Business Intelligence (BI) / Data Warehouse (DW) Insider

Operational, Tactical, & Strategic Dashboards

Business Intelligence, Posts Sep 02, 2011 No Comments

Xcelsius DashboardAs your organization seeks to better understand its customer and manage a diverse line of services and products, operational, tactical and strategic dashboards should become a critical addition to your planning and decision-making toolbox. Whether the dashboard provides your Executive Director a 30,000-foot view of the organization as a whole, or the product line manager an interactive interface which allows exploration into the details of a particular product’s performance, your organization can benefit a well-built dashboard.

Achieving accuracy and consistency for all dashboards within an organization can be both a challenging and expensive task. To this end, TMA Resources delivers three categories of dashboards to its customers to ensure that the right type of presentation is delivered to your organization’s decision–makers …

• Operational Dashboards: Continuously monitor core business processes with real-time transactional data. Alert your managers upon thresholds being exceeded or upon an exception in the data.

• Tactical Dashboards: Provide the department manager with a quick view into how his or her department is performing and highlight areas of concern—so the manager can take action to forestall less-than-optimal performance.

• Strategic Dashboards: Provide senior managers and executives with a glance of the organization’s performance in relation to strategic goals. These dashboards are typically based upon data residing in one of the organizations data warehouses or data marts and contain time-stamped snapshots of data.

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Key Benefits of a Data Warehouse

Business Intelligence, Data Warehousing, Front Page, Posts Jul 28, 2011 No Comments

Cool Data Warehouse

Data Warehouses are centralized data repositories that integrate data from various transactional, legacy, or external systems, applications, and sources. The data warehouse provides an environment separate from the operational systems and is completely designed for decision-support, analytical-reporting, ad-hoc queries, and data mining. This isolation and optimization enables queries to be performed without any impact on the systems that support the business’ primary transactions (i.e transactional and operational systems). Read more »

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BI Market: Data Mining & Predictive Analytics (Vendors and Products) – 2011

Business Intelligence, Posts Jul 22, 2011 1 Comment

Data Mining & Predictive Analytic solutions provide the capabilities of analyzing large data sets in order to find patterns that can help to isolate key variables to build predictive models for management decision making.  In addition, data mining applications help discover hidden patterns and relationships in data in order to effectively project and predict future results. In order to accomplish this goal, data mining application utilize statistics, algorithms, advanced mathematical techniques, and sophisticated data search capabilities.  Moreover, these sophisticated tools provide answers to questions that may never have been asked and they are effectively able to determine relative amounts of correlation between data elements. Further, the predictive features of these data mining tools enable organizations to exploit useful patterns in data that may have otherwise been difficult to determine.

In 2011, the market leading vendors for data mining systems include: IBM SPSS, SAS, SAP Business Objects, Oracle, MicroStrategy, ThinkAnalytics, Pentaho, & Angoss.

BI Vendor Products - Data Mining (2011)

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BI Market: OLAP (Vendors and Products) – 2011

Business Intelligence, Posts Jul 20, 2011 2 Comments

On-line analytical processing (OLAP) solutions provide advanced techniques for rapidly visualizing and analyzing business metrics across different points of view. OLAP is a term used to generically refer to software and applications that provide users with the ability to store and access data in OLAP cubes (also called a ‘multidimensional cube’ or a hypercube) with this “cube” being made up of numeric facts, called measures, and text values, called dimensions.

Moreover, OLAP systems provide users with insight into past performance and they enable a deep understanding of the reasons behind why previous events have occurred. Fundamentally, OLAP systems allow users to rapidly view and analyze data from many perspectives or dimensions and allows the users to conduct sophisticated “What-If” analysis.

In 2011, the market leading vendors for OLAP systems include: SAP Business Objects, Oracle, IBM Cognos, MicroStrategy, Microsoft, SAS, Pentaho, & Jaspersoft.

BI Vendor Products - OLAP (2011)

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BI Market: Dashboard Management (Vendors and Products) – 2011

Business Intelligence, Posts Jul 20, 2011 No Comments

Dashboard management systems are intended to facilitate and support the information and decision-making needs of management by providing easy access to key business information in a highly graphical and intuitive format. Fundamentally, a dashboard is a graphical business tool that displays a set of KPIs (key performance indicators), metrics, and any other relevant information to a business user, manager, or key decision-maker in a single consolidated view and allows for organizational performance to be easily measured and monitored.  Dashboard data is often displayed as aggregate information and contains data that consolidated from multiple data sources scattered throughout an organization. Dashboards are commonly interactive and provide users users the ability to drill into particular aspects of the display and/or rapidly switch between views of the data.

In 2011, the market leading vendors for dashboard management systems include: SAP Business Objects, Oracle, IBM Cognos, MicroStrategy, Microsoft, SAS, QlikTech, LogiXML, Corda, Dundas, iDashboards, Pentaho, & Jaspersoft.

BI Vendor Products - Dashboard Management (2011)

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BI Market: Ad-Hoc Query & Analysis (Vendors and Products) – 2011

Business Intelligence, Posts Jul 19, 2011 No Comments

Query and analysis solutions enable business users and analysts to rapidly generate business queries and reports from enterprise data based upon business question of the data.  Also known as “ad-hoc” querying, these tools typically provide intuitive, graphical interfaces that shields users from technical complexities and allows users to leverage business terminology instead of the more technical database names. The business focus of these tools allows nontechnical professionals to be comfortable with their data and allows them to quickly and efficiently satisfy their own information needsin real time with minimal assistance from system developers. Commonly, query and analysis environments include a middleware layer that converts database conventions into business nomenclature that is more intuitive and understanding to end-users. Moreover, query & analysis environments give users the capability to access and analyze data in a unique and personal manner. Utilized primarily by business users, query and analysis solutions provide an environment that enables interactive methods to query data, present data in an ad-hoc manner, and find information on an as-needed basis.

In 2011, the market leading vendors for ad-hoc query and analysis include: SAP Business Objects, Oracle, IBM Cognos, MicroStrategy, Microsoft, Information Builders (IBI), Pentaho, Jaspersoft, & SAS.

BI Vendor Products - AdHoc Query & Analysis (2011)

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New Product Names within SAP BusinessObjects Version 4.0

Business Intelligence, Business Objects, Posts Jul 14, 2011 1 Comment

 

The latest version of SAP Business Objects, released in 2011, has been officially named SAP BusinessObjects 4.0 with the title “XI” being removed from the release number. Many of the client tools in the SAP Business Objects application suite will also have a new name in the new version.

 

Business Objects Application Names for BOBJ XI 3.x vs. BOBJ 4.0

Business Objects (BOBJ) 4.0 - New Application Names

 

Source: http://bit.ly/gVurCF

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BI Market: Operational Reporting (Vendors and Products) – 2011

Business Intelligence, Posts Jul 12, 2011 No Comments

Operational reports are pre-designed business reports that focus on listings of data at the detailed level with data presented within a highly-structured format. Also known as “canned reports”, operational reports enable organizations to present data in a logical format and are designed to support the day-to-day activities of an organization at the transaction level. They are typically developed by information technology (IT) departments and/or advanced report users that have a good understanding of reporting tools, business rules, and database concepts. In addition, operational reports can be scheduled, refreshed, and distributed on a regular basis. Fundamentally operational reports are used by people with the responsibility for improving their organization’s operations.

In 2011, the market leading vendors for operational reporting include: SAP Business Objects, Oracle, IBM, MicroStrategy, Microsoft, Information Builders (IBI), Pentaho, JasperSoft, Actuate, and LogiXML.

BI Vendor Products - Operational Reporting (2011)

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Components of SAP BusinessObjects: Universes

Business Intelligence, Business Objects, Posts Jul 11, 2011 No Comments

A BusinessObjects Universe is a middleware device that contains a business representation of a data warehouse, data marts, or other reporting database. Fundamentally, the universe enables the end-user of BusinessObjects to interact with data without having to understand the complexities of database logic or be familiar with where the physical data is stored. Moreover, the universe is built around common business terminology that describes the business environment and provides the end-user the ability to intuitively query and retrieve exactly the data that they need.

Also known as a “semantic layer”, the universe is an intermediary layer between a database or data source and dependent reports, queries, or dashboards.  The universe is a requirement as a data source for WebIntelligence and Xcelsius dashboards, while being optional as a data source for Crystal Reports.

Role of Business Objects Universe

A universe is developed using the BusinessObjects Designer tool and a universe file (.unv) contains:
•  Database connection information
•  Objects grouped into classes seen by the users
•  Objects that map to database structures
•  A schema of tables and joins based on the database
Components of a Universe Include:
•  Classes – Logical groupings of fields and objects
•  Tables – Mappings to database tables and views
•  Objects – Structures that map to database fields
•  Joins – SQL specifications on how tables relate (contains both inner and outer join information)
•  Contexts – Groups of related tables with their related joins

Universe within BusinessObjects Designer

Key Advantages of Utilizing a BusinessObjects Universe:
•  Only the universe developer needs to understand the structure of the underlying database.
•  Cryptic database jargon is hidden from end-users
•  The designer tool allows the creation of the universe in an easy-to-use graphical interface.
•  The data is read-only so there is no danger of the data being edited or changed by the end user.
•  Reports can be created using a simple interface using drag and drop techniques.
•  All data fields utilize consistent business terminology.
•  Standards can be applied across data fields.

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Components of SAP BusinessObjects: Explorer

Business Intelligence, Business Objects, Posts Jul 07, 2011 No Comments

BusinessObjects Explorer is a relatively new component of the SAP BusinessObjects product suite that provides a more advanced and intuitive data exploration interface for business intelligence end-users, both casual and power users.  Explorer encompasses the simplicity and speed of web-search technologies with the trust and analytical power of conventional business intelligence technologies to provide deep understanding and immediate answers to both simple and sophisticated business questions.  BusinessObjects Explorer provides end-users with the capability of quickly exploring and visualizing large data sets.  Features includes searching and sorting, interactive drilldowns, and various types of dynamic graphical visualizations while navigating through corporate data.

SAP BusinessObjects Explorer

Features and Functions of BusinessObjects Explorer

Robust Search Capability
• Search Experience Similar to Google or Yahoo – Users enter keywords to find instant business information with return results ranked by relevance.
• Search Concurrent Data Sources – Reach data across an entire SAP BusinessObjects landscape and any data source that it accesses.
• Self-Service Access – Pervasive searches with queries directly to data without the need for a predefined report or query.
Trust and Power of a Conventional Business Intelligence System
• Guided Data Exploration – The most relevant keyword search results are presented first, allowing end-users to access additional contextually relevant details as they explore.
• Intuitive Visualization – The system automatically generates charts and grapchs that best represents the information being queries – no cryptic data model or data knowledge is required by any end-user.
• Team Collaboration – Share information easily via e-mail, embedded URL, and other popular communication formats.
Ease of Deployment to End-Users
• Leverages Existing BusinessObjects Infrastructure – Reuses existing universes, security, and administration services already deployed within the BusinessObjects platform.
• Limited End-User Training Required – Intuitive end-user interface and functionality allows first-time users to get started with next-to-no formal training.
• Rapid Implementation Schedule – Add search, exploration, and visualization functionality to an existing BusinessObjects deployment in as little as a few days.

 

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