Data warehousing and Business Intelligence
What is the big buzz about DWBI? I am sure we always here about Data warehousing and Business Intelligence every were we travel in the IT and Business world. For some it is fuzzy on exactly how it works and whether we need it.
Data warehouses are widely used within the largest and most complex businesses in the world. It is all depends on the type and growth of the business. A Data warehouse is not a must for every organization. DW/BI is beneficial to those companies which are matured in their business and they are trying to dig deep to open more opportunities to reap the benefits. Though BI is in vogue it need not be a trend. The reason is, building and maintaining a DW/BI environment can be costly and it is not necessary there will be a definite ROI in the short run. An unplanned and underutilized BI can be expensive for companies.
The utilization of DWBI has grown dramatically in the past decade and parallel to that technology added value and speed to the process. This proves that, use of this technology will grow dramatically in the next few years.
DWBI had a positive impact in the challenging times for making better decision running the business. A good decision-making becomes critical in testing economy and low business. Data warehouse provides relevant data for making best decisions. The best possible source for the data is a well-designed data warehouse.
Building a data warehouse 80’s and 90’s was a difficult and expensive task. Many early adopters found it to be costly, time consuming, resource intensive and risky. Building a Data warehouse without tools is very expensive in the long run and slows to be productive to produce results. Fortunately there are many products and tools by different vendors available in the market today and companies of different size can pick and choose the product that fits their need.
The concept of data warehousing is simple. Data is extracted periodically from the applications that support business processes and copied onto special dedicated database servers. There it can be validated, reformatted, reorganized, summarized, restructured, and supplemented with data from disparate sources. The resulting data warehouse becomes the main source of information for report generation, analysis, and presentation through ad hoc reports, portals, and dashboards.
Defining a Data warehouse is very simple. Data warehouse is a data repository were all relevant Enterprise data is stored and provides as a single source for the Enterprise reports, analysis, and presentation through ad-hoc reports, canned reports, portals, and dashboards
Business Intelligence provides the ability to answer critical business questions by utilizing the data from different sources for analysis, trends, alerts and feedback in an easy to understand format for quick and effective decision making.
Data Warehousing and Business Intelligence:
A true Business Intelligence passes through a Data warehouse and utilizes the data-stored for information, knowledge and plans that produce profitable business actions.
So, Business Intelligence is a combination of process, technology, and a tool, means Business Intelligence, encompasses Data warehouse, Tools and Visual knowledge management.
Among all, the Date warehouse plays a vital role by providing data to the high-profile tools for user interaction. The background role of Data Warehouse hides it significance because, BI solution vendors does not emphasize its role.
Technically speaking, it is not necessary to have a Data warehouse to create a BI environment. However, it is the experience BI world is that, without a Data Warehouse the Visual tools can creates silos, confusion, incorrect representation of data and scattered reports & projects.
Data Warehouse Fundamentals:
Data Warehousing is a process of creating a permanent repository by collecting the data from operational data sources. This Data warehouse stores or duplicates the data stored in the Enterprise but, the data residing in the Data warehouse is a historical snapshot and refined for Enterprise Analytics and reports.
Data Warehouse typically:
- Resides on dedicated servers or computers
- Runs on a database management systems
- Retains historical data from source
- Data is consolidated
- Built on a data model that facilitates faster data entry and data retrieval
ETL means Extract Transform and Load. ETL is a process combined with technology. Using this process data is extracted from all sources and depending on the user requirements the data is transformed for reporting needs and finally data is loaded into the Data warehouse
Executives and Manager managing business are challenged for new avenues to improve the business and economic conditions make it challenging. The challenge is to do more with less and to make better decisions in a competitive industry. DWBI environment provides access to actionable data to take action in a short time. The convincing reputation of DWBI in the industry helped BI continued growth.
Operational or Transactional data is scattered and do not provide an easy insight into it for Executives and it makes difficult for them to make decisions based on the data. They expect and need information on time to quickly take decisions. So this helped the DWBI projects to grow in last decade.
Business Intelligence provides relevant data to allow you to analyze current and long-term trends, alert you instantly to opportunities and problems, and give you continuous feedback on the effectiveness of your decisions.
Business Intelligence was always part of an organizations decision making process. Executives and Managers were using tools like Excel, spreadsheets, Access database, reports running against operational data and Ad-reports. Though they were solving the purpose but not in the required pace. In the last decade we saw the power of computer raising and growing to unexpected heights. To add the strength companies added the power with tools to build and maintain a powerful Data warehouse and Business Intelligence environment. BI companies competing with each other helped the industry with tools for all kinds of company’s small to big with right price and capabilities. The big players that pioneered BI made an important discovery – the path to true business intelligence passes through a data warehouse.
Benefits of Data warehouse and Business Intelligence:
- Historical data is maintained for future analysis and easy to maintain the regulations.
- Does not impact Operational process because of user queries and reports.
- Data is pre-aggregated and calculated and ready to use for reports
- Improves turnaround and performance for analysis
- Metadata is created and maintained for processing and users benefits.
- Facilitates Ad-hoc reporting, Analysis and Self service
- Score cards and KPI’s can be presented in the form of Dashboards.
- Allows drill down on to details in summarized reports
- Provides Data-mining and trending