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Business Intelligence

    The importance of intelligence had been addressed even thousands years ago.  In ancient China, the famous military specialist,  Sun Tzu first addressed the importance of the intelligence in his book, The Art of War. He claims that one must be fully informed about the strengths and weaknesses concerning himself and his enemy, then he can achieve the success in the war. Lack of either one can lead to the defeat. The military intelligence is extremely important in the war. In the same way, business intelligence is also extremely important in the business activities.  But there is something even more important than the intelligence itself, which is how to collect, analyze, and process intelligence.  The term Business intelligence (BI)  is used to describe an extensive  of methods, skills, technologies and applications used to collect, accumulate, integrate, analyze and process data concerning business operation in order to give the historical, current, and predictive views of business operations, and help make correct business decision. 
    The term "business intelligence" is first mentioned In 1958 by IBM researcher Hans Peter Luhn. But It is until the late of 1990s that this usage is widespread. In the past, we faced far less competition in the business operation. So bad decisions or missed opportunities often could not lead to disastrous results. But Today a bad decision or missed opportunity can mean the end of your business. So the business  intelligence is playing a deadly important role in the strategic planning process of a company.
    In a business intelligence system, information is key to making the right business decisions at the right time. But in the current world, the information volume is huge and is increasing in a exploding speed. So the information processing is impossible by hand. Fortunately with the development of computer and network technologies, more and more software, tools and algorithms are developed to help us collect, analyze and process these business information and make correct decisions. Generally these information or data are stored in databaseand the specific business intelligence software or applications can be used to analyze and process them based on specific algorithms. Finally some normalized reports or analytical results can be generated automatically, like statistical charts, dashboards, spreadsheets, tabular reports.
  • Online Analytical Processing (OLAP)
    online analytical processing is a function of business intelligence software that enables users to easily and selectively extract and view data from different points of view. The OLAP server is normally a separate component that contains specialized algorithms and indexing tools to efficiently process data.

    Data mining (also called data discovery or knowledge discovery) is the process of analyzing data from different views and summarizing it into useful information.

  • Business Performance Management (BPM)
    Business Performance Management is a management method that aids enterprises in optimizing business performance through the analysis of business processes and the provision of forecasting tools and performance analysis. It can involve monitoring and managing a company's performance, according to some key performance indicators such as revenue, return on investment, overhead, and operational costs.
    In business intelligence, benchmarks are especially useful. They are programs to evaluate how successful a business is. It could help answer the questions like: How are we conducting our business? What's the difference between us and other companies? Benchmarks can help establish rational performance goals through the comparison with the industry best practice. By processing benchmarks, you could learn much from the experience, mistakes, information and revelations of others in the industry.
    Predictive analytics is a branch of programs concerned with the prediction of future probabilities and trends. The key element of predictive analytics is the predictor, a variable that can be measured for an individual or company to predict future behavior. To use predictive analytics, a predictive model must be set up to analyze the current and historical data and records, then the prediction about the future can be made.       

Now the typical modern deployment of a modern business intelligence application is based on the Web, which depends on internet or intranet connections. More advanced business intelligence applications can be founded  in the market with optimized functions for mobile devices, smart phones, and e-mail. Business intelligence applications can be:
  • Mission-critical and integral to an enterprise's operations or occasional to meet a special requirement
  • Enterprise-wide or local to one division, department, or project
  • Centrally initiated or driven by user demand

    Usually, the application areas of business intelligence include, but not limited to customer profiling, customer support, market research, market segmentation, product profitability, statistical analysis, and inventory and distribution analysis. In a short summary,  the business intelligence technologies can help a company control their costs by

  • Reducing cost of business operations
  • Reducing total cost of managing and delivering information
  • Sharing information for employees, partners and clients
  • Optimizing collaboration and work flow
  • Automating legacy processes
    It can also accelerate business growth by
  • Enabling faster. more accurate decisions
  • shortening the time before the product brought to market 
  • creating new business models and operating styles
  • saving human resources




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