Intelligence is that one quality of us wherein it helps us ask the right questions, take right decisions and helps in the attainment of growth. If the same intelligence helps a business grow by helping the decision makers take the right decisions at the right time with the right information supporting the decision, then that’s Business Intelligence.
So, Business Intelligence is that process or technology or application that provides the right database or information to the right person at the right time to take a right decision for the success of the business. Saying this, data is not information. Data is just codes and numbers but, information is the right way to put across the answer to a question that is asked.
How Do We Get Data?
We get data through the various applications we use in our business for different operations. The data from these applications are stored in the form of numbers and codes.
How Do We Understand Numbers and Codes?
The answer is you don’t. If we need to understand them then we have to know a special language or SQL, but not everyone can do it. So these data are transformed into information by these BI applications or processes and transformed into knowledge which helps in taking the right decisions.
What Does The BI Do?
The BI is actually a customized process according to the requirements of a business and it’s not common for all the businesses. BI is customized in such a way that it has to answer the most important decision making questions from the past to the future like:
1. What happened?
2. What is happening?
3. Why did it happen?
4. What will happen?
5. What do I want to happen?
So by answering these questions it helps the decision makers or the employees take relevant and right decisions that help in the betterment of the company.
The Stages of BI:
The Data – Process where the data is segregated as relevant and irrelevant and loaded into the systems. It is also analyzed in this stage using an analytical process (OLAP – Online Analytical Processing) or through transactional process (OLTP – Online Transactional Processing) or through SQL, Oracle and more.
The ETL – Extract the data, Transform the data and Load the data into the Data Warehouse. It’s a complex step that involves modification of the data and any error in this stage might result in the BI being ineffective.
Data warehousing – It is the stage where the data received from different operations and multiple sources is stored in a single space which helps in finding any data easily regardless of the operation or the source.
Data Mining – It’s the process of extracting patterns from the data. It is done on a sample of data. But if the sample of data is not a good representation of the big data present then the process will be ineffective. It will not be able to extract the patterns from the larger data since the samples did not have the patterns of the larger data.
Presentation layer – This is where the BI is used by the User in the form of reports, dashboards, alerts and more. It contains the results from the analysis performed during the above stages.
The Mega Vendors of BI:
Oracle – OBIEEE
SAP – Business objects
Microsoft SQL BI Suite
Pentaho – Open Source Alternative.
So this is the overview of Business Intelligence and the process under it and going in depth of BI, there’s more to learn.