The term “Business Intelligence” and its acronym “BI” are sopervasive in today's data-intensive lexicon that it's a challengeto know just what to make of it. If you add in all the new trendyterminology such as business process management (BPM), data mining,data warehousing, business process automation, decision supportsystems, query and reporting systems, enterprise performancemanagement, executive information systems (EIS), business activitymonitoring (BAM), modeling and visualization, and so forth, yourhead can start spinning.

Here is a workable definition of BI that was provided in aTechnology Evaluation report from a Jan. 10, 2005, TechnologyEvaluation Centers article by Mukhles Zaman titled, “BusinessIntelligence: Its Ins and Outs”: “BI is neither a product nor asystem. It is an umbrella term that combines architectures,applications and databases. It enables the real-time, interactiveaccess, analysis and manipulation of information, which providesthe business community with easy access to business data.

Given this modest objective, SMB companies must filter throughthe hype emanating from many BI application vendors who claim thatthey should invest in higher-priced, industrial-strength BIsolutions to achieve their goals. Below, we will attempt to dispelsome of these myths and offer some guidance on how to make theright purchasing and implementation decisions for yourbusiness.

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