Business Intelligence  (BI) gives you the information you need, when you need it, in the right format. By integrating data from across your enterprise and delivering self-service reporting and analysis, IT spends less time responding to requests and business users spend less time looking for information.  Business Intelligence also offers an integrated, robust and flexible presentation layer for the full breadth of Analytics capabilities, including statistics, predictive analytics, data and text mining, forecasting, and optimization – all integrated within the business context for better, faster decision making.

BI technologies provide historical, current and predictive views of business operations. Common functions of business intelligence technologies are reporting, online analytical processing, analytics, data mining, process mining, complex event processing, business performance management, benchmarking, text mining, predictive analytics and prescriptive analytics.

Now that we’ve introduced the major concepts defining relational databases it is time to understand them in context.  Knowledge is power in business.   Managers who take advantage of e-business tools to manage and manipulate all kinds of information relevant to their business create business intelligence. They can use this information to make timely and effective managerial decisions.

Where does data come from?

Data that is relevant to a business decision may come from anywhere.  The most important sources of data include:

  • Master data:  this is data that is collected (usually once and once only) to define the entities in an e-business system (customer file, product file, account codes, pricing codes, etc…)
  • Configuration data:  as the term implies this is data that defines the nature of the system itself.  The system is configured to reflect the nature and needs of the business.
  • Operations data- Online Transaction Processing (OLTP):  also known as activity this data is generated by daily business activities such as sales orders, purchase orders, invoices, accounting entries, and so on.
  • Information systems – Online Analytical Processing (OLAP):  these are sophisticated applications that collect information from various internal and external sources to analyze data and distill meaningful information.