Beginners' Guide to Business Intelligence Tools

Posted by kyccompliance1 on 12:48 PM, 24-Aug-15


What is Business Intelligence and what is the utility of BI Tools? - m&a due diligence

Business Intelligence (BI) is described as any real-time, current or past information that helps various business professionals including managers analyze current/past activities to aid in predicting future length of the company's business. Business Intelligence is thus a stream of information and hence it requires sorting in addition to analysis before it is suitable for use in a company's decision-making process. Such sorting and analysis of relevant details are usually carried out by software programs, to ensure superior speed and accuracy with the data collection and analysis procedure. Every software solutions aiding the entire process of generating Business Intelligence with an enterprise are known as Business Intelligence Tools. So BI data will help an enterprise rapidly conform to changing business environment, while BI tools make certain that changing business environment is rapidly along with correctly identified and reported to facilitate an efficient decision-making process. In case of historic data, BI tools usually sort and analyze data, which was previously stored in the enterprise database.

Commonly Used Business Intelligence Tools

BI tools are normally classified into the following categories:

� Local Information Systems
� Business Performance Management
� Process Mining
� Dashboards
� Online Analytical Processing (OLAP)
� Data Warehousing
� Data Mining
� Reporting and Querying Software
� Spreadsheets

These types of Business Intelligence technology and tools aside from spreadsheets are available included in software suitable for a particular industry, standalone solutions, ERP system components or like a BI software suite. These solutions in many cases are developed by a custom development company as a result of requirements specified by litigant or detected after a thorough analysis of the company's business design. A few open-source business intelligence tools can also be found, however most enterprises prefer to use proprietary business intelligence technology to make certain adequate protection of critical data. The kind of business intelligence architecture implemented by an organization varies on the industry, market conditions along with specific market requirements. Some of the commonly available BI tool categories are described here:

Local Computer

The term Local Information System (LIS) originated in its use in people sector of the UK; other terms used synonymously with LIS in different parts of the world include - Data Observatory and Community human resources. In the global business intelligence technology market, LIS applications are usually limited to providing support for geographic reporting of enterprise operations. The functions sustained by LIS tools often overlap with a few of the features of Geographic Information Systems and Knowledge Management tools. Unique functions of LIS include providing a region-specific database accessible by citizens, policy makers, managers along with data experts. LIS statistics are often compiled with respect to a small area such as the National Neighborhood Statistics projects in the united kingdom. Currently operating Local Information Systems include the DarlingtonLIS, UK; Newcastle Council; New Zealand Ministry of Health and Fife Council, UK.

Business Performance Management

Business Performance Management (BPM) identifies a set of management as well as analytical processes built to facilitate improvement of a company's processes as per the preset goals of the organization. Such tools are designed for handling large amounts of information and help managers in determining fruitful interventions built to improve the functioning of specific business processes. Currently available tools for BPM depend on the balanced scorecard framework and queries supported by BPM tools include metric-related queries, customer/stakeholder queries, goal-alignment queries, cost/risk queries in addition to much more.

Process Mining

Process Mining is often defined as a process management technique which allows decision-makers to analyze business processes on the basis of available event logs. These event logs are automatically generated through the enterprise event system and the aim of Process Mining would be to facilitate improvement of functionality by providing tools and techniques made to identify social, organizational, control and process structures by using the event logs. The process is preferred if other conventional techniques fail of provide adequate comprehension of an enterprise process. Process Mining features in a few contemporary management techniques for example Business Process Intelligence, Business Operations Management and Business Activity Monitoring. Current Process Mining techniques are categorized into the following categories: extension, conformation analysis and discovery.


Dashboards are understood to be an easily read, real-time interface, which supplies a snapshot of the current status of key business processes as a chart or graph. Dashboards are probably the most prolific and popular tools for supporting informed and instantaneous making decisions. Dashboards are capable of displaying a wide variety of user-defined key performance indicators significant for various departments of an organization. A production dashboard can present the total number of units produced, the common rate of production per hours, number of produced units which failed inspection within a one month period etc. The key benefit of a dashboard is its power to be customized to show only the relevant data, which results in significant time savings in the process of decision making. Currently available dashboards are commonly classified into three categories- desktop widgets, web-based applications along with standalone solutions, which feature spark lines, bullet graphs, pie charts and/or bar charts to represent the data. Dashboards are also capable of being integrated into mobile business intelligence answers to ensure seamless connectivity no matter what user's location.

Online Analytical Processing (OLAP) - m&a due diligence

OLAP tools are designed to help users interactively analyze multidimensional data from multiple perspectives. OLAP being a business intelligence method includes various areas of data mining and rational reporting. The word Online Analytical Processing is really a derivative of OLTP (Online Transaction Processing), which is often used in reference to traditional databases. Key analytical operations performed by these tools are- consolidation, drill-down and slice 'n' dice. The consolidation process means the aggregation of data make it possible for its analysis on multiple dimensions. The drill-down technique enables users to travel through large quantities on data to work through the relevant data. The slice 'n' dice technique allows users to remove (slice) a particular data set allowing closer inspection (dicing) from the selected data set. Databases with OLAP support use a multidimensional data model for supporting rapid execution of both ad-hoc as well as complex analytical queries.