Within a changing environment, a new style of the business system has got more importance than before. The development of business intelligence systems needs certain analytical tools like vision, money, and patience for their development. The main duty of the Business Intelligence System is to make sure that a correct decision is taken using available data at the correct time. (The role of business intelligence in modern business 2009).
A given data becomes business intelligence only when it is handled by the decision-makers who are experts in that particular field. Business intelligence is a popular word that is being used by Decision Support technologies. This paper discusses the importance of the business intelligence system in the intelligent and combined use of information and decision-making with the help of knowledge sharing.
Relationship between Business Intelligent and collaborative use of information
The current business environment has become more complex day by day. A company has to answer a lot of questions each day, like what is the impact of price change over the buying behavior of customers, whether the product meets the customer demand, whether the current distribution channel is appropriate etc. The success of the business depends upon collecting and analyzing information when necessary i.e. at the right time. (The value of business service management, 2007).
The flow of information should be smooth to handle all the operations of a business. The business should collect, organize and store information like economic, social, legal, political, etc. and should be continuously updated for coping up with the changing environment to meet the objectives. The success or failure of the organization depends upon the timeliness of information to access on demand. A Business Intelligence system is a solution for the organizing, storing, and managing of information to be supplied upon demand. Business Intelligence (BI) can be defined as “the ways in which we store and use business information. Collection, integration, analyzing and presentation are the technologies included in BI. By using information the data warehouse and with the help of suitable software can find the report about the history of the business and can forecast the future of the business. By using this method one can easily find the opportunities and threats associated with that business. (Business intelligence – definitions and Resources, 2009).
The main tasks performed by business intelligence are as follows:
- To forecast demand for the future based on the past data and analyze the forecasted
- To analyze the impact of changing environment upon business;
- To provide answers to the specific non-routine questions;
- To get insight into strategic decision-making.
We can see how these are performed by Business Intelligence. In order to perform these tasks, certain data storing and analyzing technologies are utilized. A data warehouse is one of such important data storing and analyzing technology. Some other such types of technologies are OLAP (On-Line Analytical Processing), Data Mining, Data Visualization and GIS (Geographical Information System) offered by the Business Intelligence to help in handling and processing the information of the business.
Data warehouse is the important component of Business Intelligence and “is a collection of integrated, subject-oriented databases designed to support DSS function, where each unit of data is non-volatile and relevant to some moment in time.” (Muntean, 2007, p. 101).
There are different characteristics of data warehousing:
- Orientation of subject: data that are divided according to the users referring them.
- Integrated data: data are collected from many sources and integrated into a single form.
- Time-Variant: data given are normally in time series.
- Non-volatile: data cannot be changed on time as they are made in read-only format. (Data warehousing concepts, 2002).
In data warehousing, various approaches to design them are optimized for understanding various data and consolidated together into an approach called Dimensional Model. The data such as sales revenue or profit margin are some of the different ways of understanding numeric measures and they are called the center of the dimensional model. Data related to numeric data is collected as a fact table which consists of columns for each. Dimensions are one of the ways of looking at information. The number of columns is there in a dimension that shows a descriptive text. These are named Attributes. The time dimension is one of the important dimensions.
On-line-Analytical Processing (OLAP) can be said as one of the best ways of data converting into information. OLAP is an application tool, which helps the users to obtain business data at a “lighting speed” instead of waiting for couple of days by providing them an interactive environment. CUBE is a particular word that can be always used with OLAP but can be never used with relational databases. The cube can be a word used to describe “what in the relational world would be the integration of the fact table with dimension tables.” (Muntean, 2007, p. 101).
OLAP is a query language that has been developed by Multi-Dimensional Expressions (MDX) where several database OLAP has been supported. (Dundas chart for.net olap services 2008).
Data Mining is the process where important business decisions are made by extracting valuable, which is unknown previously, completely broad and movable data from a large database. (Data mining enterprise edition gain 2009). Data visualization, when the gathered data or information is presented graphically, can be said as Visualization. This is prepared with the goal of providing the viewers quantitative information about the contents.
Characteristics of these types are they may be numeric, symbolic, discrete or continuous, ordered or non-ordered, multidimensional, single or multiple etc.
A good visualization may be effective, accurate, efficient, and adaptable. (Ward).
GIS is used for capturing, keeping the captured information, studying that information, and presenting geographical information. Here data identification is done based on the locality. (Geographic information systems, 2007).
GIS has the ability to relate information from various data into a specific context and bring a conclusion and the relationship of the data. In this system data are identified according to the location.
The information made by the business intelligence must be eye-catching and must be consistent. Even if any extra data are being added, they should not bring any major changes in the business decision. Business intelligence has to bring the company into success. Creating a data warehouse is more expensive and time-consuming than making a data mart. It must also assure that it contains one piece of data within the organization. Business intelligence needs certain tools for gathering information. By assigning comfortable tools, orders can be completed quickly. The next procedure is to analyze the data that are stored for decision making. To have an effective working system a sharp business intelligence working system is essential. Business analysts should arrive at a perfect solution to have a targeted impact on business.
Major usages of BI are given below:
- Business operation reporting: Bi is commonly used for this purpose.
- Forecasting: Forecasting can be said to be both sciences as well as art. It is so because nobody is sure about the future so it can be said as art, and it is called science because past data are also being taken.
- Dashboard: Information that is being conveyed at a glance is named as a dashboard. Presentation is very important for Dashboard.
- Analysis is done in a multidimensional way: Multidimensional data is the process of slicing the data. It helps to give data in rough forms. To bring this into action there is a need for data warehousing or data mart.
- Correlation is found in different factors: In this process, deep diving is done into business intelligence. Questions are asked like, “How is the correlation of different factors done each other?” (Business intelligences uses, 2009).
Relationship between Business Intelligence for decision making with knowledge share
A business is a set of activities. All of these activities take place for a particular purpose like science, technology, industry etc. Intelligent system is a communication medium used in the business. It is used to guide the business to achieve the desired goal. Basic objective of a business intelligence system is to provide necessary information which helps the activities conducted by various levels of people in the organization. It helps to speed up the performance of the entire business. (Luhn).
Business intelligent system helps to take decisions in business. So it is a kind of decision support system (DSS). In the past, organizations did not use business intelligence systems for their decision-making, but they followed traditional methods to solve problems and to take decisions. This traditional method has a lot of drawbacks.
Traditional decision systems did not provide the necessary result. The first drawback of the traditional decision-making system is that there is no scope for potential choice. Her perspective is a problem. It varies from one person to another. In this method, decision-making is done based on limited perspectives and options. The second drawback is data. Now information gathering is an easy process. If one takes a decision by the traditional method, there may be a lot of information to contradict the decision taken by the management. The third drawback is it destroys the interpersonal relationship. Different stakeholders have different opinions. So the chance for accusation is high. Fourth drawback is the problems related to implementation. And the last drawback is simply called unknown. It may be luck. Every decision should have consequences. (Taking aim: The 5 inherent defects of traditional decision-making, 2005).
Simon’s contribution is very important in decision-making. He made an intelligent decision process model. His model has four phases. They are intelligence phase, design phase, choice phase and review phase. (Balram, & Dragićević, 2006, P.93).
Each phase has a connection. Intelligent phase searches the environment from where decision is needed or it is a scanning of the environment. Design phase develops and analyzes different courses of action. Choice phase compares different courses of action and selects the most suitable one from all the courses of action. The review phase, which is also called implementation phase, an evaluation of past choices is done. (Rabin & Jackowski, 1987, p. 114).
A decision support system has different types of decisions and different types of control. Decisions may be structured or unstructured. (Riahi-Belkaoui, 2002, p. 13).
In structured decision-making, the problem domain has a clear structure in the first three phases. In unstructured decision-making, the problem domain does not have a clear structure in the first three phases. Business intelligent system is a successor of DSS. Structure of business intelligent system includes data warehouse environment, business analytics environment, and performance and strategy. Business intelligence has a key value in knowledge management. Business intelligence scrutinizes business activities and gives proper information to business users. It helps them to optimize their business functions. Here the analysis is done based on the data kept in the data warehouse. Data warehouse collects data from various business transactions and stores them in an integrated single storage area. Data warehouse uses SQL and Query computer languages for retrieving and processing these stored data. Business users gather information from the business intelligence system. With the help of their expertise or knowledge they take appropriate decisions. If the business user accepts help from other business users for taking decisions, then it is a non-programming approach. If the knowledge is captured or developed based on the business rule then this kind of decision-making is a programming approach. (White, 2005).
Knowledge management is used to store and categorize different information in an organization. It helps business users to make decisions. Through business knowledge and business intelligence, the organization generates its values. It helps decision-making. IT has an important role in the knowledge management. IT supports KM in the form of e-mail, website etc. (Levinson, 2009).
Analytical knowledge is the nucleus of business intelligence. It is taken out from the database and knowledge base. In the earlier section of this essay mentioned the modern technologies like OLAP, data warehouse etc used for data storing and analyzing. They are used in the business intelligence system. It helps not only for obtaining essential information but also for improving the business organizations’ spirited advantages. (Wang, 2008).
The above discussions indicate that business intelligence has an important role in decision-making in business. By using information from the business intelligence system experts make any decision related to the business organization. It is useful for both the managerial level and for the customers. According to Chung, “Business intelligence tools enable organizations to understand their internal and external environment through the systematic acquisition, collection, analysis, interpretation, and exploitation of information.” (Wang, 2008). It helps organizations to take an appropriate decisions.
In BI the business users and business itself receive the business advantages by using the given information. By using BI business gets the gathered data in a single structure. It helps anyone in the organization to conduct online reporting and to study the current status of the particular business. Whatever additional data are added in the process, there must not be any greater change in the decision process. The business intelligence must have the ability to mix all those into a single form and bring the business into a success. Decision taken by using business intelligence provides the necessary result. Business intelligence system is working with the support of new technology. Here the user has enough choice for taking a decision. There is less chance for raising a contradiction for the decision taken by the management or the business user. The decision taken by using BI by using knowledge does not destroy any interpersonal relationship.
- Balram, Shivanand., & Dragićević, Suzana (2006), Collaborative geographic information systems, Idea Group INC. Web.
- Business intelligence uses (2009), 1keydata.com, Web.
- Business intelligence – definitions and Resources (2009), About.com: Tech Careers.
- Business intelligences uses (2009), 1keydata.com, Web.
- Data warehousing concepts. (2002). Oracle9i Data Warehousing Guide, Web.
- Data mining enterprise edition: gain insight into hidden patterns and relationships in your data to discover indicators of future performance (2009), Pentaho.
- Dundas chart for.net olap services. (2008). Dundas: Data Visualization.
- Geographic information systems (2007), USGS: Science for a changing World.
- Levinson, Meridith (2009), Knowledge management definition and solutions, CIO.
- Luhn, H. P, A business intelligence system: Objective and principles.
- Muntean, Mihaela (2007), Business intelligence support systems and infrastructures, Economy Informatics, p. 101.
- Riahi-Belkaoui, Ahmed (2002), Behavioral management accounting, Greenwood Publishing Group. Web.
- Rabin, Jack., and Jackowski, Edward M (1987), Handbook of information resource management, CRC Press, p. 114. Web.
- Taking aim: The 5 inherent defects of traditional decision-making (2005), The Cannon Advantage.
- The role of business intelligence in modern business (2009), Invertech.
- The value of business service management (2007), Compuware.
- Ward, Mathew, Overview of data visualization, Web.
- Wang, John (2008), Encyclopedia of data warehousing and mining, Idea Group Inc, p. 31, Web.
- White, Colin, (2005), The role of business intelligence in knowledge management, BeyeNetwork.