MSBI : BI # 13: Business Intelligence – Tools & Theory # 5 : Business Intelligence Essentials #1 – Introduction & Objectives of Business Intelligence Essentials with Business Intelligence Environment

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

>>Chapter 2 : Business Intelligence Essentials <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

  • Introduction & Objectives of Business Intelligence
  • What is Business Intelligence Environment?
  • Creating Business Intelligence Environment

Introduction & Objectives of Business Intelligence

Business Intelligence is a concept of converting large amounts of corporate data into useful information. BI is becoming an important strategic tool in overall business management. An independent IT research firm reveals that BI has excelled security as the top technology precedence in 2006.

BI is becoming a strategic tool to help people lead, measure, optimise, discover and innovate to modify their overall business. The challenge in BI is to access the right information at the right time and transform it into knowledge to make smart decisions. BI can be described as a technology that enables companies to gain insight into their business data to better understand the advancement in business. BI includes all solutions, tools and features which enable users to gain insight into the business of a firm.

Thus, BI provides the ability to access information in a format that is common to various multiple sources. It provides a means to measure the

objectives and analyse the cross departmental information. This identifies the quality of the organisation’s customers. It also helps in keeping track of the behaviour of the customers that ensures efficiency in services and relationships.

This unit deals with Business Essentials which is a concept of converting large amounts of corporate data into useful information.

BI is considered to be the follower of Business Transaction Application(s) and Collaborative Applications, which normally work together to support daily business operations. The core objective of BI is to monitor the reports, and analyses the business operations. BI is not involved in running business operations, but involves in looking for ways to make those operations more efficient and more effective.

Learning Objectives

After studying this unit, you will be able to:

· Describe Business Intelligence.

· Analyse an environment for Business Intelligence.

· Elucidate Business Intelligence as a process.

· List out the process types of Business Intelligence.

· Analyse the role of Business Intelligence in modern business.

What is Business Intelligence Environment?

BI environment is a terminology representing a collection of processes, tools and technologies helpful in achieving more profit by considerably improving the productivity, sales and service of an enterprise. Using BI techniques, corporate data is analysed, organised and converted into useful information. This information is then used to initiate a profitable business action.

BI environment is basically comprised of Data Warehousing Infrastructure (which primarily involves the creation of data model, data marts, Extract Transform Load (ETL) and the tools needed to transform data), query analysis and reporting environment.

Creating Business Intelligence Environment

We have studied about BI environment in the previous section. Let us discuss about how to create a BI environment.

Implementing Business Intelligence is a farseeing process. It requires a lot of analysis and investment. A typical business environment involves business models, data models, data source, and Extract Transform Load (ETL) tools needed to transform and organise the data into useful information.

Setting up a BI environment not only relies on tools and techniques, it also requires skilled business people with business knowledge to drive a firm in the right direction. This includes analysing business requirements, setting up the targets, analysing and defining processes. The next step is to determine the kind of data required to analyse the source and target of the data, defining how to integrate the data for the firm’s business intelligence and gathering the tools and techniques to achieve this goal.

The nature of Business Intelligence is changing the demands of global economy for both companies and governments. It is North America that has dominated BI technology and application in the past few decades. Several other companies are evolving BI in unique ways to their local situation. Globalisation plays an important role in creating a BI environment.

The depicts a sample BI environment.


Figure BI Environment

As shown in the figure in BI environment you can represent the data structure and their relationships in the form of data model. In this phase, data is stored in different sources like Relational databases and File sources. Once the data is stored, the ‘Extraction, Transformation and Loading’ (ETL) processes associated with extracting the source data, transforming that data and finally loading the data into a data warehouse takes place.

Data marts can be derived from a data warehouse or built for the purpose of BI directly from the source like data warehouse. Data marts are constructed from dimensional data models.

Online Analytical Processing (OLAP) is a technique used to source data from a data warehouse or data mart and is summarised to provide perspective multidimensional view across multiple dimensions.

You are now familiar with the BI environment. It is important to discuss the advantages and need for BI in an organisation. Let us look at the advantages and the need for BI.

BI has many advantages. BI serves as a tool to examine performance, strategic and statistical planning and develop future statistical plans. The advantages of BI are many. It:

· Identifies and understands the relationship between business processes and performance.

· Monitors the vital business indicators like crucial operational metrics and current status and trend of essential financial status.

Need for BI:

Let us now discuss the need for BI.

Today’s world is a competitive world with struggling economy and shrinking landscape. In such a world it is important to make effective business decisions based on complete data. Implementation of BI helps organisations in making business decisions and makes them feel comfortable that they are provided with the proper tools and data required to believe in their decisions. Even well planned and executed data warehouse architecture can fail without a proper BI solution.

BI provides users with the information which is required to make the most effective decisions for their organisations. Hence, BI can be called as a decision support system or a database. It also provides relevant data about the organisations details, such as customers, products, and services. It is obvious that when a person can access this information quickly and at ease to take appropriate action or make a right decision, business success is indicated.


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