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Business intelligence software is a type of application software designed to finding the meaning in data by reporting, analyzing and presenting information. Business intelligence software generally taps the data that have been previously generated and stored from other business processes.

There are a number of different categories of business intelligence software.

Spreadsheets are a type of business intelligence software that simulates a paper worksheet. Spreadheets typically display multiple cells containing alphanumeric text or numeric values in a grid of row and columns. For business intelligence software purposes, one of the key attributes of a spreadsheet cell is that it may contain a formula that defines how the contents of that cell is to be calculated from the contents of any other cell (or combination of cells) whenever any cell is updated.

Reporting and querying software are business intelligence software tools that extract, sort, summarize, and present selected data.

Online analytical processing, or OLAP, is a business intelligence software approach to quickly answering multi-dimensional analytical queries. The typical applications of this type of business intelligence software are in business reporting for sales, marketing, management reporting, business process management (BPM), budgeting and forecasting, financial reporting and similar areas.

Another type of business intelligence software is digital dashboards. This is a high level executive information system that allows to managers to see critical information about an enterprise at a glance.

Data mining is a business intelligence software process that aims at extracting patterns from data. With some sources estimating that the amount of data available to a busienss doubles every three years, data mining has becoming an increasingly important tool to transform raw data into useful information. Data mining is often used in practices, such as marketing analysis, surveillance, fraud detection, and scientific discovery.

Process mining is a business intelligence software strategy that analyzes business processes based on event logs recorded by information systems. Process mining aims at improving this by providing techniques and tools for discovering process, control, data, organizational, and other structures from event logs.

Business performance management consists of a suite of business intelligence software techniques processes that enable businesses to define strategic goals and then measure and manage performance against those goals. These processes include financial and operational planning, consolidation and reporting, business modeling, analysis, and monitoring of key performance indicators. Other, unlisted types of business intelligence software may also be available.