similar attributes


data mining technique grouping instances into predefined categories

Text mining

analytical techniques for extracting information from textual documents

Web content mining

extracting textual information from Web documents

Competitive intelligence

information about competitors used to enhance a business's strategic position

Web usage mining

analysis of a Web site's usage patterns, such as navigational paths or time spent on different pages

Clickstream data

a recording of the users' path through a Web site


a Web site's ability to attract and keep visitors

Business analytics

applications that augment business intelligence by using predictive analysis to help identify trends or predict business outcomes

Predictive analysis

business analysis techniques focusing on identifying trends or predicting business outcomes

Decision support system (DSS)

a special purpose information system designed to support organizational decision making

What-if analysis

an analysis of the effects hypothetical changes to data have on the results


conceptual, mathematical, logical, and analytical formula used to represent or project business events or trends

Artificial intelligence (AI)

the science of enabling information technologies to stimulate human intelligence as well as gaining sensing capabilities

Intelligent systems

system comprised of sensors, software, and computers embedded in machines and devices that emulate and enhance human capabilities

Expert system (ES)

a type of intelligent system that uses reasoning methods based on knowledge about a specific problem domain in order to provide advice, much like a human expert


a way of encoding knowledge, typically expressed using an "if-then" format, within an expert system

Fuzzy logic

type of logic used in intelligent systems that allows rules to be represented using approximations or subjective values in order to handle situations where information about a problem is incomplete


the matching of user questions and answers to information in a knowledge base within an expert system in order to make a recommendation

Neural networks

an information system that attempts to approximate the functioning of a human brain

Intelligent agent (bot)

a program that works in the background to provide some service when a specific event occurs

User agents

agents that automatically perform a task for a user, such as automatically sending a report at the first of the month, assembling customized news, or filling out a Web form with routine information

Buyer agents

agents that search to find the best price for a particular product you wish to purchase

Monitoring and sensing agents

agents that keep track of key information, such as inventory levels or competitors' prices, notifying the user when conditions change

Data mining agents

agents that continuously analyze large data warehouses to detect changes deemed important by a user, sending a notification when such changes occur

Web crawlers

agents that continuously browse the Web for specific information; also known as Web spiders

Knowledge management

the process an organization uses to gain the greatest value from its knowledge assets

Knowledge assets

the set of skills, routines, principles, formulas, methods, heuristics, and intuitions (both explicit and tacit) used by an organization to improve efficiency, effectiveness, and profitability

Explicit knowledge asset

knowledge asset that can be documented, archived, and codified

Tacit knowledge asset

knowledge assets that reflect the processes and procedures located in employees' minds

Best practices

procedures and processes used by business organizations that are widely accepted as being among the most effective and/or efficient

Knowledge management system

a collection of technology based tools that include communication technologies as well as information storage and retrieval systems to enable the generation, storage, sharing, and management of tacit and explicit knowledge assets

Social network analysis

a technique that attempts to find groups of people who work together, to find people who don't collaborate but should, or to find experts in particular subject areas

Knowledge portals

specific portal used to share knowledge collected into a repository with employees, with customers and suppliers, or the general public


the display of complex data relationships using a variety of graphical methods

Digital dashboards

a display delivering summary information to managers and executives to provide warnings, action notices, and summaries of business conditions

Soft data

textual news stories or other nonanalytical information

Hard data

facts and numbers gathered from organizational databases

Visual analytics

the combination of various analysis techniques and interactive visualizations to solve complex problems

Geographic information system (GIS)

a system for creating, storing, analyzing, and managing geographically referenced information


GIS; resemble a transparency containing different information about an area

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