Business Intelligence is the process of identifying, extracting, transforming, and presenting information to enable business users to improve the decision-making process.
Business Intelligence provides the historical, current, and predictive view of business operations
Business Intelligence Components
1. Data Warehouse
A data warehouse becomes the central reference point for reporting and analytics in an organisation.
The main feature of a data warehouse is the consolidation of data from various data sources. The data sources can be any form of structured data such as transactional databases, spreadsheets, and text files.
Data warehouses are frequently updated using ETL tools
ETL is the acronym for “Extract – Transform – Load”, which describes the foundation activity of a Business Intelligence project.
An ETL activity begins with extracting raw data from a data source, transforming the raw data received, and finally loading the transformed data in the data warehouse.
This process is completely automated and runs at specified intervals to insert new data into the data warehouse and update existing data where this is appropriate.
A key element of the ETL is that the process is standardised, which ensures that data are either inserted or updated using the same logic and algorithms every time, making the data warehouse a reliable source of data.
3. OLAP (On-Line Analytical Processing)
An OLAP cube is a special type of database that allows business users to analyse data across multiple dimensions in a fast and secure way. A typical OLAP cube consists of measures and dimensions.
Measures represent the numeric data that business users need to analyse and are usually presented in an aggregated form, such as sums, averages, and counts. Dimensions are the categories used in filtering, labelling, and grouping measures such as customers, salespersons, time, and location.
The OLAP cube is a semantic model that perfectly describes your organisation’s structure, metrics, key performance indicators, and analysis categories.
4. Corporate Performance Management (CPM)
Corporate Performance Management (CPM) are the methods, metrics, activities, and systems that are used to monitor and manage the business performance of an organisation.
Business intelligence is an integral part of a CPM system as it's perfectly capable to track actual performance against targets but also to evaluate actual performance against KPIs and balanced scorecards. Complex calculations, ratios and aggregations at various operational levels can be performed real-time without any pre-preparation and user intervention.
Results are presented in lighting speed so that decision makers remain focused on interpreting and understanding the results rather than spending valuable time preparing the results.