An organization’s data assets are its most important resource outside of its employees. In the same way that a company’s workforce is comprised of a diverse collection of individuals, its data resources can be distributed among various systems and databases throughout the organization. The emergence of big data and the Internet of Things (IoT) have introduced new data streams that result in further diversity. This can make it difficult to fully grasp the scope of the enterprise information assets that are available.
The term business intelligence (BI) refers to systems and tools used to collect, store, access and analyze an organization’s data resources. The goal of business intelligence is to enable better decisions to be made regarding how corporate information stores are used. Data is analyzed to profile customers, conduct market research, and understand the supply chain implications of inventory and distribution capability. Using BI effectively can give a business a tremendous competitive advantage. Ignoring the potential benefits locked in data assets can doom a company to failure.
What Are Business Intelligence Systems?
BI is differentiated from the related concept of business analytics in the type of information the two entities are meant to provide. Analytics is predictive and prescriptive, offering insight into what has happened and perhaps shed light on ways to create better outcomes. It concentrates on predicting ways that a business can change its operation or focus to achieve different results.
Business intelligence is descriptive and offers insight into the current state of an organization. BI is usually aimed at managers and executives, not at data scientists or analysts. The information that BI systems provide needs to be accessible to non-technical users and allow them to manipulate the data to create new reports for deeper understanding.
BI systems encompass a wide range of software solutions and tools to deliver the required views of enterprise data resources. The features and functionality that are most sought-after in these solutions include:
Dashboards - Tools that offer the ability to create dashboards to present real-time data to stakeholders are vital components of BI solutions. Customizable dashboards enable executive teams to focus on exactly the data they need to make timely and informed decisions.
Visualizations - Complex information is often best understood visually. Software solutions that offer the flexibility to present data in the appropriate visualization make it easier for all stakeholders to grasp and use to make the right choices about their business.
Reporting - A robust reporting feature is essential in BI as well as business analytics. The ability to schedule reports and perform focused, ad-hoc reporting on emerging issues that impact the enterprise is critically important.
Drill-down capability - Allowing stakeholders to drill-down into the dashboards, visualizations, and reports assists in deriving usable BI from corporate data resources. Focusing on specific areas of interest, management teams can make better use of the BI available to them.
Managing Business Intelligence Systems
Many organizations rely on extensive SQL Server implementations to store, access and analyze their data resources. IDERA’s SQL BI Manager is a tool designed to perform comprehensive monitoring of the SQL Server BI environment. It specifically observes the SQL Server Analysis Services (SSAS), SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS), and SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS). The tool enables IT teams to ensure system availability and quickly identify and address problems.
Some of the SQL BI Manager’s features include:
In the competitive business world in which we live, having the right tools at your disposal can make the difference between failure and success. SQL BI Manager enables you to get the most relevant information out of your SQL Servers and will contribute to the viability of any organization.
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