What is Business Intelligence and Why Business Intelligence?
When I started working with Business Intelligence Technology the basic questions came in mind are “What is Business Intelligence?” and “Why to use Business Intelligence?”. So let try to understand these questions.
Business Intelligence is a technology to manage, export and present the raw data in a useful and meaningful way which can help any organization to make correct business decisions. Business intelligence aims to support better business decision-making. Thus a BI system can also be called a decision support system (DSS). It is mainly used for the ETL processes i.e. Extract, Transform and Load , data integration, representation of raw data in a meaningful way and a number of data warehousing purposes e.g. reporting. Extract terms signifies the extraction of data from different data sources and environments depending upon the clients choice, transforming the data according to our requirements (it includes addition to some extra rows, changing the data types etc.) and finally loading the modified data to our data center .
For proper understanding we have to go through an example. Let’s take scenario of a Bank, suppose Bank wants to launch a new Insurance Policy for its customers, but the decision makers are worried about its future. So they want to set such type of terms and conditions, Policy premium schemes, Policy Repaying, Interests rates and other important features of policy in such a way that it can attract a good number of customers as well as it will be beneficial for the bank too. And how can they make these decisions? Obviously by looking at history means reviewing their existing policies features. Here we have Business Intelligence to help them out. Business Intelligence provides a good platform to review their historical data and also it can help us to predict the future (Obviously it is a prediction based on the historical data…).
Let’s go through another important use of Business Intelligence. Suppose a payroll company ABC which takes care of employees salaries of their clients.
Their clients provide the information of their employees to ABC Company and this company maintains the payrolls for these employees.Now It may happen that the clients will provide their data in different formats and types (e.g. Excel, Xml, text files etc.), but ABC have common data center, so they have to store these information data having different formats in their data center. Here again we Business Intelligence to give them a smile. Integration Services provides us the facility to read the data from different formats and dump it out to desire location and also we can performs some modifications in between.
Business Intelligence also helps in fast retrieval of data. Retrieval of data from a relational database is very heavy process. Also if we have to gather data from different data sources, it will make the situation worse. Business Intelligence provides a framework name Analysis Services, which is nothing but a different way to store data in multidimensional database (which is nothing but creating some indexes I think…) , creating some precalculated fields in a multidimensional database called cube. These cubes are very useful for the online processes (OLAP) as it is very fast to retrieve the data from cubes than the relational databases and also capable of fetching data different data sources quickly.
Now I think we have a better idea of Business Intelligence.