Companies must interpret the transactional, behavioral, attitudinal, and personal data they produce. Strong software and a solid grasp of business intelligence concepts are needed to interpret this data. To gain a better understanding of how BI tools function, let’s examine these concepts.
To put it briefly, business intelligence enables organizations to make decisions based on data. Data collection is the first step in this process, which is then followed by reporting, analysis, and data standardization and cleansing.
Developing a successful BI strategy requires completing all four of these processes. Businesses can develop a business intelligence strategy that boosts their bottom line by knowing more about each component.
Business intelligence’s primary goal is to close the gap between an organization’s intended position and its existing state. Businesses that use business intelligence in addition to prudent financial management are better able to achieve commercial success.
A framework called business intelligence was created to aid in the decision-making process. Architecture, databases, analytical tools, and applications are all combined in one framework. A crucial component of business intelligence is business analytics.
Framework of Business Intelligence
More and more businesses are moving towards business intelligence. The reason for this movement is the business environment. Organizations are forced to capture, store, and interpret data. This data is at the core of business success. Organizations require correct information for any decision-making process.
Business intelligence combines data warehousing, business analytics, performance, strategy and user interface. A business receives data from various sources. This data is captured in the data warehouse where it is stored, organized and summarized as for further utilization. Authorized users can access this data and work on it to get the desired results. These results are shared with executives for the decision-making process. These data results can be published through dashboards or share points.
What Is Business Intelligence?
Business intelligence processes analyze data and deliver actionable insights that help managers and executives make informed decisions.
- Collecting information from internal and external sources.
- Preparing data for analysis.
- Running queries.
- Creating intuitive visualizations, reports and dashboards.
Let’s take a look at the business intelligence process:
- Data warehouses store an entire organization’s data, while data marts hold information subsets for specific departments.
- BI data includes real-time and historical information from different sources, including log files, text and sensor data consolidated into warehouses. You can analyze this information to unearth trends and patterns while making accurate forecasts.
- This process filters out irrelevant information, weighs current and future risks, conducts cost-benefit analyses and discovers plausible actions.
- Depict analysis results as robust visualizations while weaving convincing data stories.
Let’s try to understand business intelligence in depth with the help of the following use cases:
- Information and statistics reveal marketplace trends — compare quarterly sales figures to see if a particular product is growing or diminishing.
- Examine year-over-year sales in various geographical regions to identify the highest-performing regions and understand what sales tactics or marketing campaigns amplify sales.
- Create visual representations like charts or graphs to reveal stock market trends while making data-driven decisions.
- What-if analysis lets you calculate the differences in outcomes when one or more variables change. For example, how discounts impact sales revenue over a month.
The four basic concepts of business intelligence are as follows:The four basic concepts of business intelligence are as follows:
- Extract Raw Data
The first component of a BI solution is data from sales records, profit and loss statements, salary details and more. An organization’s data exists in various systems, including CRM, ERP, flat files and more. Due to this fragmentation, BI solutions come with robust connectors to centralize everything for advanced analysis.
- Consolidate Information
A data warehouse integrates different databases to create relationships. Data flows into the warehouse from various sources, including transactional systems, relational databases and more.
- Access and Analyze Data
Once the data consolidates in a single location, it is vital to make sense of it. Here, BI solutions access the information, interpret it for trends and patterns, and present it intuitively.
- Create Dashboards and Reports
Dashboards and reports take complex, unintelligible information and output it as digestible patterns, trends and insights. These tools facilitate collaboration within the organization to share findings and discoveries.
Business Intelligence Components
One of the critical components in the information technology age is the data. Data is the source of all the information and information is valuable for the decision-making process.
Decision support systems are developed to support executive management and relevant decision-makers. In the modern era, there is a large volume of information is available. A data warehouse is required to store huge volumes of data.
Since the data warehouse is supporting a decision support system, therefore, it should be subject-oriented, integrated, collected over a period of time and static.
- Data Warehouse
The data warehouse has subject-oriented data. This subject-oriented data could be information such as sales, customer name, etc. Data warehouse excludes information, that is not useful for the decision-making process. Data warehouse is developed as an integration of multiple heterogeneous data sources. As the data source has its own data protocol, data processing is required while data warehousing.
Data warehouse provides information with time as function. This gives a historical perspective to the information. Once data is captured in the data warehouse, it cannot be changed. Data within the data warehouse is maintained in the form of star schema, snowflake schema and galaxy schema.
- Data Mart
The data mart is that portion of the access layer of the data warehouse that is utilized by the end user. Therefore, a data mart is a subset of the data warehouse. Data mart is usually assigned to a specific business unit within the enterprise. Data mart is used to slice data warehouse into a different business unit. Typically, ownership of the data mart is given to that particular business unit or department.
The primary utility of data mart is business intelligence. A data mart requires very little investment compared to a data warehouse and therefore it is apt for smaller businesses. Set up time for data mart is very less again making it practical for smaller business.
The main advantages of data mart are as follows:
- It provides easy access to daily used data.
- It improves decision-making process for end users.
- It is easy to create and maintain.
Online Analytical Processing (OLAP)
OLAP or Online Analytical Processing is a concept in which data is analyzed through multiple dimensions with help of structure called cube. OLAP helps in converting data into information. The main objective of OLAP is to summarize information for decision making process from large data base. The report generated through OLAP can be presented in a format as per the requirement of end user.
The advantages of OLAP are as follows:
- It ensures that response to query is quicker consistently.
- It provides facility to work with data which are difficult to query through SQL.
- It lets user create view with the help of spreadsheet.
There are three types of OLAP multi-dimensional OLAP, relational OLAP and Hybrid OLAP. In multi-dimensional OLAP data is usually stored in proprietary structure suitable for multi-dimensional analysis. In relational OLAP database is structure through standard database in star or snowflake schema. A combination of multi-dimensional OLAP and relational OLAP is the hybrid OLAP.
Component 1: Data Warehousing
Data warehousing is a vital component of a BI system. It involves collecting, storing, and organizing data from various sources into a centralized repository, known as a data warehouse. A data warehouse serves as a single source of truth, providing a unified view of the organization’s data.
- The Importance of Data Warehousing in BI
Data warehousing plays a crucial role in BI by enabling businesses to access and analyze large volumes of data efficiently. It eliminates the need to gather data from multiple sources, saving time and effort. With a data warehouse in place, organizations can consolidate data from various systems, such as customer relationship management (CRM), enterprise resource planning (ERP), and marketing automation platforms.
By centralizing data, data warehousing ensures data integrity and consistency. It eliminates data silos and enables cross-functional analysis, allowing businesses to gain a holistic view of their operations. Additionally, data warehousing improves data quality by standardizing data formats and resolving inconsistencies.
- Key Features of an Effective Data Warehouse
An effective data warehouse offers several key features that make it a valuable asset for any BI system:
- Data Integration: A data warehouse should have the ability to integrate data from various sources seamlessly. This includes structured and unstructured data, as well as data from internal and external sources.
- Data Transformation: Transforming data into a consistent format is essential for accurate analysis. An effective data warehouse should have robust data transformation capabilities, allowing organizations to clean, validate, and transform data to meet their specific needs.
- Data Modeling: Data modeling involves designing the structure of the data warehouse to support efficient querying and analysis. A well-designed data model enables users to navigate and explore data easily.
- Data Security: Protecting data is crucial for maintaining the integrity and confidentiality of sensitive information. A reliable data warehouse should have robust security measures in place to ensure data privacy and compliance with regulatory requirements.
Component 2: Data Mining
Data mining is a powerful technique used in BI to extract valuable insights from large datasets. It involves analyzing data to discover hidden patterns, relationships, and trends that can help businesses make informed decisions.
- The Process of Data Mining in BI
Data mining involves several stages, including data exploration, data cleaning, data transformation, and pattern discovery. During the data exploration phase, analysts gain a deeper understanding of the dataset and identify potential areas of interest. Data cleaning involves removing noise, inconsistencies, and outliers from the data to ensure accurate analysis.
Data transformation involves converting the data into a suitable format for analysis. This may include aggregating data, creating new variables, or applying mathematical transformations. Once the data is prepared, analysts use advanced algorithms and statistical models to discover patterns and relationships. These patterns and relationships can then be used to make predictions and drive business decisions.
- Benefits of Data Mining for Businesses
Data mining offers several benefits for businesses:
- Improved Decision-Making: By uncovering hidden patterns and relationships, data mining helps businesses make more informed decisions. It provides a deeper understanding of customer behavior, market trends, and business processes, enabling organizations to optimize their strategies and drive growth.
- Enhanced Customer Insights: Data mining allows businesses to gain insights into customer preferences, buying patterns, and sentiment. This information can be used to personalize marketing campaigns, improve customer satisfaction, and drive customer loyalty.
- Effective Fraud Detection: Data mining can be used to identify fraudulent activities by analyzing patterns and anomalies in transaction data. This helps businesses minimize financial losses and protect their assets.
- Optimized Operations: By analyzing operational data, data mining can help businesses identify bottlenecks, inefficiencies, and areas for improvement. This enables organizations to optimize their processes, reduce costs, and improve operational efficiency.
Component 3: Data Visualization
Data visualization is the process of representing data visually, using charts, graphs, and other visual elements. It plays a crucial role in BI by making complex data easier to understand and interpret.
- How Data Visualization Enhances BI
Data visualization enhances BI in several ways:
- Improved Data Understanding: By presenting data visually, data visualization helps users gain a deeper understanding of complex datasets. It enables users to identify patterns, trends, and outliers more easily.
- Better Decision Making: Data visualization allows users to explore data interactively and quickly identify key insights. This helps businesses make better-informed decisions based on data-driven evidence.
- Enhanced Communication: Visual representations are more accessible and engaging than raw data. Data visualization facilitates effective communication of insights, making it easier to share information with stakeholders and drive alignment and collaboration.
- Essential Tools for Data Visualization
There are several tools available for data visualization, each with its own strengths:
- Charts and Graphs: Charts and graphs are the most common and versatile data visualization tools. They allow users to represent different types of data, such as bar charts for categorical data, line charts for time series data, and scatter plots for relationship analysis.
- Heatmaps: Heatmaps are useful for visualizing large datasets and identifying patterns or trends. They use color-coding to represent values, allowing users to quickly identify areas of interest.
- Geospatial Visualizations: Geospatial visualizations use maps to represent data related to specific locations. They are particularly useful for analyzing regional trends, demographic data, and market segmentation.
- Interactive Dashboards: Interactive dashboards combine multiple visualizations into a single user interface, allowing users to explore and interact with data in real-time. They provide a holistic view of key metrics and enable users to drill down into specific areas of interest.
Component 4: Data Analysis
Data analysis is a critical component of a BI system. It involves examining data to uncover patterns, relationships, and insights that can inform decision-making and drive business growth.
- The Role of Data Analysis in BI
Data analysis plays a pivotal role in BI by providing businesses with the information they need to make strategic decisions. It helps organizations understand their customers, assess market trends, predict future outcomes, and optimize their operations.
Data analysis techniques vary depending on the type of data and the specific business goals. Some common data analysis techniques include descriptive analysis, diagnostic analysis, predictive analysis, and prescriptive analysis.
- Different Types of Data Analysis Techniques
There are several data analysis techniques used in BI:
- Descriptive Analysis: Descriptive analysis focuses on summarizing and visualizing historical data. It provides a snapshot of past performance, enabling businesses to identify trends, patterns, and anomalies.
- Diagnostic Analysis: Diagnostic analysis aims to understand the root causes of specific events or outcomes. It involves analyzing data to uncover relationships and dependencies, helping businesses identify the factors that drive certain outcomes.
- Predictive Analysis: Predictive analysis uses historical data to make predictions about future events or outcomes. It utilizes statistical models and machine learning algorithms to identify trends and patterns, enabling businesses to make informed forecasts.
- Prescriptive Analysis: Prescriptive analysis goes beyond predicting what will happen and provides recommendations on what actions to take. It utilizes advanced analytics and optimization techniques to identify the best course of action based on the desired outcome.
Investing in a robust BI system that encompasses these four major components – data warehousing, data mining, data visualization, and data analysis – is essential for businesses looking to thrive in today’s data-driven world. By leveraging the power of BI, organizations can unlock valuable insights, make informed decisions, and stay ahead of the competition.