Extract, Transform and Load (ETL)
Data integration technology is generally used to extract transactional data from internal and external source applications to build the data warehouse. This overall process and the steps in it are referred to as ETL for extract, transform and load. The data is extracted from its source application or repository, transformed to the format needed for the data warehouse, and then loaded into the data warehouse. Data integration technology works hand-in-hand with technologies like Enterprise Information Integration (EII), database replication, Web Services, and Enterprise Application Integration (EAI) to bridge proprietary and incompatible data formats and application protocols.
Data Warehouses and Data Marts
A data warehouse or data mart stores tactical or historical information in a relational database and allows the user to extract and assemble specific data elements from a complete dataset to perform a variety of analyses. The data warehouse can be architected according to schema (star, snowflake, etc), data composition (values and attributes) and dimension levels, and descriptors. Data marts enable additional segmentation within a broader data warehouse environment.
Query, Reporting and Analysis
Technical and business analysts use a variety of tools to access data, analyze information, and view the results. They include:
Query and Reporting Tools: Most BI systems allow users to perform historical, “slice-and-dice” analysis against information stored in a relational database. This type of analysis answers “what?” and “when?” inquiries. A typical query might be, “What was the total revenue for the eastern region in the third quarter?” Often, users take advantage of pre-built queries and reports.
On-Line Analytical Processing (OLAP) and Data Mining: OLAP analytical engines and data mining tools allow users to perform predictive, multidimensional analysis, also known as “drill-down” analysis. These tools can be used for forecasting, customer profiling, trend analysis and even fraud detection. They answer “what if” and “why?” questions, such as, “What would be the effect on the eastern region of a 15 percent increase in the price of the product?”
Business Performance Management: BPM uses real-time business intelligence to proactively improve productivity and encourage continuous process improvement in an enterprise. This approach extends the more traditional approach of business scorecards and can include financial, organizational, customer service, supply chain, and channel performance management.
Information Delivery: Query results and reports can be delivered through dedicated desktop applications, dashboards, intranets, and extranet portals.
Business Intelligence and Web Services
Business Intelligence is being fundamentally changed by eXtensible Markup Language (XML) and the emerging Web Services model. XML provides a universal syntax for the representation of data, enabling integration and analysis across BI environments and across traditional organizational and technical boundaries. As this area evolves, it becomes easier for different organizations to share data.
For more information on choosing the right BI solution for your company, please read our Business Intelligence First Steps.
Advantages of using BI:
Leverage your existing data investment—BI takes the volume of data your organization collects and stores, and turns it into meaningful reports and analysis that everyone can use.
Understand the why behind results—See information across departments and drill down to discover the underlying causes of how you’re performing.
Align everyone with one, reliable version of business issues—with common data definitions and understanding of priorities, you will spend less time debating the data and more time deciding what to do.
Shorten the time to make the right decision—Timely reports and self-service reporting let you see changes when they happen and make the right decisions at the right time.
Meet the information needs of all users—flexible, user-friendly reporting means everyone can have the right information delivered in the right way.
Banking, Insurance, Retail, Manufacturing and Healthcare etc…