Business Intelligence (BI)

Business Intelligence is the process of discovering and analyzing data to make informed business decisions. The management in any business needs this aspect of management as part of the companies integral infrastructure in today’s world in order for the business to succeed. The data collected from many of the data collecting sources is used to determine trends, or measure, manage and improve on the performances of individuals, processes, teams and business units. The enterprise refers to any business organisation that uses computers as an integral part of their business and relies on it for that businesses development.

Business Intelligence (BI)

The History Of Business Intelligence

The term Business Intelligence was coined by the Gartner group in mid-1990s. But Business Intelligence was around before that, it originated in the Management Information Systems reporting systems of the 1970s. Reports in this era was only two fold, there was no analytical dimension to reporting. In the early 1980s, Executive Information Systems emerged. This introduced ad hoc (on demand) reporting forecasting, prediction, trend analysis, drill down to details, status access and critical success factors. It was available to top level managers who were the ones to make decisions for the businesses future. Some of the capabilities from the 1990s appeared in products along with some new ones and it was called Business Intelligence. A good Business Intelligence based enterprise information system contains all the information executives need. By 2005 Business Intelligence systems started to include artificial intelligence capabilities and more powerful analytical capabilities. The most sophisticated Business Intelligence Products include most of these capabilities.

The Architecture of Business Intelligence

A Business Intelligence system has four major components;

  1. Data Warehouse: This is a main aspect of Business Intelligence. It is a discipline that results in applications that provide decision support capability, allows ready access to business information and creates business insight. The three main types of data warehouses are data marts, operational data stores and enterprise data warehouse. As the name suggest it’s a warehouse of data. A data warehouse is a pool of data produced to support decision making, as it contains current and historical data. This data is not or should not be haphazard data it should be concise and organise. The data should be structured in a form ready for analytical processing activities. A data warehouse is a subject oriented, integrated, time-variant, non-volatile collection of data in support of management decision-making process.
  2. Business Analytics: This area encompasses the major aspect of Business Intelligence. The end user work with the data and information in the warehouse using tools of Reports and queries, Advance analytics, Data, text and Web mining. Reports and queries involve both static and dynamic reporting any different types of queries. The Business Analytics is the analysis of the data, using a broad category of applications and techniques for gathering storing and analyzing and providing access to data to help enterprise users make better business decisions. BA allows the automating of the thinking and a portion of decision making of the manager. It uses complex quantitative techniques, such as multivariate regression analysis, data mining, artificial intelligence or nonlinear programming.
  3. Business Performance Management: This is an emerging portfolio of applications and methodology that contains evolving Business Intelligence Architecture and tools in its core. It extends the monitoring, measuring and comparing of sales, profit, cost, profitability and other performance indicators buy introducing the concept of management and feedback. One of its core tenets is planning and forecasting BPM provides a top-down enforcement of corporate-wide strategy.
  4. User Interface: This is the dashboard and other information broadcasting tools. The dashboards provide a comprehensive visual view of corporate performance measures trends, and expectations. They integrate information from multiple business areas and present them in a graphical form. They show graphs that show actual performance compared to desired matrices. Another tool is a corporate portal, digital cockpits and other visualization tools. These tools range from multidimensional cube presentation to virtual reality.

How To Use Business Intelligence 

Organisations are being compelled to capture, understand and harness their data support decision making in order to improve business operations. Businesses now have to move with the times in which they operate. The business cycle times are now extremely compressed; faster, more informed and better decision making is therefore a competitive imperative. The nature of any business is to make money, and in order to do so you must have a competitive edge. To be ahead of the competition so that the business can be successful. So the right information at the right time and in the right place is what will make or break a business in this era.

Because of the complexity of the methodologies for assessing the business value of Business Intelligence. It may prove a little difficult for a business to use the right tool and harness the correct data. The reason that the methodologies are so complex is because the benefits of Business Intelligence are intangible and so difficult to measure and the Data Warehousing is an infrastructure that serves many applications.

To implement a successful Business Intelligence tool into a business it is advised that a framework for planning be a necessary precondition, to implementation. At the business and organizational levels, it is important to define strategic and operational objectives. The management needs to consider a number of issues; these include the culture surrounding Business Intelligence in the business, building enthusiasm for the initiatives of the business and procedures for the intra-organizational sharing of Business Intelligence Best practices.

The management needs to asses the Information System and the skills of the personnel in that area, if the results of these assessments are favorable the company then proceeds with a plan.

 

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