Hereafter BI is a type of applications, technology or process that uses to support the decision making. It used for reporting, data mining, benchmarking, business performance management and predictive analytics. In addition there is some areas that can be covered by BI and related too as well which are data warehouse, reporting -analysis and Interactive, Dashboards and Master Data Management (MDM). In fact, BI is not new and some of currently BI in market are implemented by oracle, SAP, IBM and Hewlett Packard (HP).
Business intelligence helps decision makers to identify and solve problems using communication technologies, data, documents, knowledge, and analytical models. Before the 1960s data was stored in paper documents, then computer arrived and data was stored in the computer hardware, floppy... ext. But managing those data was difficult so that in 1969 database was invented to store data about people, products, places so on. But getting those data wasn't straightforward and required lot of expertise. In the 1970s business applications were created to get the data from the data base and provide easy data entry for the data base.
At that point there was a problem; the data was coming from many different locations. And to solve that the data was moved into one centered data warehouse, which was invented and presented in the early 1980s by Ralph Kimball and Bill Inmon. After moving to data ware house, the data was organized managed and easy to access. In 1989 the term 'business intelligence' was born by Howard Dresner. Since 1985 BI vendors started to pop up where they promised more report accessing and data analyzing. At that point BI was the top priority for the CIOs, but there was something still missing. The data was about the systems not the users where the data required accessed provided by IT. That caused a lot of pressure for IT people which made BI vendors to think about creating BI systems with Intuitive access. At that point BI was about usability and turning the data into the right format and be easy to manage by the IT. In 1990s decision makers needed to include unstructured data in their decision that includes the data came from blogs, emails, wiki's, documents, videos and so on, which was the big step in BI world.
The BI itself is a set of technology and application such as J2EE, DOTNET, web services, XML, Storage technology (data warehouse), analysis technology (OLAP, data mining), representation technology, etc. In which at the end support the management to get best information in multiple area in short time for the decision making. There are complete solutions now day in the market such as:
Microsoft Business Intelligence
Give an organization the ability to manage their operational data from their multiple application and database. The main components of BI provided by Microsoft are:
- SQL server 2000 ( core of BI)
- SQL Server Accelerator for BI ( core of BI)
- Office XP ( core of BI)
- Independent Software vender (ISV) solution
In addition other Microsoft technology such as Share Point Portal server, office web component, and Microsoft Project can be added to BI function in order to add visualization and project management.
The SAP Business intelligence
The main components of SAP solution are:
- Enterprise service Architecture (ESA)
- Enterprise Data warehousing (EDW)
- Real-time Data warehousing (RDW)
- Information life cycle management and use of nearline storage
- The Business Intelligent Accelerator (BIA)
- Advance analytic s application
- BI integrated planning
- Composite Application Framework (CAF) and barrier-free application include the following :
- Visual composer
- Data warehousing h workbench (DWB)
SAS Business intelligence
There are three types of SAS products in which they are:
- Web Report studio is a simple web-based query and reporting tool.
- Add-in for Microsoft office user was created to enable user to gain access to power of SAS analytic and easily access SAS and other data types directly from Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Word.
- Enterprise Guide provides a powerful graphical user interface that facilities common task s such as data access, analysis and reporting in a windows environments
As it mentioned before the BI is not a new technology instead it is an integrated solution for business. In some cases it is a challenge of BI application to achieve real business impact.
Here some Pros of using the BI:
- Short time to get any information and decision making.
- Reporting and statistics.
- It is invest on a huge pool of data.
- For best result and it is mandatory requirement to have central updated database in which the administrator should synchronize the sub database to central database or even just built one central database to achieve the BI requirement.
- Simplified graphical presentation of the Key Performance Indicators ( hereafter KPIs) and metrics
- Combination of multiple data sources (ERP,CRM, Spreadsheets, Budgets
- The complexity of use an application for non trained staff.
- The highly cost of the product.
- It is suitable for large wide organization
- It is a need to train the staff in order to use this BI application ,the on-job training is not enough for such system
On other hand the cons of using BI are:
Business intelligence main goal is to have an advantage over competitors by making the right decision using the available data. The company that is implementing BI should put a road map and specify their goals and vision in implementing BI project. The company that whishes to implement BI project should make sure that the BI investments are not wasted by making sure that it have all the important success factors to implement the project.
The company should have a clear vision
The company and the business departments must have a clear understanding of what is the functionality of the business intelligence system and what it can provide. The business departments must state the output and the kind of decisions expected from the business intelligent system and make sure that it is possible,
The company's employees should have a good communication skill
To have successful BI system the company should have good communication and strong links between the IT department and the business departments in the organization. Business departments must collect the requirement of the business department carefully, also the business departments must co-operate and provide all the necessary information's to the IT people.
The company should have dedicated resources
The company that wishes to develop business intelligence system should make sure that it has the resources for it. The resources should include dedicated employees to provide the requirements and employees that have the time and experience to develop and use the system.
The company should have co-operative employees
The development and implementation of business intelligence system can't be successful till it has people willing and looking forward to change. Some of the business departments' employees face difficulties in accepting the change in work process which will reflect in project fail. Thus the company should involve the employees in the early stages of the project and clarify the importance of it for the company.
The future of BI
Business intelligent systems are increasingly used in companies that they will become a core factor in the business process in the future. Business world is getting more global and competitive that business intelligence systems have to be improved to satisfy those changes. Jonathan Wu, senior principal, Knightsbridge Solutions LLC, Chicago predict that "By 2015, BI applications will have evolved to handle structured and unstructured data and will become a component of a broader category called knowledge management" which is consistence with IBM prediction that the future of business intelligence is in including the unstructured information's, analyze it and create information and store it in dynamic automated data warehouse .In addition to that, IBM predicts business intelligent systems to be real time or near-real time analytical system and can be delivered to mobile devices.
Many companies that embracing BI system are hoping that the business intelligence systems will be more user friendly system and can be handled by non professionals business and IT people and can by managed by business employees without the need for technical people. They also added that they are looking for system that can detect mistakes in judgment made by the analyst by imbedding artificial intelligence. They are hoping that the artificial intelligence feature will add the ability to track and learn the analyst's behavior so that it can detect any failure.
The Business intelligence is an investment of IT infrastructure and database. For building BI system there are three typically phases which are Consolidation, Discover, and Sharing. As the BI is become popular in market and many venders have been developed the BI solution in competitive way, any organization shall focus on their specific requirement, business need and kind of analytics and reporting when they try to chose a right BI solution.
- Business Intelligence actionable Insight for Business Decision makers by Don Tapscoll. http://jobsearchtech.about.com/od/techcareersskills/g/BI.htm
- Galileo Press, SAP business intelligence by Egger, Fiechter, Kramer, Swawick, Straub and Weber.
- IEEE, Business Intelligence - a Case study in life Insurance Industry by Zhenming Xu, Mia Zhang, and Xiaodan Jicing.
- Nucleus Research, ROI evaluation Report: Microsoft Business Intelligence.
- Paper TS600, Introdiction to SAS intelligence/ enterprise Guide by Alex Dmitrienko, Ph.D., Eli Lilly and company, Indianapolis, IN.