My brother in law is a recruiter. He historically recruits salesfolks for companies "in the BI space". I tried to help him out many years ago when I was still on the road playing music, but had absolutely no background to do anything other than plow through the spreadsheet of contacts that he had and try and get a response. Like most witless recruiters. I had no idea what BI was.
Years later, after starting a new job at ABM I still had no idea what BI was. It was something we needed, or something we did, I wasn't really sure. We had a big old database, some stuff was in there, reports came out. Somebody read them. No idea. Didn't seem very intelligent, but apparently it helped with our business, yet most of the time people seemed pissed off at it and the person who ran it.
So here's a quicky definition of "Business Intelligence" for me, 5 years ago.
Companies take in a lot of data. Data can be anything. It can be logs from your webserver. It can be daily dumps from Google Analytics about the traffic on your site. It can be daily dumps from Exact Target or Mailchimp about what emails went out yesterday, on what lists, and which ones were opened, which ones bounced. What videos were played on the sites yesterday? On what kind of browser? Basically it's anything and everything that a business can get their hands on.
Ok, you've got your hands on it, now what? Let's figure out how to figure out what is going on with our business on a macro scale so that the C suite can make decisions and we can all keep our jobs.
This is basically what BI is. Take in data. Munge data. Get answers out of data so that you can run your business.
Obviously today (2016), this is bug business. "Big data", you've heard of that? Very closely related to BI, since the amount of data that we are able to take in these days is so vast that there's no way we could get meaningful answers out of all of it using technology from even just 10 years ago.
Wrangling all this data is a wide open field, and that's where I want to be right now.