A business intelligence (BI) system is a key component of a company's IT framework. It is the component that enables business users to report on, analyze and optimize business operations to reduce costs and increase revenues. Most companies use this component for strategic and tactical decision making where the decision-making cycle may span a time period of several weeks (e.g., campaign management) or months (e.g., improving customer satisfaction).

Competitive pressures, however, are forcing companies to react faster to changing business conditions and customer requirements. As a result, there is now a need to use BI to help drive and optimize business operations on a daily basis, and, in some cases, even for intraday decision making. This type of BI is usually called operational business intelligence.

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