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9 Business Intelligence Buzzwords That Derail Your BI Software Search

You want to use business intelligence software. You’ve heard that it can save your business money and turn your headache-inducing Excel spreadsheets into sources of value.

If you’re like me, however, you’re intimidated by the business intelligence buzzwords that surround it. The sales speak from software vendors and the buzzword-laden journalism from industry publications can be intimidating to BI newbies.

According to a recent Gartner survey*, only 47% of American small businesses use business intelligence software. This is a result of that buzzword barrier—which you need to break through if you want to shop smart for business intelligence software.

Compare the business intelligence buzzword barrier to the one surrounding a sport such as baseball. If you don’t even know what a strike is, listening to seasoned baseball fans discuss framing pitches and wins above replacement will most likely scare you away. If you learn what the buzzwords mean, however, the jock jargon becomes comprehensible.

Fortunately for you, the same is true for business intelligence software. Figure out what the buzzwords actually mean, and the benefits beneath them are revealed.

In this post:

  • I’ll share nine of the most-used business intelligence buzzwords and phrases and translate them into plain English.
  • I’ll explain how these buzzwords can confuse your software search.
  • I’ll share how you can get past the buzzword barrier and understand what business intelligence software can do for you.

1. Business intelligence

To adapt Bill Cabiró’s definition of business intelligence, BI is getting the right information to the right people at the right time, so they can make the right decisions.

That idea’s at the heart of all the ways “business intelligence” is used. (And it’s used a lot: If words are silly putty, the phrase “business intelligence” has been used so often that it’s stretched to see-through.)

Pretty much any data can be business intelligence, as long as you know how to use it.