Given the wide recognition of business intelligence (BI) over the last 20 years, we performed a literature review on the concept from a managerial perspective. We analysed 103 articles related to BI in the period 1990 to 2010. We found that BI is defined as a process, a product, and as a set of technologies, or a combination of these, which involves data, information, knowledge, decision making, related processes and technologies that support them. Our findings show that the literature focuses mostly on data and information, and less on knowledge and decision making. Moreover, in relation to the processes there is a substantial amount of literature about gathering and storing data and information, but less about analysing and using information and knowledge, and almost nothing about acting (making decisions) based on intelligence. The research literature has mainly focused on technologies and neglecting the role of the decision maker. We conclude by synthesizing a unified definition of BI and identifying possible future research streams.



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