Introduction

Welcome to my Business Intelligence Happiness blog! I hope you will find useful information here related to business intelligence and data integration technologies, tools, trends, thoughts, wishes, vendors, directions, and everything or anything BI.

I wanted to start by sharing my thoughts on what is BI. When family or friends ask me the simple question “so, what do you do?”, I can either stumble through awkward, lengthy and vague explanations that usually end in rolling eyes or embarrassed smiles, or resort to “I work with computers”. ..
The latter seems to do the trick most of the time.
But, if you care to know what is Business Intelligence anyway, or at least how I view it, please read on..

We live in a content driven world. The constant flood of data that surrounds us is overwhelming. In our personal lives, we can apply filters and select to focus on information that is relevant and important to us. As individuals, we choose when to watch TV and which channels to watch, which internet web sites to surf, our daily schedules and activities.

By the time we have families, we must consider larger amounts of data to properly plan our daily activities. It’s not just our own personal needs that we need to consider, it’s also other members of the family: kids school and after school schedules, spouse work and extended family information.

Corporations face a massive problem due to the fact that in order to create effective plans, they must consider not just the information gathered about one, two, five or twenty members. They must be able to examine the information generated by tens or hundreds of thousands of individuals. Employees, clients, investors, suppliers, are all feeding and collecting data from the organization in order to operate.

Business Intelligence is the discipline that addresses how organizations manage, collect, organize and deliver the information collected throughout its operational activities to improve itself.

The management of data collection is referred to as data governance, or stewardship. Data governance describes who is responsible for the data, how the data should be collected, stored and recycled, and what procedures and processes will govern the generation as well as consumption of content.
The collection of data is performed through the operational applications that are deployed throughout the organization. Finance, HR, Sales, Marketing, Facilities, Supply Chain Management, Business Units; every organization establishes systems to manage these processes. These systems allow people to transact and perform work that is recorded in the applications databases. The information stored in those databases is organized in a way that assures the accuracy and completeness of each transaction.

The organization of information for reporting purposes is referred to as data warehousing or data integration. In order to derive intelligence from transactional information, it must be consolidated, so similar data from multiple systems needs to be relocated to a central data repository. Also, the data must be re-organized around the need to retrieve information rather than complete transactions.

The delivery of the information is the most visible aspect of Business Intelligence. It often takes the form of reports, dashboards, or more recently BI embedded applications. These applications are designed for ease of use and navigation, require little or no training, and are concerned with summarizing and presenting very large amounts of data as concise, simple and easy to understand information. They take the form or images, like graphs and charts that illustrate a trend or a concept, as well as text and tabular representation.

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