Business intelligence is a term which refers to an assortment of software applications system which helps to analyse an organization’s data, giving inputs to make successful business decisions. This category of applications programs is concerned about transforming the raw data of organization into easily accessible, high-value information.

Business intelligence scenario

Every day, a hotel franchise collects data from 100’s of its chain restaurants and is uploaded to servers located at its headquarters at the end of the day. This information is used by the managers in the main office to instantly analyse key operational measures such as seat occupancy, average bills, profits, trends, and so forth.

Very next day, top managers of the hotel receive performance data. This will help them to verify current revenue, among other performance measures. With BI, franchisees with multiple locations can have consolidated views, as can the company’s regional managers.

The example above just illustrates how a business system can enhance the performance and success of an organization.

History – Business intelligence terminology:

In a 1958 article, IBM researcher Hans Peter Luhn used the term business intelligence. He defined intelligence as: “the ability to apprehend the interrelationships of presented facts in such a way as to guide action towards a desired goal.”

In 1989 Howard Dresner (later a Gartner Group analyst) proposed BI as an umbrella term to describe “concepts and methods to improve business decision making by using fact-based support systems.” It was not until the late 1990s that this usage was widespread.

Future of Business intellegence:

Based on 2009 Gartner report, these are few predictions on the BI market in future.

  • Because of lack of information, processes, and tools, through 2012, more than 35 per cent of the top 5,000 global companies will regularly fail to make insightful decisions about significant changes in their business and markets.
  • By 2012, business units will control at least 40 per cent of the total budget for business intelligence.
  • By 2010, 20 per cent of organizations will have an industry-specific analytic application delivered via software as a service as a standard component of their business intelligence portfolio.
  • In 2009, collaborative decision making will emerge as a new product category that combines social software with business intelligence platform capabilities.
  • By 2012, one-third of analytic applications applied to business processes will be delivered through coarse-grained application mash ups.

Data warehousing is the process of collecting data from multi-varied sources of an organizational and reposting it into one comprehensive and easily manipulated database. The term Data Warehouse was coined by Bill Inmon in 1990.  The definition from Inmon is: “A warehouse is a subject-oriented, integrated, time-variant and non-volatile collection of data in support of management’s decision making process”.

Data warehousing is not the be-all and end-all for storing all of a company’s data. Rather, data warehousing is used to house the necessary data for specific analysis. More comprehensive data storage requires different capacities that are more static and less easily manipulated than those used for data warehousing.

Khan – SQLDBA – MCTS –