Business Intelligence (BI) like many other “data terms” has many different meanings to different people, but most would agree that BI is the use of strategic business data to improve the bottom line of any organization. The term BI is used to refer to the analytic reporting or application system of strategic data housed in one or more “data stores.”
Before diving into BI, let’s start with the backbone of such systems which is the analytical database. This data is usually stored in one or more analytical database instances such as in Data Warehouses, Data Marts or Operational Data Stores. These data stores are special purpose databases that are designed for analytical reporting Online Analytical Processing (OLAP) versus the daily transactional reporting systems Online Transactional Processing (OLTP). Analytical databases contain data from the daily transaction systems that has been massaged specifically for analytical purposes. Unfortunately, many organizations make the mistake of using the same designs, knowledge and techniques used by transactional databases when using the same data for analytical or transactional purposes.
At the core of these data stores are usually one or more Data Warehouses which support the analytical needs of multiple corporate entities. This type of analytical data store is very complex and must support rapid availability of analytical data for many different purposes and people. The Data Mart on the other hand usually contains data to support a specific business process or business entity. The Operational Data Store is yet another analytical database that is used for transient types of data for event analysis or time-varied states.
There are many challenges in designing data stores for OLAP and the infrastructure architecture must be designed by an expert to ensure the integrity of the data, the responsiveness of the systems and synchronization of data throughout the complete organization. The success of any Business Intelligence / Data Warehouse system(s) is based on the strength of the Data Infrastructure within the organization, a very complex architecture of processes and technologies. Done correctly, it will help to avoid incorrect data from being used by critical business processes and eliminate the added expense and time required to completely redesign and rebuild the systems.
BI is usually combined with other advanced reporting technologies (e.g. Enterprise Performance Management (EPM), Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Operational Intelligence (OI) to provide a complete view of the business, product, performance or customer and to model strategic business changes. Organizations with a mature BI program may take advantage of BI and other analytics to improve their business processes.
Business Intelligence is somewhat of a “catch all” term for a complex solution that includes three components of which are 1) an advanced analytical front-end tool or application, 2) an advanced analytical database and 3) a plethora of back-end technologies and processes unseen to the general stakeholder.
The front-end visualization component is sometimes referred as the reporting system or “analytics”, and may consist of many different visualization tools, each usually geared to a specific type of reporting that the individual stakeholder may require. Depending on the maturity level of the BI program in place, the group of stakeholders may require one or more of the following type of BI Reporting systems:
- Standard Query Tool Reporting – Used for simple tabular adhoc reporting on static business history (real view mirror reporting)
- Analytics and Mathematical Modeling – Such as Sales Intelligence, Market Intelligence, Customer Intelligence, Forecasting, Price Optimization, Risk Modeling, Segmentation, Propensity and Research Discovery (combines historical trending information with current state and projected state information)
- Real-Time Monitoring and Alerting Systems – Business Activity Monitoring (BAM) (used to track business workflow activities such as Call Center Analytics or Loan Operations)
- Advanced Business Process Systems – Corporate Performance Management (CPM) and Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) (used to track business process goals and performance, forecasted to actual and projected)
Dataversal has mastered the techniques to harness the power of this data management and reporting technology for a competitive advantage in businesses of all sizes and industries. In addition to consultation, we offer a full range of Business Intelligence and Data Warehouse Product Offering solutions designed to lessen the experience, cost and time required to deploy Business Intelligence and Data Warehousing in your organization.