Business Intelligence


Author: Grzegorz Goli


The shortest definition of Business Intelligence (BI) might be the following: any tool, process or activity that can be used for obtaining the best information of supporting the decision-making process.
For purpose of data management is concentrated around putting the power of computing to work in order to make the best possible choices for a given organization. But as the IT branch is constantly increasing nowadays, new definitions of BI emerge, and, depending on the context within which the term is defined, they are less likely to resemble each other.

How does Business Intelligence work?

Business Intelligence is searching through a company's data and selecting information it can use to provide users with valuable insight into different areas of the operation.
Can you imagine how long it might take you to find certain piles of paper to come up with the same answers to answer a business question? There isn't enough time in the day to complete the chores you already have. If your company is looking to be 'smarter' than the competition, then for certain Business Intelligence is where it should invest...

Is your business as intelligent as it should be?

Have you ever pictured all aspects of your business being tied together to monitor your clientele, keep tabs on your financial situation, and make sure that your supply chain is never interrupted?
If your answer is 'no', then you should start looking for the consultants who can make that start and running in your firm. Because without that the company might be not working properly. To have it right, people who run the business need to know exactly what Business Intelligence is and what are the top players on the Business Intelligence tools market.

We need to constantly looking for other ways to make our decision making process easier at every stage. Because the key factor here is time and time plays the main role as it is money for businesses and business intelligence helps improve that process.

Business Intelligence defined

Despite generally defining Business Intelligence as acurate, timely, high-value and actionable (not in the legal way) insights in the business as well as technologies and processes leading to obtain them, there is no single set of protocols, processes and hardware/software options to define it once and for all.
Technological evolution is still on and differences can be seen between companies and depend on a current situation. What stays constant is the purpose of BI - to produce acurate, timely, high-value and actionable data.

Business Intelligence as a concept is not new; enterprises have been trying for a long time to have their systems pressed into service for the purpose of producing more valuable strategic insights.
From not-so-distant past come acronyms preceding the actual BI, which stand for the support of information management, such as DSS (Decision Support Systems), EIS (Executive Information Systems), MDS (Management Decision Systems), MIS (Management Information Systems) and so on. They all helped to establish a new way in decision-making processes.

It is also important to give explanation to the term insight. Insights are the ultimate goals for all authors, vendors and IT consultans when beginning the BI project. They are sometimes called 'moments of clarity' that push forward the whole undertaking. When a business insight is delivered by BI, it is possible to look at a previously hidden fact or aspect of the organization.

    According to Business Intelligence characteristics, four criteria must be met for the process to succeed:
  • Right answers - it is required that Business Intelligence represent the closest possible thing to truth, not only to give best resluts, but also to protect its quality and reputation in the company. When there is no accuracy, insights, being the product of Business Intelligence, are simply worthless. It is always harmful to the company and diminishes trust to BI for the future.
  • Insights of good value - as BI's role is to produce information with material impact on the comapny, insights of high value are not deduced easily, especially when analyses are not readily available. It is worth remembering that although BI insights are not necessarily obvious, they have a great impact on their environment.
  • Information on time - since all steps in the BI process take time, timeliness is an equally important quality to any other. For the output of a Business Intelligence process to be relevant, time intervals have to be relatively small.
  • Actionable conclusions - feasible course is required to take advantage of any given situation in the company. Moving from conclusion to action means for insights to be actionable.

Business Intelligence components

Basically Business Intelligence covers the following areas and is related to:

  • Data warehousing
  • ETL and Data Integration
  • Reporting, Analysis and Interactive Dashboards
  • Enterprise Performance Management - it broadens the traditional business intelligence concept by such terms as scorecarding, planning and budgeting
  • Enterprise Resource Planning software
  • Master Data Management (MDM)
  • Metadata management

Business Intelligence resources

Cognos BI
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Business Intelligence software products
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Business Intelligence dashboard
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It is just about communication blog
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On Demand Analysis
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Business Intelligence knowledge
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Recommended books on business intelligence
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The Business Intelligence Tools Survey
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