Business Intelligence is, in my opinion, one the most under implemented capabilities in applications. What do I mean? Well I guess I’d have to level set what I mean by BI. BI is one of those many overused buzz words in an industry of “I’m cool cause I know the buzzword de jour.” But buzzwords mean nothing unless there is some substantive value behind them. There absolutely is with BI.
To me BI is simple. It’s the ability to take data, view it, twist it, turn it, ask questions of it, predict outcomes, and ultimately make intelligent business decisions because you have it (data of course). We all have data. We have it in our minds, in spreadsheets, in XML, in the apps we write… I could go on, but I think you get the point. However, we’re not all embracing the powerful insight we can gain using the data we have.
I’ve spent most of my career building Online Transaction Processing (OLTP) systems. I’ll make a daring assumption and say that most of you reading this have as well. BI is that thing developers think about AFTER they have built their OLTP app (guilty as charged). It’s the old “We’ve collected all this data. I guess we should do something with it.” To be fair, nowadays most people think about “reporting” when they build an app. If you do, then you are on the right track to unlocking the power of information. But there’s so much more. Now, there are all sorts of additional buzzwords in the BI world like OLAP, cube, dimension, measure, data warehousing, ETL, KPI, scorecarding, ad hoc reporting, etc., etc., blah, blah, blah (now you’re cool too). I’m not going to explain all of these terms. Instead, I hope to pique your interest in BI and I’ll point you to some FREE resources to help you get up to speed on building BI solutions with SQL Server 2005.
I challenge you. If you are writing software, then think about all the ways your data can be utilized to make intelligent business decisions. So go on. Get crazy. Add some BI to your life!
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