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Business Intelligence & Data Warehousing are terms found throughout this website. But what exactly do they mean? These two concepts can often be confusing. On this page I’ll explain what I understand these to terms to mean so you can gain a better understanding of my work and the roles I can fill.
I see Business Intelligence as all of the activities an organisation carries out in order to use the data within the organisation in a smarter way. For example:
- Gain insight into turnover by product and client groups
- Gain insight into the purchasing behaviour of clients
- Gain insight into which marketing effort yields the best results
All of these examples contain the word insight and that is exactly what business intelligence is all about: gaining insight into how the organisation is performing and how to influence it. When necessary, adjustments can be made in the business processes in order to achieve the organisation’s goals. Business intelligence operates at the intersection of Business, Management and Processes.
It is often advisable to set up a data warehouse if data from different systems needs to be combined in order to obtain the desired business intelligence. For example, data from the sales, finance and client systems can be stored and possibly modified in a data warehouse to be used for business intelligence. The data warehouse is literally a storage warehouse for the organisation’s data.
The term business analytics is also being used with increasing frequency. There are several definitions circulating for this umbrella term, but generally the term business analytics indicates that business intelligence is being used for analyses in which data from the past makes predictions for the future. The term business analytics is therefore closely linked to business intelligence and data warehousing. For clarity, I will avoid using the term business analytics and talk about business intelligence and data warehousing.
When an organisation starts with business intelligence, a number of questions are often raised. Some of these include: Where do you want to gain insight? Why is that important? What do I need to do this? The answers to these questions can be obtained from a business analysis.