Developing and Implementing
The four essential elements in developing and implementing “business intelligence systems” center on shifting through data, information, and knowledge in order to find trends, patterns, and relationships that can lead to a better understanding for more focused business solutions. In other words, the focus is on understanding a company’s operations in a manner that was not possible before. To achieve this preferred modus operandi, the necessary elements uncovered in these types systems consist of:
(1) Employing current information systems as a way to upgrade to “business intelligence systems”; (2) Using knowledge discovery or data mining and business intelligence methods and software to better comprehend a company’s total operations today and in the future; (3) Building efficient data warehouses and concurrent computing systems where the focal point is on a mass of factors that relate to the Internet, intranets, and extranets; and (4) Making the greatest use of computer networking that is correlated to E-commerce as a means of doing business with a company’s customers and suppliers.
In terms of the first element, existing information systems that are competent of being advanced to a business intelligence operating means include “decision support systems”, executive information systems, on-line analytical processing systems, and knowledge management systems. Effectively, these systems facilitate decision makers to access data, information, and knowledge in ways they never could before to obtain a better understanding of a company’s operations. This simple fact is the main thrust behind the growing popularity of business intelligence.
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A mix of these systems (first element) with the other three elements below provide the typical decision maker with insights and understanding necessary to meet global competition today as well as tomorrow. The second element of “business intelligence systems” is the utilization of appropriate software to collect data, information, and knowledge; to develop the intelligence that is needed; and to share the results with other people. It is sufficient to say that there are a wide range of software packages that meet most decision makers’ needs within a BIS operating mode.
The attendant circumstances will dictate which software package is best suited to meet a decision maker’s needs. The third element centers on building the appropriate data, information, and knowledge infrastructure that are related to data marts, data warehouses, and operational databases. Typically, before the appropriate business intelligence system can function effectively using the selected software, it is necessary to have a massive amount of aged and/or real-time data, information, and knowledge to solve the present problem(s) or future problem(s) under study.
The same can be said for existing and upcoming prospects. The fourth element—the use of computer networking that ties in with a company’s intranets, extranets, the Internet, and the World Wide Web as well as E-commerce—has the capability of changing the way companies deal with their customers, suppliers, and employees. If applied properly, sophisticated computer networking can help companies make their operations a lot simpler. In effect, computer networking provides a road to the future by allowing companies’ information systems to talk to one another.
E-commerce enables businesses to streamline their everyday operations. At the same time, computer networking is allowing the dissemination of important business intelligence to the appropriate parties, whether they are within or outside the organization. “Business Intelligence Systems” Defined Fundamentally, “business intelligence systems” make great use of data marts and data warehouses as well as operational databases for the purpose of measuring historical activity. Over time, however, business intelligence activities have expanded to include other kinds of data, information, and knowledge that are future oriented.
“Software developers and their clients for example are putting together data mining tools to foresee the future based on historical data, information, and knowledge or visualization tools to scrutinize rapidly large amounts of related information and knowledge”. (Ruber, pp. 19–22) In addition there is a progress to “push” related information and knowledge to users in concurrent based on predefined business rules or mutual planning among company personnel. From this broad perspective, companies are looking at the organization holistically for a thorough understanding of its operations within a BIS operating mode.
This generally means extending a company’s functions, processes, and technology via E-commerce to its trading partners (i. e. , customers and suppliers). A business intelligence system centers on managing internal and external information, knowledge, and their resulting intelligence in a proactive manner in order to create a competitive advantage that is linked to a company’s achievable objectives and its measurable goals. It should be noted that an effective BIS operating mode centers on organizing and displaying business intelligence about important topical areas rather than trying to tell everything that is known.
A “business intelligence system” can be looked upon like an array of tools and applications that permit decision makers to collect, systematize, study dispense, and proceed on critical business issues, with the aim of helping companies make faster, better, and more informed business decisions. (Ruber, pp. 19–22) In light of the essentials of “business intelligence systems”, they can be defined as systems for business that turn selected data, information, and knowledge into desired intelligence for business gain by decision makers.
The type of system and software used is situational. “business intelligence systems” employ various analytical and collaborative tools and utilize a database infrastructure—all within a global computer networking architecture. Overall, “business intelligence systems” provide decision makers with the ability to understand (i. e. , the intelligence to gain insights into) the relationships of presented facts in the form of data, information, and knowledge in order to guide action toward a desired actionable goal.
They provide decision makers with timely data, information, and knowledge for problem solving and, in particular, problem finding. Convergence of “business intelligence systems” with Knowledge Management Systems In the near future, “business intelligence systems” and knowledge management systems are expected to converge. From a business point of view, companies will repeatedly look for means to force business intelligence for viable advantage. “In the present business climate, companies are making out that data, information, and knowledge are most valuable resources”.
Accordingly, companies will commonly realign processes and reform organization formations to accelerate the attainment, employment, and function of data, information, and knowledge as well as the resulting business intelligence. (Thierauf, 1982, 1988, 1989). Developments that are used for Business Intelligence Because the preceding systems are rather narrow in their perspective (two-dimensional framework), a much broader perspective (three-dimensional framework) is found in such systems as “decision support systems” (DSSs) (Thierauf, 1982, 1988, 1989).
A DSS allows managers and their staffs to be at the center of the decision-making process as changes occur through the use of computer query capabilities to obtain requested information. This is in contrast to relying on periodic control reports, for the most part, as found in previous information systems. “Decision support systems” can be viewed from an individual and a group perspective as well as through their tie-in with executive information systems (EISs) (Thierauf, 1991).
Additionally, on-line analytical processing (OLAP) systems are considered to be an extension of DSS and EIS (Thierauf, 1997). Many times, these current systems are publicized as the DSS/EIS/OLAP continuum, which can be related to idea-processing systems (IPSs) (Thierauf, 1993). No matter what their orientation, these systems can be used to complement a BIS operating mode. Complementary to these current information systems are knowledge management systems (KMSs) (Thierauf, 1999). Fundamentally, these systems center on managing the vast knowledge of a company’s resources for competitive advantage.
Such systems make a company smarter and more effective by retaining and growing the knowledge of how it operates today and tomorrow. “business intelligence systems” build upon KMSs by giving decision makers the means to understand customers better than competitors can. These systems also give decision makers the opportunity to understand their own operations that may be linked to external sources on a global basis. Due to the importance of utilizing knowledge within a BIS environment, it would be helpful to look at past and current developments.
These include expert systems and neural networks. Basically, these system approaches to knowledge are focused on taking a micro approach to problem solving versus a macro approach that is used in knowledge management systems.
Peter Ruber, (1998) “Getting Smart with Business Intelligence,” Beyond Computing, pp. 19–22 Peter Senge (1990) The Fifth Discipline (New York: Doubleday), p. 1 Robert J. Thierauf (1982) “decision support systems” for Effective Planning and Control: A Case Study Approach (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall)