intelligence (BI) is the set of techniques and tools for the transformation of
raw data into meaningful and useful information for business analysis purposes.
BI technologies are capable of handling large amounts of unstructured data to
help identify, develop and otherwise create new strategic business
opportunities. The goal of BI is to allow for the easy interpretation of these
large volumes of data. Identifying new opportunities and implementing an
effective strategy based on insights can provide businesses with a competitive
market advantage and long-term stability.
technologies provide historical, current and predictive views of business
operations. Common functions of business intelligence technologies are
reporting, online analytical processing, analytics, data mining, process
mining, complex event processing, business performance management,
benchmarking, text mining, predictive analytics and prescriptive analytics.
intelligence is made up of an increasing number of components including:
Multidimensional aggregation and
De normalization, tagging and
Real time reporting with analytical
A method of interfacing with
unstructured data sources
Group consolidation, budgeting and
Statistical inference and
Key performance indicators
Version control and process management
Open item management
2 Applications in an enterprise
intelligence can be applied to the following business purposes, in order to
drive business value.
Measurement – program that creates a
hierarchy of performance metrics (see also Metrics Reference Model) and
benchmarking that informs business leaders about progress towards business
goals (business process management).
Analytics – program that builds
quantitative processes for a business to arrive at optimal decisions and to
perform business knowledge discovery. Frequently involves: data mining, process
mining, statistical analysis, predictive analytics, predictive modeling,
business process modeling, data lineage, complex event processing and
Reporting/enterprise reporting –
program that builds infrastructure for strategic reporting to serve the
strategic management of a business, not operational reporting. Frequently
involves data visualization, executive information system and OLAP.
Collaboration/collaboration platform –
program that gets different areas (both inside and outside the business) to
work together through data sharing and electronic data interchange.
Knowledge management – program to make
the company data driven through strategies and practices to identify, create,
represent, distribute, and enable adoption of insights and experiences that are
true business knowledge. Knowledge management leads to learning management and
addition to the above, business intelligence can provide a pro-active approach,
such as alert functionality that immediately notifies the end-user if certain
conditions are met. For example, if some business metric exceeds a pre-defined
threshold, the metric will be highlighted in standard reports, and the business
analyst may be alerted via email or another monitoring service. This end-to-end
process requires data governance, which should be handled by the expert.
3 Prioritization of projects
It can be
difficult to provide a positive business case for business intelligence
initiatives, and often the projects must be prioritized through strategic
initiatives. BI projects can attain higher prioritization within the
organization if managers consider the following:
described by Kimball the BI manager must determine the tangible benefits such
as eliminated cost of producing legacy reports.
access for the entire organization must be enforced. In this way even a small
benefit, such as a few minutes saved, makes a difference when multiplied by the
number of employees in the entire organization.
described by Ross, Weil & Roberson for Enterprise Architecture, managers
should also consider letting the BI project be driven by other business
initiatives with excellent business cases. To support this approach, the
organization must have enterprise architects who can identify suitable business
structured and quantitative methodology to create defensible prioritization in
line with the actual needs of the organization, such as a weighted decision
4 Success factors of implementation
to Kimball et al., there are three critical areas that organizations should
assess before getting ready to do a BI project:
The level of commitment and sponsorship of the
project from senior management
The level of business need for creating a BI
The amount and quality of business data available.
5 Business sponsorship
commitment and sponsorship of senior management is according to Kimball et al.,
the most important criteria for assessment. This is because having strong
management backing helps overcome shortcomings elsewhere in the project.
However, as Kimball et al. state: ―even the most elegantly designed DW/BI
system cannot overcome a lack of business [management] sponsorship‖.
important that personnel who participate in the project have a vision and an
idea of the benefits and drawbacks of implementing a BI system. The best
business sponsor should have organizational clout and should be well connected
within the organization. It is ideal that the business sponsor is demanding but
also able to be realistic and supportive if the implementation runs into delays
or drawbacks. The management sponsor also needs to be able to assume
accountability and to take responsibility for failures and setbacks on the
from multiple members of the management ensures the project does not fail if
one person leaves the steering group. However, having many managers work
together on the project can also mean that there are several different
interests that attempt to pull the project in different directions, such as if
different departments want to put more emphasis on their usage. This issue can
be countered by an early and specific analysis of the business areas that
benefit the most from the implementation. All stakeholders in project should
participate in this analysis in order for them to feel ownership of the project
and to find common ground.
management problem that should be encountered before start of implementation is
if the business sponsor is overly aggressive. If the management individual gets
carried away by the possibilities of using BI and starts wanting the DW or BI
implementation to include several different sets of data that were not included
in the original planning phase. However, since extra implementations of extra
data may add many months to the original plan, it's wise to make sure the
person from management is aware of their actions.
6 Business needs
of the close relationship with senior management, another critical thing that
must be assessed before the project begins is whether or not there is a
business need and whether there is a clear business benefit by doing the
implementation. The needs and benefits of the implementation are sometimes
driven by competition and the need to gain an advantage in the market. Another
reason for a business-driven approach to implementation of BI is the
acquisition of other organizations that enlarge the original organization it
can sometimes be beneficial to implement DW or BI in order to create more
that implement BI are often large, multinational organizations with diverse
subsidiaries. A well-designed BI solution provides a consolidated view of key
business data not available anywhere else in the organization, giving
management visibility and control over measures that otherwise would not exist.
7 Amount and quality of available data
proper data, or with too little quality data, any BI implementation fails; it
does not matter how good the management sponsorship or business-driven
motivation is. Before implementation it is a good idea to do data profiling.
This analysis identifies the ―content, consistency and structure ―of the data.
This should be done as early as possible in the process and if the analysis
shows that data is lacking, put the project on hold temporarily while the IT
department figures out how to properly collect data.
planning for business data and business intelligence requirements, it is always
advisable to consider specific scenarios that apply to a particular
organization, and then select the business intelligence features best suited
for the scenario.
scenarios revolve around distinct business processes, each built on one or more
data sources. These sources are used by features that present that data as
information to knowledge workers, who subsequently act on that information. The
business needs of the organization for each business process adopted correspond
to the essential steps of business intelligence. These essential steps of
business intelligence include but are not limited to:
through business data sources in order to collect needed data
business data to information and present appropriately
the collected data
quality aspect in business intelligence should cover all the process from the
source data to the final reporting. At each step, the quality gates are
Standardization: make data comparable
Management: unique referential
Data Store (ODS):
Cleansing: detect & correct inaccurate data
Profiling: check inappropriate value, null/empty
o Completeness: check that all expected data
integrity: unique and existing referential over all sources
between sources: check consolidated data vs. sources
of indicators: only one share dictionary of indicators
accuracy: local reporting formula should be avoided or checked
A Business Intelligence portal (BI portal) is the
primary access interface for Data Warehouse (DW) and Business Intelligence (BI)
applications. The BI portal is the user's first impression of the DW/BI system.
It is typically a browser application, from which the user has access to all
the individual services of the DW/BI system, reports and other analytical
functionality. The BI portal must be implemented in such a way that it is easy
for the users of the DW/BI application to call on the functionality of the
The BI portal's main functionality is to provide a
navigation system of the DW/BI application. This means that the portal has to
be implemented in a way that the user has access to all the functions of the
The most common way to design the portal is to
custom fit it to the business processes of the organization for which the DW/BI
application is designed, in that way the portal can best fit the needs and requirements
of its users.
The BI portal needs to be easy to use and
understand, and if possible have a look and feel similar to other applications
or web content of the organization the DW/BI application is designed for
The following is a list of desirable features for
web portals in general and BI portals in particular:
User should easily find what they need in the BI
The portal is not just a report printing tool; it
should contain more functionality such as advice, help, support information and
The portal should be designed so it is easily
understandable and not over complex as to confuse the users
The portal should be updated regularly.
The portal should be implemented in a way that
makes it easy for the user to use its functionality and encourage them to use
the portal. Scalability and customization give the user the means to fit the
portal to each user.
It is important that the user has the feeling that
the DW/BI application is a valuable resource that is worth working on.