In its original state, Business Intelligence (BI) existed as a “reporting function” that delivered summaries of historical operational data to decision makers. The summaries provided were beneficial at one time, as they paved the way for future corporate spending decisions.
In today’s ever-evolving digital economy in which retailers operate, the past and its associated data no longer provide an adequate guide to predict the future. This primitive BI approach can be compared to driving a car by looking in the rear-view mirror; the driver attempts to anticipate the terrain in front of the car based on what has been experienced and observed in the past. Instead, retailers must identify predictive analytics within their BI infrastructure that help answer the “what if” questions relating to the future.