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. 
Business Intelligence 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.
Dashboards 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.
Pivot Tables 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.
OLAP Cubes 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.  Learn more about OLAP Cubes
Data Mining 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.  Learn more about Data Mining
Data Warehouse 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.