Business intelligence tools are software applications that are designed primarily to analyze and report on data stored in a database. Metaphorically, BI Software sits atop a database and unlocks the sharing capability (e.g. dashboards, scheduling reports, etc.). Behind the scenes, the BI tool is writing SQL to access a database, and returning the data in its graphical user interface. BI software alone has the following capabilities:
- Access - can connect directly to a database
- Manipulate - provides drag and drop functionality to data analysis
- Sharing - easy to create beautiful visualizations
But, because BI software connects to a database the entire capability spectrum is unlocked with the added advantage of being online and capable of working with large datasets.