Business intelligence(BI) applications are specialized software platforms for creating reporting systems for end users. Modern BI applications include a web-based front end and a clean separation between business view and data view.
BI applications are usually based on upstream data warehouse systems from which they obtain the data for evaluation. With the so-called metadata layer, referred to as catalog, model or universe depending on the manufacturer, a business view is placed on the underlying database, which allows end users to use the data. Modern BI applications include several business-oriented tools, each performing specific tasks.
Examples of such tools include:
- A portal, general front-end application, including for calling pre-built evaluations,
- Evaluation tools, usually designed as professional tools for creating complex evaluations with layout,
- Ad-hoc evaluation tools, mostly designed as simple tools for the quick creation of simple evaluations,
- OLAP analysis tools, mostly designed to evaluate so-called OLAP cubes,
- Scorecarding tools, e.g. for balanced scorecards,
- data mining tools,
- Dashboard and cockpit tools for graphical representation of central key figures,
- Tools for just-in-time data,
- Tools for statistical calculations,
- Event and notification tools,
- Mail dispatch and distribution tools.
Depending on the manufacturer and the orientation of the BI application, different combinations are offered. In addition to the business-oriented tools, BI applications also include tools for server administration, the design of the metadata layer, the creation of BI data structures, e.g. OLAP cubes, and for data integration.
Modern BI applications usually have a web front-end that allows end users to operate all business functions. Special solutions for mobile devices are also offered.