MSBI : BI # 14: Business Intelligence – Tools & Theory # 6 : Business Intelligence Essentials #2 – Business Intelligence Landscape & Platform with Dynamic roles

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

  • Business Intelligence Landscape
  • Business Intelligence Platform
  • Dynamic Roles in BI

Business Intelligence Landscape

We have discussed BI environment. In this section we will discuss the components of BI. This will help in analysing how BI is capable of providing added insights and how BI can be used efficiently within an organisation. The role of each component of BI and how they fit together is discussed in this section. The components of BI are collectively called Business Intelligence Landscape (BIL).

BIL consists of the following component stack:

· Data Warehousing & BI Architecture: Common BI deployments require the development and maintenance of a data warehouse. Data warehouse acts as a channel between operational data stores, gaining business insights and managing overall organisational performance. Data warehouse is a database that stores business-related information.

This information can be manipulated and extrapolated to allow the organisations to analyse information without affecting operational data stores.

· Data Integration & Data Management: The process by which the data stored in a data warehouse is integrated is done in this phase. Data management deals with how to get data into the data warehouse. The common technique followed is use of ETL tools to get data. Apart from this, data management also deals with formatting data, reducing redundancy, managing data to provide better quality and so on.

· Analytic Layer: In analytic layer, the transformation of data takes place.

The data stored within the data infrastructure is transformed to information that can be analysed further. Algorithms are developed to store and maintain data to provide users with easy access to the information stored in the data warehouse.

· Presentation Layer: This is the visualisation component of BI. It reflects how business users get value out of the above mentioned solutions. Through interactive user interfaces such as dashboard, the end users can slice and dice, and access information through interactive visualisations. The presentation layer is what makes BI worthy to an organisation.

The overall BI stack is a combination of the above mentioned components. Organisations usually require all the layers for information analysis. As technology has improved, data warehouses and dashboards can be deployed separately to address unique business challenges.

On the whole, the ability to gain proper insights into the performance of an organisation, product or service, requires the identification of information that supports the business functions, how that information needs to be collected, analysed and presented. The presentation layer gives the decision makers the access to business data and the ability to make informed decisions. This decision leads to the overall improvement in business efficiencies.

Business Intelligence Platform

In this section, we will discuss BI platform.

Traditionally, BI systems have been associated with high costs. It requires significant investment in hardware and software, and expensive skills training. A new generation of solutions based on the Microsoft Business intelligence platform has helped bring BI within the reach of information workers in organisations. There are three factors that make BI available across users within an organisation that empowers many individuals.

The factors are:

· The initial investment and the administrative costs associated with the system.

· The ease to use and integrate a desktop productivity.

· The intranet application tools and solutions built on the Microsoft BI Platform.

BI is the means by which organisations interpret the ocean of data to derive insights that are critical to compete in the world economy.

Business Intelligence Platform allows you to rapidly extract information from corporate systems and database. It allows user to query, report, analyse and share within and beyond the organisation for more effective tracking, understanding and managing the business operations. BI platform provides the foundation for end-to-end solutions that provide both advanced data management and easy to use analysis and reporting tools.

Microsoft’s Business Intelligence Centre of Excellence team BICOE is one of the service organisations dedicated to helping different groups within

the benefit of the company from the spectrum of database and reporting tools available across the enterprise.

BI Platform capability environment outlines details of BI platform ability. It also evaluates the BI platform services and products.

BI platform is categorised into three areas. They are as follows:

1. Information Delivery

2. Integration

3. Analysis

1. Information Delivery: It includes Reporting, Dashboards, Ad Hoc

Query, and Microsoft Office Integration.

2. Integration: It includes BI Infrastructure, Metadata Management, Development Environment, Workflow and Collaboration.

3. Analysis: It includes OLAP, Visualisation, Predictive Modeling and data

Mining, Scorecarding.

Dynamic Roles in BI

You are now familiar with BI platform. Let us now look at some dynamic roles in BI.

Measurable Business Intelligence refers to a broad category of applications and technologies for gathering, providing access and analysing data for the purpose of assisting enterprise users to make better business decisions.

Business intelligence tends to be a cryptic function as it is an entangled process that calls for employees with specialised knowledge and skill both in business and technology.

Business Intelligence plays an important role in tomorrow’s ever changing global competitive business environment. To meet those needs future BI systems have to be proactive and persuasive. There are a number of Business Intelligence applications in the market today. For example Microsoft Office suite, SAP Applications, and Oracle applications, have helped manage business intelligence. A large number of firms are providing BI Software as a Services (SAAS) Or On-demand business intelligence services. It is increasingly gaining popularity among small and mid-sized companies. Over the last few years BI has been gradually growing in importance and in future, organisations will depend only on real-time information related to their business for smarter decision making. Real-time business intelligence can be defined as the process of delivering information on business operations.

Many private and public sector organisations spend billions to sustain over the next five to ten years. This process involves high investment and detailed performance and a clear return on investment. The process also depends on clear reporting processes that deliver accurate results to stakeholders. Many organisations when beginning their sustainability journey should start by questioning ‘Where is the enormous opportunity for sustainability investment?’

Every organisation is different from others, but measuring sustainability and monitoring for improvements is the first step towards being sustainable. Another important part of every organisation is working with stakeholders (Stakeholders can be employees, shareholders, customers, non- government organisations (NGO’s) or other partners).

Stake holders have considerable power and influence through investments. There are opportunities to positively collaborate with stakeholders by demonstrating transparency in environmental and social performance. There are a number of factors related to the success of a company. All factors cannot be chosen as the indicators. Only those that are mission critical, strictly adhering to the organisational goals and accurately measurable should be selected as the company’s Key Performance Indicators2 (KPIs). It is always better to keep the number of KPIs to a minimum.

Many important factors should be considered while selecting a KPI. It should:

· Be quantifiable in terms of numbers.

· Reflect the organisational goals.

· Drive a business towards success.

· Actionable, that is to help the managers to initiate some business action as a result of all the analysis and measures lead by KPI.

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