Microsoft.NET

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Business Intelligence

Posted by Ravi Varma Thumati on October 27, 2009

Table of Contents:

1.      About BI

2.      Capabilities

o         Data Integration

o         Data Warehousing

o         Reporting and Analysis

o         OLAP

o         Analysis

o         Predictive Analytics

o         Scoreboards and Dashboards

o         Planning and Budgeting

o         Delivery

o         Enterprise Search

About BI 

If you find it challenging to effectively access, analyze, forecast, report on, and share the information you need to achieve corporate objectives, consider Microsoft business intelligence (BI). We offer a complete, fully integrated set of BI technologies that can help reduce the complexity of organizing and distributing information, enable better business decisions, and improve your bottom line.

How Does BI Work?

  • Data Warehousing
  • Reporting and Analysis
  • Performance Management

Business intelligence (BI) delivers on a simple promise: to improve business performance by driving better decision making throughout your organization. When you’re confident that your insight into corporate data is sound, informed, and complete, you can trust that all your decisions will help you create competitive advantage and achieve corporate objectives.

But for BI to reach its potential, it must have the flexibility and functionality to extend from the individual through the team to the organization. BI must also be responsive to the different needs of people in your organization and take into account all the information- structured and unstructured, you use to make decisions.

Microsoft BI can deliver all that through three key steps that facilitate trusted, confident decision making at all levels of your organization.

Step 1: Provide Quality Data

The foundation to a successful BI solution is trustworthy data that people can access and understand easily. Microsoft SQL Server 2005 is the BI platform that brings all your data together, no matter where it resides, and helps you improve your data processes. SQL Server 2005 offers an enterprise-ready and proven engine that can store huge amounts of data, scale to the largest enterprise needs, and support high query loads, high performance, and clustering.

Data warehousing is one way to build and deploy a trusted enterprise data source.

Step 2: Gain Deeper Insight and Facilitate Better Decision Making

To help people work as a team, you have to provide a way for people to bring together all the information they use—whether it comes from e-mails, the Internet, a corporate data source, a hallway conversation, or any of a hundred other places.

Microsoft has made a huge investment in the 2007 Microsoft Office system, improving integration and functionality to allow you to seamlessly analyze, visualize, and gain insight into data by means of the already familiar Microsoft Office environment.

Reporting and analysis tools help information workers access and investigate the data necessary for better decisions.

Step 3: Align Decisions with Corporate Goals

The first two steps help people make decisions as individuals. This step helps improve corporate-level decision making across your organization. You can use the integrated set of tools in Microsoft Office Performance Point Server 2007 to build a comprehensive performance management program that supports organizational decision-making processes.

Office Performance Point Server 2007 was built to support corporate and line-of-business scenarios—from sales to HR and operations to finance. Decision making now has a greater context that captures the workings of your entire company.

Performance management harnesses the tools, applications, and data involved in decision making, helping to align strategies, people, and processes.

The Result: Unlocking the Potential of Your People

Individuals have access to high-quality data. They can make better decisions and trust that their decisions are aligned with corporate goals. Microsoft BI supports business environments from small to enterprise. It grows as you grow, and it’s a small investment for a large return on trust that can help you build your business’s success.

If you’re going to unlock the potential of all your employees, your teams, and your organization, you need more than one tool, data source, or application. You need a BI solution that allows for flexibility with the security, administration, and centralization that the IT department requires to do its job. And you need it all at a price that allows you to get the tools and the applications to everyone in your organization.

The Microsoft BI solution delivers a full range of personal, team, and organizational BI tools, tightly integrated, that work the way you do today.

·         Data Warehousing

If your organization is like most, the process of integrating and storing your organizational data effectively can be daunting. Why? Because your data probably resides in multiple systems and lacks consistency. This makes it difficult for you and your people to access the data for meaningful insights.

Data warehousing can help you provide insight into corporate data through an integrated, centrally managed, and trusted data source. Microsoft Business Intelligence (BI) offers a scalable and enterprise-ready data warehouse platform that can help extend the value of your enterprise data.

Microsoft BI provides the proven capabilities of Microsoft SQL Server 2005 and SQL Server 2005 Integration Services, which can help you easily build and manage data warehouses that scale to meet the needs of even the largest and most complex organizations.

With SQL Server 2005 you get more than just data management tools—you get the core components to build a trusted BI platform:

  • The data integration platform brings your data together from virtually any source within your organization.
  • The format of the industry-leading ad hoc analysis engine—online analytical processing (OLAP)—enables decision makers not only to explore data in ways that make sense to them but also to centrally define and manage organizational business logic like key performance indicators (KPIs).
  • SQL Server supports a broad variety of data analysis scenarios—from simple ad hoc analysis to sophisticated predictive analytics—all in familiar, easy-to-use tools.
  • The managed-production reporting environment helps you publish highly formatted and interactive reports that make data easily accessible to a large number of people.

·         Reporting and Analysis

It’s likely that the people in your organization are inundated with data—from formal information from structured sources to RSS feeds, information in e-mails, numbers from Wall Street, and on and on.

It’s a constant struggle to provide people with tools to report on and analyze all that information while remaining focused on constantly moving business targets. People need access to the right information at the right time and to decision-making tools that fit their work processes.

To see how Microsoft business intelligence (BI) can help, consider how traditional BI solutions are tied to the ERP system or the data warehouse. They are outside the flow of a person’s daily tasks. They don’t empower people to take advantage of all the information they have at hand when making decisions. So people turn to informal systems and try to pull it together on their own.

·         Performance Management

Aligning Strategy with Infrastructure, People, and Processes

Here’s your ideal situation: everybody in your organization sees the decisions they make in the context of the big picture, and every decision is aligned with company goals and strategy. Microsoft Business Intelligence (BI) can help your business get to this ideal state through three capabilities: monitoring, analytics, and planning.

These capabilities are built into Microsoft Office PerformancePoint Server 2007, a powerful performance management application that provides you with the infrastructure to link people at all levels of your organization—whether they’re executives, line-of-business managers, or individual contributors—to your overall corporate strategy.

3 Capabilities, 1 Integrated Solution

Office PerformancePoint Server 2007 builds on the familiar Microsoft Office environment and Microsoft SQL Server 2005 to deliver a comprehensive solution that includes the three critical components of performance management:

  • Monitoring: Scorecards, dashboards, and key performance indicators (KPIs) help drive accountability and alignment across your organization.
  • Analytics: Integrated analytics helps you quickly move from monitoring information to analyzing it to sharing it throughout your organization.
  • Planning: A flexible framework offers powerful business planning, budgeting, and forecasting and management reporting functionality that supports critical business processes and strategic decision making

Why Microsoft BI?

The Problem with Traditional BI Approaches

A few years ago, people were challenged to make decisions without having access to all the information they needed. Technology was rudimentary and connecting to corporate data sources was difficult.

Today’s challenge is the opposite: data is on the Internet, in formal data systems, documents, e-mail, spreadsheets, and in our own knowledge and experience. We’re inundated with information that impacts how we make decisions, and we’re finding it increasingly difficult to harness the power of this information.

Traditional business intelligence (BI) approaches address only a fraction of the information we use in decision making. For one thing, they’re limited to the ERP system, the data warehouse, or other transactional systems we have in place. For another, they are often inflexible, making us adapt to them instead of conforming to the natural decision-making flow within our organizations. In the end, productivity suffers.

Thinking Bigger About BI

Microsoft has been in the BI space for more than 10 years, starting with a world-class BI platform and extending into tools and BI applications for managing business performance. Our goal is to transform how companies use business intelligence, giving every employee access to the data required to make informed decisions—in the right tool and in the right format.

Although BI has been around for a long time, industry analysts and our customers tell us that it has not met its full potential. That’s why we offer a comprehensive BI solution with a full range of functionality.

Our BI offering integrates with your existing environment and takes advantage of your existing assets. You can deploy Microsoft BI to more people inside and outside of your organization. You can affect your entire value chain at a fraction of the cost of traditional offerings.

The BI Continuum: Personal, Team, Organizational

A BI solution must have the flexibility to work the way you do. It has to fit the context of your decision making, provide the information you need, and be available in a format that suits the people who will be using the information.

When you think of what you do daily, what emerges is a continuum, with information and insight flowing steadily among three main categories of BI: personal, team, and organizational.

Personal BI: You often use information solely for your own purposes. Perhaps you’ve put together a brief report to see if a business deal makes sense. It could be a visual diagram to identify if you have the right resources to get a job done on time and under budget. Your personal BI could be an Outlook task list, a CRM call sheet, or a production report. Whatever it is, you created it to support your individual decision making within the context of your job. However, it still needs to be trusted, secure, and reliable so you can make the right decision.

Learn more about personal BI

Team BI: Whatever its size, your organization has teams that drive toward common goals. Although they align with the organization, team needs are always a little bit different. You need a BI environment that enables you to share information within and across various groups, so everyone can make informed decisions.

A successful BI system will meet your team needs and personal BI requirements—allowing you the flexibility to collaborate within the natural flow of your work without compromising security and trust and ensuring that all team members have the latest reliable information.

Organizational BI: How does your organization measure success? How do individuals and teams in the organization contribute to that success? How do you coordinate their efforts? Organizational BI is made up of the centralized analyses, measurements, plans, and reports that clarify team and individual goals. At the same time, organizational BI is tempered by the flow of insight emerging from teams and individuals across the organization.

A Full Range of Familiar BI Tools

Microsoft BI delivers a full range of familiar, tightly integrated BI capabilities that enable individuals, teams, and organizations to better achieve performance management. Most likely, your organization already uses these tools:

  • Microsoft Excel is the world’s No. 1 personal BI productivity tool.
  • SharePoint Server offers team and organizational collaboration capabilities.
  • PerformancePoint Server provides performance management capabilities for the entire organization.
  • SQL Server is the foundation for Microsoft BI, providing the infrastructure to bring everything together through its integration, reporting, and analysis capabilities.

Microsoft BI was designed to drive productivity and business performance, in one solution, for the way you already work.

Types of Microsoft BI

  • Personal BI

What Is Personal BI?

If business intelligence (BI) is going to fulfill its promise of enabling better decision making across your organization, it must be available to help all employees as they solve critical business issues daily.

Personal BI is based on people’s need for immediate information. It is content created “for me, by me”—such as an Excel spreadsheet, an e-mail, a PowerPoint deck, or a Word document—and it’s usually related, even if loosely, to team and corporate goals.

Every Individual Makes an Impact

So how do you equip individuals to access and incorporate relevant data, turn their hunches into insights, and turn their insights into decisions that impact the business? Put BI in everyone’s hands.

You’ll enable critical decision making that is local, relevant, and immediate. And increasing the velocity of your decision making will help you drive productivity and improve business performance.

It helps to have a friendly interface: Microsoft Excel.

Excel is the most commonly used analysis tool for individual productivity, and it’s the key interface people use to analyze corporate BI data. Excel helps decision makers move the decision-making process forward by putting together the centralized, secure data from a corporate BI system and the disparate data they receive daily.

SQL Server is the scalable, secure platform that unifies data. It provides individual information workers access to trusted data that is integrated, aggregated, and easily available through familiar applications like Excel. SQL Server provides the structure for trusted decision making.

How It All Comes Together

Personal, team, and organizational BI feed into one another. A personal insight may have ramifications within your team—helping to inform your decision making and affecting your organization’s goals. By providing individuals at all levels of your organization with the tools and data they need in a familiar, flexible environment, you ensure the flow of insights that can advance team and organization goals.

  • Team BI

What Is Team BI?

The lack of centralized information can be a big deterrent to effective team business intelligence (BI). Too much critical content is locked away on desktops. Too much time is spent using e-mail as the primary collaboration tool. Too many versions of spreadsheets, presentations, and documents are floating around your team’s work spaces. You need information in one central place.

Another inhibitor of effective team BI is forcing people to go outside their daily workflow to perform BI processes. If you want to analyze information from your team’s budget, get the latest version of a scorecard, or see the latest PowerPoint presentation, you should be able to do it easily and in context.

Centralize Team Information with SharePoint

Team BI is about calming the storm. Microsoft BI goes beyond decision making to the core function of a team: collaboration. Its key component, Microsoft Office SharePoint Server, was built specifically to enable team collaborative processes. Among other things, SharePoint provides:

  • The ability to centrally store, share, and collaborate with BI and non-BI content. With SharePoint, teams have access to all their structured and unstructured data, empowering every member with the right information. With built-in workflows, you can easily assign tasks to and organize the priorities of every team member.
  • Integrated enterprise search.
  • Lock-down analyses.
  • Information sharing over the Web.
  • Complete zero-footprint access to critical business information, with security by role, group, and individuals.

Enabling Teams Through SQL Server Robust Enterprise BI Platform

Microsoft BI knits all your data together with SQL Server. The foundation of an organization’s BI architecture and fully integrated with the rest of the BI stack, SQL Server ensures that everyone can easily access, consume, and publish data to SharePoint. The seamless integration between SQL Server and SharePoint enables true team collaboration and information access

  • Organizational BI

What Is Organizational BI?

Organizational BI establishes the corporate context for how information is viewed by everyone at all levels of an organization. Centrally managed and secure, an organizational BI solution supports corporate and strategic planning by providing a consistent single view of information and key performance indicators. For broad adoption, organizational BI solutions need to support business processes as part of the fabric of how people perform their daily work.

Microsoft’s approach to organizational BI starts with the highly secure, scalable, and trusted platform in SQL Server 2005. Whether you are integrating data from multiple data sources, building a trusted data warehouse, producing high-quality managed reports, or seeking OLAP for data analysis, SQL Server provides the infrastructure.

PerformancePoint Server Extends the Core Capabilities

Microsoft’s latest investment in BI, PerformancePoint Server 2007, expands upon the core capabilities of SQL Server into a comprehensive approach to managing corporate performance. Those capabilities include:

  • Corporate scorecards to provide a visual guide to monitor progress against organizational goals.
  • Simple-to-use, sophisticated tools to analyze data.
  • A robust engine that supports strategic planning, budgeting, and financial reporting.

Microsoft’s approach to organizational BI uses the tools and infrastructure that you’re already familiar with and aligns them with business rules, enabling everyone to be attuned to corporate goals and objectives

Integrating with Team and Personal BI

The Microsoft BI platform and PerformancePoint Server provide the framework and functionality to support the corporate processes but also feed smoothly into personal and team BI decision-making.

For example, if you have a question related to your individual role, you can open Excel, access your corporate data, and conduct some quick analysis. If you come to a conclusion that you feel impacts the direction of some of your team’s upcoming projects, you can share the analysis and your team can adjust its plans and reallocate resources. The change in direction ensures you are on track to deliver on the goals at the corporate

Capabilities

Microsoft BI Fits the Way You Already Work

The ultimate goal of business intelligence (BI) is to provide people with access to the information they need in the tools they use every day. This enables them to make better decisions, share insights with others, collaborate throughout the organization, and, ultimately, improve its bottom line.

You’re already familiar with most components of the Microsoft BI stack, such as the Microsoft Office system and Microsoft SQL Server. So you know that Microsoft BI fits the way your employees already work and the way your business operates now. This allows for quicker and easier deployments, with zero interruption and learning.

BI That’s Less Complicated, More Economical

The promise of BI and performance management can quickly vanish if you spend vast amounts of money and time trying to integrate a disparate set of tools and applications that are cost-prohibitive to deploy to everyone in your organization.

Microsoft BI provides a complete, fully integrated set of BI capabilities that can help make it less complicated and more economical for you to build, manage, and use BI. The capabilities range from scalable technical platforms to applications that support decision making for people at all levels across your organization.

Learn more about how Microsoft is addressing each of the following broad capabilities of BI.

  • Data integration

Your organization accumulates a lot of data, and it’s probably spread across multiple databases and operational systems, making it no easy task to access the information when you need it. By integrating your data into a unified database or data view, the data integration services of Microsoft BI can help you manage it all and get down to the real task of making sound business decisions.

  • Data Warehousing

If your company’s data is like that of most companies, it resides in many places, such as multiple databases and operational systems. A data warehouse is the container that brings it all together to help you get critical information into the right hands more easily. The data warehousing component of Microsoft BI provides a central location for storing data and maintaining all your important historical and current business information.

  • Reporting

There are many ways to get data into a report, but that’s only part of the solution. An effective report creates a compelling story and communicates with clarity to audiences large or small. Microsoft BI can help you get there with informative reports that lead to sound decision making.

  • OLAP
    Online Analytical Processing (OLAP) provides business users with access to data optimized for non-technical information workers for easy navigation, analysis, and reporting. Microsoft’s industry-leading OLAP engine not only combines your data for easy analysis but also centrally stores your institutional business logic and key performance indicators (KPIs).
  • Analysis

Getting information is often just a first step in the decision-making process. When you view a report or scorecard and notice something unexpected, you want to know why. Microsoft BI can help when this happens—and it happens often. Powerful analysis tools help people develop a deeper understanding of business information and take decisive action.

  • Predictive Analytics

Sometimes you have to sift through layers of information before a key data point shines through and you reach an insight. The problem for many is that rooting out the drivers of business performance and drawing correlations among them can require using unfamiliar and complicated tools. Microsoft BI can change that with easy-to-use predictive analytics functionality that can help your organization uncover hidden trends and opportunities in its data.

  • Scorecards and Dashboards

Being aligned with your corporate objectives is a constant process that requires access to sound information. Scorecards and dashboards help people monitor performance and tie goals, status, or trends in easy-to-consume KPIs. Microsoft BI integrates them deeply into its overall solution, enabling you to provide transparency and accountability to everyone in your organization.

  • Planning and Budgeting

Effective planning, forecasting, and budgeting are vital for your company’s success. Many organizations manually manage plans and budgets, which leads to uncertainty in the data and a huge amount of money spent on maintaining this manual process. Microsoft BI can help automate the management process without undermining the decision-making processes you currently use.

  • Delivery
    Microsoft BI can help put an end to the drain of time and resources that occurs when people have to hunt down pieces of information that are strewn across file shares, Web sites, intranets, databases, and individual desktops. The key to making BI data easier to consume is to use your existing infrastructure to provide a single location where your people can access and analyze data. Microsoft’s integrated BI approach provides a consistent and familiar place where people can find information, share insights, and collaborate with others.
  • Enterprise Search

People are familiar with searching the Internet to find information. Wouldn’t it be great if searching for business information worked the same way? It does with Microsoft. The integrated search capability of Microsoft BI makes content easy to find and eliminates a lot of duplicated effort. Plus, the Microsoft BI solution keeps sensitive information secure, provides for scalability, and enables you to customize and extend your search experience.

Data Integration

Your organization accumulates a lot of data, and it’s probably spread across multiple databases, operational systems, and external sources, like RSS feeds. That makes it no easy task to retrieve it when you need it. By bringing all your data into a unified, trusted database, you can ensure access to high-quality information that gives people a single, complete view of the business. This view in turn helps people make sound business decisions.

Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Integration Services (SSIS) can help you perform the most complex data integration at high speeds and very large data volumes. Whether you’re combining multiple operational systems across a company, integrating similar databases from different sources, or pulling syndicated information into a database, SSIS provides:

  • Reliable and consistent data from a variety of sources.
  • Reduced data latency and shortened lags in data acquisition.
  • Data cleansing and transformation.
  • Audit trails to meet regulatory demands and ensure that data is traceable and certifiable.

The scalable and extensible enterprise ETL (extract, transform, and load) platform is the foundation of SSIS. The platform empowers development teams to build, manage, and deploy integration solutions that can help meet the diverse data, business, and employee needs of your organization.

 

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