The purpose of this literature review is to provide an overall perspective to the workings of business intelligence in a corporate environment. With the onset of massive tech analogical gains in the past decade the implementation of business intelligence has grown accordingly. In the workplace the demand for business process improvement, responsive reporting cutting edge forecasting, and internal business customer relations has triggered a need for a unit that understands the business needs as well as the impact on company technology.
This review will focus on the various areas that business intelligence impacts in the workplace. There will also be an emphasis on understanding the longevity of these types of units. With these units in the workplace questions concerning departmental automation goals and the impact on the maturity stages that are involved with the creation of business intelligence units. Finally, with the growth of data collection and ease of use, the security and management of company information is intertwined with the operation of business intelligence.
The Age of Information The Role of Shifting Technology Throughout history technology has influenced the very fabric of business operations. The role of business intelligence in this shift is the implementation and continuous improvement of that technology. This role is ever changing because technology continues to improve. While to some the role of business intelligence seems new and upcoming the usage and practice goes back to the earliest days of industry. An example of this history would be in the automation industry. In years past large amounts of labor was done by hand.
The role of the business analyst would be to collect and analyze the entire business process from start to finish. Once this was done the analyst would narrow their focus to the individual in an attempt to provide management with data to increase speed and efficiency. That role is now used to analyze the systems and machines that are responsible for making the products. While the example above is simple the connection between the shift in technology and the role of business intelligence is clear. With any business the desire for information is strong.
To be competitive a company needs to be aware of the business environment in which they operate. Business intelligence serves to meet the information and improvement goals that drive the company to greater success. For this literature review there is an article written by Elliot King that exemplifies the shift of technology and the role of business intelligence on it. King focuses on the large amount of company resources that are spent on the implementation, development, and management of business intelligence technology in the workplace.
This attention has been driven by the increasing demand for such software products and personnel to manage them. Understanding this current shift King focuses on the role business intelligence as and will continue to have on the business that use data en mass. The article provides a brief look at the history Of data storage and misconceptions about employee interest in accessing the data. This interest has largely been pushed down due to the complex nature of interacting with the information present within the data warehouse.
With the explosion of the internet and user assimilation to it these technical barriers are slowing beginning to fall (King, 1998). With the ease of use and understanding increasing employees are beginning to grasp the value of data. This is where the role of business intelligence has thrived. Business intelligence has been implemented to bridge the gap between the employee and the business data stored in the warehouse. This is done through a variety methods that have made data more and more useful to the companies that have and utilize their data.
King summarizes his article with the theory that as the internet was opened far and wide to all this should concept should be applied to the data warehousing. While King understands that the two pieces of technology are different he affirms that they are similar enough in nature that the same approach can be applied. Overall, the article provide a good look at how the haft of technology in business can affect the demand for systems and the personnel that maintain and operate them (King, 1998).
The impact of Business growth With the growth of business the world has begun to shrink No longer are companies that employ a hundred or even a thousand considered to be impressive. In 2014 Bank of America was reported to have employed two hundred and eighty four thousand people to run its operations around the globe (“Bank of America,” 2014). The implications of companies of this size are astounding and have significantly impacted the demand for business intelligence. To truly understand why a company would spend millions of dollars on business intelligence operations a simple example can be provided.
For Bank of America each employee is assigned a unique number or code that distinguishes him or her from the rest of the employees within the organization. On the other side of the table each customer that has interacted with the bank is also assigned a unique identifier. If these are added together the quantity of unique entities starts to become astounding. The example above shows why a business like Bank of America would be heavily interested in utilizing business intelligence assets to manage the data associated with its business units.
While the example provided only touches on areas concerning employees and customers the amount of data associated with those people can be mind boggling. For employees this data could be anything from human resource forms to vacation day requests. For customers the data could be products purchased, recorded marketing calls, website interaction as well as a host of other areas. In 2000 Deborah Rowe an article that centered on business trends pushing database management systems to greater growth.
Rowe focuses on the data warehousing concept that has proved to meet a large majority of business deeds in terms of information management. The focus of the article is to explain how progress is pushing for better and better systems for managing data. The article talks about how increasing competition has created a lean environment for data management. Companies that are complacent with their data are either failing or catching on to the need for better interaction and usage of their data. Rowe delves into the process of choosing these systems from a corporate perspective.
The challenges presented by this type of implementation are rather glaring. These challenges include upfront cost, long term cost, and mismanagement f data. If a company chooses to implement a product that its employees don’t understand correctly the effects can be devastating on the business. Hiring knowledgeable employees to manage and implement the product is essential to long term success. With all of these hurdles of implementing a DB’S system the task can be daunting. Rowe discusses how the task of purchasing and implanting a DB’S needs to be done with great caution and a clear focus.
If a business isn’t able to look further down the road and consider how the DB’S can be used in the future it will fail completely. Having a perspective that encompasses as much Of the impasses goals and visions is critical. This is why companies are constantly looking for individuals that are able to focus on a detailed system but be able to at the same time look at the broader scope of the company’s needs (Rowe , 2000). In summation the article leaves the reader with an interesting perspective on the increasing demand for these systems. Rowe concludes that the ERP industry will grow and tremendous pace in the future.
With that growth the need for knowledgeable employees that understand the systems use and can translate the data to affect business needs will continuing to increase. The increasing corporate demand. At its very core business is driven by two simple concepts. These are the laws of revenue and expenses. In business these two laws drive companies on a daily basis. Popular opinion about these concepts can sometimes sway in either direction. Proponents may put all of their support into revenue generation while others will focus on creating the perfect lean business model.
Whatever the theory or opinion is the law of revenues and expenses will remain the same. As discussed in this review the expenses of implementing DB’S systems and employing highly skilled individuals can be massive. To a company that purely focuses on the expense side of the equation these systems may seem like a waste of precious assets. To others who understand the future and current impact of these systems the decision to utilize them is an easy one. Like the concepts Of revenues and expenses the goals of a company can dictate the perspective of business intelligence units.
The reason demand has begun to steadily increase over the past decade is the potential to affect both the expense and revenue side of the business structure. Business intelligence units are designed to support departments in ways that can amplify their rents revenue production and decrease their expense habits. An article written by Ken Ruddy explains how corporate demand for business intelligence in their companies is steadily increasing. Ruddy talks about how business intelligence has become a very high priority for business executives who understand the values they can derive from business improvement.
This demand has grown to the point where corporate leaders are focusing on moving past the traditional business intelligence processes (Ruddy , 2007) . Ruddy explains the implications of this progressive thought process by realizing the impact of software applications that software products have had on industry to business intelligence services. The discussion is focused on how executives are looking into custom company specific solution provided on an instant. This type business process software is highly intuitive and seeks to provide all of the necessary tools needed to make an informed business decision.
Examples of these on-demand solutions are software’s likes SQL Server Reporting Services by Microsoft. This sofa;are allows for not only the display of information but the real time interaction with the data that the web revise are pulling their content from. Ruddy discusses how these types of solutions are not only catching fire they are exploding all over the business world. This explosion of demand is driven by the complexity of the data being pulled as well as the cost associated with the data being collected and stored.
This cost and complexity equation is what Ruddy believes is the key piece to business intelligence demand. Like the example of revenues and expenses the idea surrounding on-demand solutions is the same. The question asked is, ‘What can these solutions do that allow a normal employee to do their job t a higher level which in turns into a higher rate of return for their employer Concluding Riding’s article he discusses that a key factor associated with on demand business intelligence solutions is the usability of the product.
Having solutions created that users do not understand or lose trust in can be a major drain on process improvement. Ruddy emphasizes that the development of these processes needs to be done in such a way that they take into account the users that are interacting with them. This is essential to developing a trust relationship between the users and the product (Ruddy , 2007). Business Intelligence Tools The Role of Reporting Reporting is one the most essential pieces of and type of business process.
If a company sells laundry detergent it needs to know how much product it has, how much product it has sold, and how much it should produce. These three simple questions speak to the ramifications of good reporting data within a business. There is so much information that is gathered by companies with the singular intent of providing reports for business decisions. This gathering is done in a way that the information collected in stored in some type of server which houses a virtual warehouse.
Like a physical warehouse it is critical to understand how and where something is stored so that it can be retrieved for future use. When it comes to reporting the challenge presented to businesses is the quantity and placement of their data. If a business is unable to utilize their data efficiently they are sacrificing business opportunities every second the data is left idle. This quandary has been analyzed and the solution has been to purchase and employee people and products to provide this data in a useful format for business use.
In a business intelligence unit a data analyst will focus on first understanding the overall goal of a report request. This is important because the impact of creating something purely based on the request can lead to disastrous results. These can range from customers not understanding the terminology used within the reporting system to not grasping the capability or usage of the system being used to provide the report. To make sure these requests are understand correctly a business intelligence unit is commonly found implemented within a specific area of the business.
This cultivates a cross knowledge between the highly technical nature of the reporting systems to the broad scope goals of a particular business department. This type of side by side interaction can be a major benefit to not only getting more precise and accurate reporting it also serves as educating tool to the department through exposure. An article written in 2005 by Harry Debs explains this process in detail. The author of the article begins the discussion by emphasizing the importance Of timely and accurate data.
These two pieces are the bread and butter of business intelligence. The reason for this is that both factors are highly dependent on each other. Debs explains this concept by focusing on the energy market and the application of business reports in this area of industry. He shows that there various daily functions that are conducted that are in need of constant monitoring to allow for efficient operation. Some of the examples include repair requests, credit collections, meter usage, demand fluctuations, and most important customers (Debs , 2005).
All of the examples cited by Debs are common sense in nature but they require an entire business process to effectively report on. Using the example of meter usage by having daily reports energy companies can identify issues based on real time data and not be forced to swallow a catastrophe because of something as simple as mechanical fault. The problem could easily be identified by a simple reporting tool that was programmed to expect a specific range of usage. If the range was violated the system would send an alert with a level of priority based on the disparity of the ranges.
The article written by Debs is a good example of how business intelligence reporting can be implemented in ways that benefit the company at levels of the corporate ladder. From interactive financial data and forecasting to specific customer energy consumption and history reliable and accurate reporting in the energy industry is a very powerful tool that has been used ND is being continuously improved upon for future endeavors (Debs , 2005). Impact of data driven Forecasting Forecasting is an important an element of any business.
At its most basic level it is simply looking to the future and making guesses to a specific result based on past and present data. This is where the role of business intelligence arrives. Data analysts like their namesake are paid to look at data and decipher how that data works and relates to the business. Once a data analyst is able to firmly grasp company data they can provide constructive advice based on the knowledge of that data. In addition to roving advice the data analyst can create reports that take past data and make estimations pragmatically based on definable trends.
These reports can be provided through an assortment of software’s and displayed in formats that best fit the target audience. Having a system in place that looks to past data and provides useful forecasts can not only give a company an idea of where they are going they can also give an idea where their competition is going as well. This ability to compare company performance to the market and project where the company is headed is critical. With timely and reliable forecasting a company an discern opportunities and threats within the marketplace before they even occur.
With market competition become inning more and more intense the role of forecasting has been prioritize highly by most companies that operate on a large scale. This is clearly supported by an article written by Susann Schwartz about the greater need for more robust forecasting technologies. The concept of the article focuses on the next level of forecasting that business intelligence units are seeking to achieve. The author talks about how the next set of tools utilized by business intelligence units will be integrated into the business processes that have already been laid down.
The key factors that are emphasized are the broad categories that these tools can influence. Examples of these are products such as SIRS by Microsoft, ARGOS by Lucian, and APEX by Oracle. Each of these tools provide granular interaction with business process data while still being able to be applied to other categories. These tools are used to be the developing platforms that take the business process driven data and formulates it into reportable information used for forecasting. In the article these are the types of tools that Schwartz describes when talking about integrated and real time driven tools (Schwartz, 2007).
Concluding the article by Schwartz she emphasizes the value of report generation. She talks about how even if the emphasis might be redundant the need to focus on this factor is critical to accurate forecasting. This is because all of the past data collected is contained within the reports. Schwartz realizes that for business units to understand any of the forecast data they need to be familiar with the data that has been collected and displayed within the provided reports (Schwartz , 2007). Data analysis and Improvement The core of what business intelligence does is data analysis and improvement.
Both of these factors contribute to each other in a never ending spiral of push and pull. When data is analyzed it is used to improve a process which in turn is analyzed. With this concept firmly in place understanding the role of business intelligence becomes clearer. As the facilitator of analysis and improvement business intelligence units are responsible for the flow between the two actions. When a department senses a need for analysis or improvement the business intelligence unit is used to facilitate that action.
This responsibility to facilitate these actions is what drives the demand by corporate leadership. As expressed earlier in this review having units that are constantly looking at moving the expense line down and the revenue line up is very beneficial a corporate entity. An article that was created in response to a seminar on business data analysis describes how this process is essential to the strategy development and future readiness of company’s based on data analysis. The article provide insight into a couple areas within the sphere of data analysis.
One of these is building the foundations and structure of the culture within the company to respect the data and make decisions off of it (Computer software 2012). This whole concept of creating a decision based culture is driven by the need for action in the market. If a company fails to take action on its corporate strategy it will fall behind its competition fairly quickly. The article discusses how through data analysis an attitude of decision making individuals can be created to promote action. The key of this data driven culture is the analysis that goes into making the data credible.
Without credible data the ability to make decisions quickly and effectively is crippled. If employees can’t trust the data they are working with hey will begin to question the entire infrastructure based on a single data set. In addition to data analysis the article talks about improving recruitment through data analysis tools. Being able to create a clear picture of who a person is before the expense of bringing them in for an interview can be a great time and money saver. This is done through internal and external data analysis (Computer software 2012) .
Once research is done on an individual the business intelligence units can categorize potential recruits and provide reports based on recruiters specifications. If an office manager needs someone with three years of experience and a knowledge of a specific software system a tool can be created to provide that data in real time to the inquiring party. When it comes to data analysis and improvement making sure that they are used in conjunction is essential for seamless implementation and continued success. An example of poor usage is providing a complicated and detailed report within a system that can’t handle the data correctly.
Even though the data itself is good the system used for improvement is poor. This can create animosity towards certain products and mistrust in data (Computer software 2012). Data management The term data management is something that has been thrown around industry the past few years. When this happens the real meaning of the terminology begins to take on a life of its own based on the perception of those trying to comprehend its true meaning. A clear way to explain what the definition of data management is to show the similarities between an industries accepted practice.
Like employee management data management requires a certain style to correctly guide the direction of the data. In a department setting a manager may spend time developing a plan that their employees will play specific roles in. The same is true with data management. Depending on the setting and usage data is set aside in specific formats to meet highly granular needs. A good example is list of information that is associated with a company’s employees. The data will stay the same but it requires a level of management to break into specific formats to meet different needs.
The human recourse department might need the list as a reference sheet to pull information about quickly and efficiently. That same information could also be used by the employee development department to conduct surveys and gauge employee satisfaction. These examples are very imply but they do provide a good idea of how managing data in a succinct and efficient way can broaden its usage and usability immensely. There is an article written in the Journal of Digital Asset Management that describes the role of business intelligence on data management.
This article provide a brief look into how the emergence of big data has pushed an emphasis on utilizing business intelligence units to provide levels of data management. The article talks about how business intelligence is beginning to play critical role in the storage, maintenance, and usability of the data. These three factors are retrial in guaranteeing the reliability of information collected and scrubbed for company use. The first of these factors briefly mentioned is the storage factor. Arguably the most important of the three storage is the bucket where all unstructured and structured data is stored (Jordan & Ellen , 2009) .
Within the context of the article the authors describe how storage is the first step that business intelligence units have to consider when managing data. The tasks associated with this piece range from creating feeds to port information from various databases to creating tables and views within specific schemas. Within these tasks the question that is constantly asked is the question of available space. This question permeates each of the three factors but is most prevalent at the initial of data management. The second piece is the maintenance portion.
This factor is most prevalent once data has been stored and refined into a usable manner. The article shows how this responsibility is what keeps business intelligence units in a critical role to companies data management needs. The tasks that occur with data maintenance can range from eliminating old data, archiving, inputting new systems, and creating ethos to encourage more efficient data retrieval and reporting. The final factor addressed in the article is the factor of usability. This concept is what non-let personnel will focus most of their attention on when looking at data resources.
Business intelligence plays critical role in getting the data into an understandable and usable format at the customer level. This is the defining piece of business intelligence focus. Employers look specifically for individuals who are able to translate the technical data from a database perspective and be able to make that information as clear as possible for non-information genealogy users (Jordan & Ellen , 2009). Internal communications When considering things that business intelligence employees should do well is internal communications.
In many companies business intelligence units will be the ambassador between the data and the customer. These individuals are responsible for understating the customers’ needs from an IT perspective. Once the needs have been determined the customer needs to be made aware of how close or far away from their original needs are to the ones seen by the business intelligence personnel. Being able to discern what customer needs is extremely important. The emphasis placed on cultivating effective communications between all parties is absolutely critical to getting the information needed to create or improve business processes.
There are so many adverse situations that occur within corporate setting that could have been avoided by simply establishing channels of communications with involved parties. A good way to do this is to provide updates on the progress of the project. This can done by collaboration sofa;are, email, phone calls, and face to face interaction. By establishing a working and efficient internal immunization structure customers are more at ease with the progress and process being developed.
This is essentially a status gauge that shows that all parties are involved and have a say in what is happening. An article released by press wire gives a good example of how companies are understanding the importance of internal communications and the role of business intelligence in it. Based on the trends within industry the article shows how the shift of technology has affected the way internal communications are done Beethoven IT and the various corporate departments.