02 Definitions

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Business Intelligence

This term is usually used by software vendors to describe systems that summarise and present data from transactional systems (e.g. sales order system).

Business Performance Measurement

This is the general term for the field of measuring aspects of business performance – also a discipline within academic business studies.


A dashboard is typically a computer screen that shows various PIs or KPIs as they are collected – often in the context of a time-series chart.

Indicator, measure and metric

These words tend to be used interchangeably – essentially a quantity representing some aspect of the business. However, Pike and Roos distinguish “measurement systems” as being more formal and reliable than “indicators” which they seem to regard as a quick and dirty alternative. In [Business Peformance Measurement Ed. Neely]. Also, implicit in the word “indicator” is that it shows you something about the business.

Performance Indicator (PI), Key Performance Indicator (KPI)

Indicators that tell you how well the company is performing. A Key Performance Indicator tells you something crucial about the business.


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