Business Intelligence
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Business Intelligence

What is Business Intelligence?

BI is an information analysis operation that is aiming at increasing business performance by helping a company’s executives make smarter and more informed decisions. It can also be defined as a technology-driven operation for analyzing data. Business intelligence includes a big set of tools, applications and methodologies. These tools allow an organization to:

  • Gather data from sources both internal and external
  • Prepare data for analysis
  • Create and run queries against data
  • Create reports
  • Create dashboards and data visualizations

This whole process produces analytical results that are available to operational works and corporate decision makers. 

Business Intelligence

Business Intelligence

What is ERP?

Enterprise Resource Planning is a business management software that is usually a suite of application integrated with one another. Companies use it to garner, save, manage and interpret data from many of their business activities like:

  • Planning and Cost of products
  • Manufacturing or service delivery
  • Sales and marketing
  • Management of inventories
  • Payments and shipping

ERP provides an integrated view of the fundamental business processes in real-time by using common databases which are maintained by a Database Management System. Enterprise Resource Planning systems can be used to track business resources like:

  • Cash
  • Raw materials
  • Production capacity
  • Orders
  • Payroll

Data is shared among the various ERP applications across the departments (manufacturing, sales, purchasing, accounting, etc) that provide the information.


How to use Business Intelligence?

Organizations have huge amounts of data from different sources. Business Intelligence helps them sift the useful data from all the information and here are the key steps to achieving optimal results:

  • Developing an analytical culture
  • Deliver information wherever it is needed
  • Make more use of unstructured data
  • Focus on the future
  • Keep information up-to-date
  • Make sure that corporate executives use the data


What Business Intelligence tools are there?

BI tools are a form of application software. They are created for four reasons:

  • Garner data
  • Analyze data
  • Transform data
  • Report data

Business Intelligence tools read that that is already stored in a data warehouse or a data mart. There are four main groups of BI tools. Open source commercial products:

  • Jaspersoft – reporting, dashboards, data analysis and integration
  • Palo – OLAP database, OLAP Server, Worksheet and ETL Server
  • Pentaho – data mining and workflow capabilities
  • TACTIC – reporting, management, data mining and integration

Open source free products:

  • Eclipse BIRT Project
  • SpagoBI
  • R
  • Report Server

Proprietary free products:

  • Biml
  • Birst
  • Datacopia
  • icCube
  • InetSoft
  • QlikTech
  • SAP Lumira

Proprietary products:

  • SAP NetWeaver Business Intelligence
  • ActiveReports
  • ApeSoft

What is important for Business Intelligence users?

Users access all the individual services of the DW/BI system from a browser application that is a Business Intelligence portal. This portal has to be implemented in an easy for the users to use way. The BI portal must be intuitive so that business intelligence users don’t waste any time trying to figure out how to use the system.

Business Intelligence and BI Tools

Business Intelligence and BI Tools




Mondy Holten, SAP BI Consultant


Relevant links:

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