By Philippe Julio on Feb 12, 2008
If you want to understand the Business Intelligence and design the best architecture for the customers needs, then, you must know of them the rules and definitions. It is the best way of being able to dialogue more easily with the specialists.
What is Business Intelligence ?
Business intelligence (BI) is a broad category of applications and technologies for gathering, storing, analyzing, and providing access to data to help enterprise users make better business decisions. BI applications include the activities of decision support systems, query and reporting, online analytical processing (OLAP), statistical analysis, forecasting, and data mining. Business intelligence applications can be: Mission-critical and integral to an enterprise's operations or occasional to meet a special requirement Enterprise-wide or local to one division, department, or project. Centrally initiated or driven by user demand.
Raw Data vs Usable Data
Raw data is the data source resulting from the operational systems (CRM, RH, BILLING, PURCHASES, SCM).
Usable data is the result of raw data and technical data according database organization, like indexes, aggregates, metadata, axis, indicators and data work. Usable data does not include Raid factor.
The database is structured in 3 levels: Staging Area is the storage area for data validation. Data Warehouse is the storage area for data details and metadata (ex. Oracle, DB2...) and Data Marts is the storage area for business data including axis, indicators and aggregates (ex: Oracle, DB2, Sybase, Essabse...)
Named users may reach the Business Intelligence system. Users perform concurrent access to BI system ressources. Low users perform reporting by means of requests sweeping around 1.000 records. Medium users perform navigation and analysis around 100.000 records. High users perform ad hoc navigation and analyze large volumes of data with several joints of tables or full facts table scan around 1 million records.
Extraction, Transformation, Loading
Data Integration is more or less complex according to the transformation topics that they perform. Simple processing represents simple calculations, simple concatenations. Medium processing represents average calculations, medium concatenations. Heavy processing represents heavy calculations, statistical, complex algorithms and heavy concatenations
Software is classified according to several technologies topics: ETL Tools for extraction, transformation and data loading (PowerCenter, DataStage, AbItinio...). Relational database (RDMS) is an entitie/relation data structure (ex: Oracle, Sybase, SAS Base, DB2...). Multidimensional database (MDMS) is a matrix data structure stored on disk (ex: Essbase, Powerplay...). Reporting/Analysis tools (ex: Business Objects, Cognos, SAS, SAP/BI...)
The Business Intelligence system is different from the operational system because it integrates the time factor. Time management is very important in Business Intelligence: data retention duration (ex: 3 years), operational period (ex: Monday - Friday), operation frequency (ex: daily) and associated time frame (ex: 08:00 AM - 07:00 PM)