MSBI : BI # 12: Business Intelligence – Tools & Theory # 4 : Business Intelligence an Introduction #3 – BI system, Factors, Real time, Applications of BI

Hi Geeks,

This post is part of Series Business Intelligence – Tools & Theory

Currently running topic for this series is listed as below :

Series Business Intelligence – Tools & Theory

>>Chapter 1 : Business Intelligence an Introduction <You are here>

Continuing from my previous post on this series, If you have missed any link please visit link below

We are going to Cover the Following Points in this article

  • Defining Value of Business Intelligence System
  • Factors of Business Intelligence System
  • Real time Business Intelligence
  • Business Intelligence Applications

Defining Value of Business Intelligence System

Organisations analyse on business data through spreadsheets. These spreadsheets are costly and are in the hands of few employees. BI applications are effortless to use and build information more available. Thus most organisations follow BI strategy.

Example: The Changing Market Dynamics in the Pharmaceutical Industry

There is a huge competition in healing areas such as oncology and generic drug manufacturer‟s competition is in the broader healing classes such as cardiovascular (CV). In addition to new views of the marketplace, market research, sales operations and IT organisations are being challenged to reduce the cost of doing business.

There can be dozens of separate BI and reporting systems following business operations.

The next section of this unit will look at a common framework to identify value metrics for BI solutions. This framework defines value based on the factors of accuracy, relevancy and timeliness.

Factors of Business Intelligence System


The most important parameter in BI is accuracy. There are few key questions to be followed:

· The internal data sources for the BI system accurate or not?

· The proper business rules in place to ensure data accuracy?

· Have you reviewed the data capture and forecasting practices of your third-party data providers?

Many pharmaceutical organisations purchase third-party data on physician perceptions and hospital-to-doctor relationships, Pharmaceutical organisations should validate their vendors‟ data capture practices and forecasting methodologies.


Business intelligence system relevancy is a major problem for many organisations.

There are few key questions to be followed:

· Is the system aligned to strategic operations and goals of the organisations?

· Is the information being provided by the BI system relevant to the end- user community?

To maximise the value of business intelligence efforts, pharmaceutical organisations should explore use-case scenarios by functional role when implementing a BI platform.


The key component for determining value for BI solutions depends on the timelines.

There are few key questions to be followed:

· Is the data being provided in a timeframe?

· Is the report being distributed to sales management in time to affect call plans and physician messaging?

· Is the value relevant for the data delivery cycle?

· How many more decision points can the BI solution support for the brand and sales teams?

· If the data is delivered to the end user in time, will it be an advantage to make better business decision.

· Is there a critical business effort such as a new product/drug launch that could benefit from earlier prescribed insights?

As a best practice, business intelligence managers should review the use- case scenarios of their reporting and BI solutions and apply timelines to the decision trees within the business process records.

Real time Business Intelligence

In this competitive world, with high consumer expectation, the decisions that are based on the most current data available will improve the customer relationships, increase income and maximise the operational efficiencies. Example: Finance department‟s data is moved from transaction systems to a “staging post” before it is analysed, but for a few, this can produce some problems when it comes to month-end reporting. Periodical entries may take some time to be moved from functioning to analytical data stores and that can make reconciling ledger accounts challenging.

To tackle such shortcomings, many business intelligence suppliers are starting to offer "real-time" financial analytical systems, which give finance directors immediate access to data on their production or transactions systems, without waiting for the data a to load into the data warehouse. The result is Real-time business intelligence (RTBI). It maintains the current state of the enterprise. The RTBI provides real-time strategic support to force project performance that reacts to immediate events. It replaces both the traditional data warehouse and the project application integration functions.

To turn data into information, companies need a three steps process. They are:

· Data Warehouse (DW): The companies need a place for data to reside and rules on how the data should be structured.

· Business Intelligence: The companies need a way to slice and dice the data and generate reports.

· Analytics: The companies need to extract the data, analyse trends, uncover opportunities, find new customer segments, and so forth.

The haste of today‟s dealing out systems has stirred conventional data warehousing into the area of real-time. The effect is real-time business intelligence. Business contacts as they take place are placed to a real-time industry intelligence system that maintains the current state of the enterprise. The RTBI system provides a real-time tactical support to drive enterprise actions that react immediately to events as they occur.

Data warehousing7 solves a strategic need of the enterprise. It manipulates huge amounts of information via data-mining to derive new information and knowledge of an enterprise‟s operations.

It supports strategic goals such as:

· Reducing costs

· Increasing sales

· Improving profits

Example: Some credit card companies permit a consumer to get approval for specified amounts via cell phone to ensure that the purchase is covered. This type of approval (preauthorisation) by the credit card company must have enough balances for its customers. The type of consumer support, which retains a customer to the bank for a longer time, is real-time business intelligence.

Business Intelligence Applications

Now a day‟s business faces enormous market pressure to compete and recognise business opportunities and potential threats. It requires the ability to make informed decisions in a time frame. Business Intelligence (BI) Applications have evolved as a means for businesses to skilfully respond against these forces.

BI is an application and technology for gathering storing, analysing, and providing access to data to help project users to take better business decisions. It serves a particular focused purpose. A purpose may be defined by user communities, tool/analysis functionality, or business process.

At times BI applications are very isolated, having been built with platforms and tools, that are quite dissimilar than the other tools in the organisation.

Example: Financial Planning Applications, which use specialised tools for a certain set of users.

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