Sunday, November 3, 2013

BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE

Business Intelligence
In the corporate sector, there is widespread need to use a range of software with different databases. We are generating a lot of data every day from software, web services etc. This data is useless if we are not able to draw insight from it. This is where BI comes into picture. BI can connect to different databases, web services and can collect all the data. On this data, it can do analysis and can provide a lot of insight. It can provide different kinds of reports, dashboards, data visualization, what if analysis etc and can help the management to make decisions which are based on data rather than on plain intuition.

For example in energy sector, a lot of data is collected from different smart devices, DISCOM, meters etc, and by properly analysing this data we can get a lot of insight .We can manage electricity usage better and tap data to realize the risks of theft and loss of energy.


BI Basics
There are a number of companies which provide BI software like SAS, Microsoft, IBM, SAP, Pentaho, Jaspersoft. The BI software can be used in any sector and often system integrators or software companies then provide services and produce a sector specific solution for their end clients.

Installation & Security:
Once a sector specific solution has been developed, the solution can be then integrated with any software, website, portal or application. Hence, the software does not really depend on the platform; via web services the solution can be integrated with any platform. Also, user access-based data security can be provided. Hence, a user will be able to view only that data which is relevant to him.

Limitations
The biggest drawback of proprietary software provided by SAS, SAP etc, is in terms of costs. Their license costs go up in crores of rupees. On the other hand, we do have open source BI software like Pentaho and Jaspersoft that are not that expensive. Moreover, often to implement these BI solutions, the end client has to take the services of a software company specializing in the BI software, which is also in a way a limitation in usage.

Cross-Departmental Advantages
A well implemented BI can help a company in areas like predictive analytics, optimising investments and data driven decisions. The BI software can be implemented across all departments. 

A brief summary of its highlights in some departments are:
  •  Marketing: helps in growing its topline with features like analyzing campaign returns, promotional yields, and provide solutions to expenditure for profitable ROI, and tracking social-media marketing
  • Sales: finding the best path and practices, customer acquisition cost, and improvement in yearly turnover and sales
  • Inventory: monitoring and adjusting inventory levels
  • Human Resources: tracking and managing employee turnover, attrition rates and recruitment processes

BI solution includes the following business areas:
  • Demand Intelligence
  • Risk Intelligence
  • Asset Intelligence (AI)
  • Customer Service Intelligence    
Trends seen in BI Adoption:
  • Information Quality
  • Master Data Management (MDM)
  • Data Governance
  • Enterprise Level BI
  • Enterprise Level Data Transparency
  • Actionable Business Intelligence

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