Business Intelligence Consulting & Design Services
Business Intelligence describes methods used to extract interesting
and actionable information from your business data — in
a way that enables informed business decisions. Effective BI solutions
help you discover the various factors that impact the performance of your business, from
both cost and revenue perspectives, and the relationships and dependencies among these factors. While BI solutions can share similar tools and methods, each BI project has its
own set of requirements and challenges that are unique to a particular business and set of data.
solutions are designed to provide users with a multi-dimensional view of your business data, organized
in a way that enables easy and flexible manipulation — grouping, filtering, aggregation, association, etc. — such that patterns,
trends and exceptions of key performance indicators (KPIs) that impact your business can be discovered and analyzed, lend insight into your business operations, and improve your ability to make
forward-looking business decisions.
Key factors that determine the return on investment (ROI) of a Business Intelligence Service
include: the robustness (quality and completeness) of your business data, the commitment from management to exploit Business Intelligence to inform decisions, and of course the design of the Business Intelligence Service or solution itself.
Business Intelligence Methods
Depending upon your specific business needs, several different methods are available
to deploy BI solutions, including: Dashboards, Pivot Tables, Cubes, Data Mining,
Data Warehousing and other business intelligence services.
Business Dashboards are highly summarized (roll-up) graphical representations of key business performance indicators (KPIs). Dashboards can include simple
controls to filter data to specific elements of the business e.g. products, channels,
regions, etc., typically along a timeline with drill-down capability. Dashboards
are designed to be highly intuitive, and provide the minimum information necessary
to spur management inquiry or action. See
sample Business Intelligence Dashboard application.
MS Excel pivot tables are the conventional way
most people get introduced to slicing
and dicing business data. They tend to be simple, two-dimensional (rows and columns) summaries of smaller sets of business data (< 10Mb). Professionals who are accustomed to analyzing business data in Excel pivot tables will benefit greatly
from taking this to the next level: SQL Pivot Grids. Learn more about Pivot Tables and Charts.
Cubes are like Excel Pivot tables on steroids! Cubes consist of adding up data (measures) along various category lines (dimensions) of data. Compared to a SQL relational database,
OLAP (OnLine Analytical Processing) cubes provide a consistently faster response
and enable powerful metadata-based queries.
See OLAP Data Cube Consulting or Optimizing Data Cubes for more detailed information.
more about OLAP Cubes.
Technically, data mining is the process of finding correlations or patterns from
information in a large relational database. From a business perspective,
data mining is the practice of analyzing data from different perspectives and summarizing
it into useful information — information that can be used to increase revenue, cuts
costs, or both. For more information, see SQL Data Mining.
more about Data Mining.
Data warehouses are repositories for storing and analyzing information. It’s possible to build
Analytic reports directly out of relational databases. Oftentimes, it makes sense to pre-process information from various data
sources into a formal data warehouse to improve processing, decrease complexity, and improve the
concurrency of both your OLTP and OLAP applications.
Learn more about Data Warehousing.
PCA has successfully designed and deployed BI solutions for our
Clients in a broad range of industries and variety of line-of-business needs. Our Business Intelligence
Service engagements typically start with an up-front assessment of your business objectives and KPIs and underlying sources
of historical business
data. Once the business drivers and data sources are well understood, the
effort to build a repeatable end-to-end data flow gets underway. Most of our
focus is not on the BI infrastructure — BI solutions share a common approach,
tools and methods — but on end users' business needs, how best to deploy the appropriate
data to the points of need in your organization, and providing a reliable,
easy-to-use and highly flexible BI application interface to satisfy users business
needs. Using standard Microsoft components, PCA can design and build a robust, custom BI solution faster,
at lower cost,
and with substantially fewer technical risks than most packaged BI solutions,
and provide the experience and insights to insure that you fully realize your BI investment.