Business Intelligence (BI) is really the process of taking your raw data and transforming it into useable information. The final outcome is usually a set of data analytics and dashboards that help business experts make informed decisions.
Big data and machine learning technologies and capabilities are very important but the analysis of high volumes of unstructured data does not replace the ‘business as usual’ (BAU) requirement of most businesses satisfied through business intelligence. Neither does it replace the need for financial and legislative reporting. The reality is that organisations need both. Consequently, the concept of the ‘(data) warehouse by the (data) lake is real and is accepted by forward thinking big data vendors like Hortonworks and thought leaders like Dr. Barry Devlin1.
BI System Builders have assisted businesses in the business intelligence and data warehousing space for the last ten years. Contact us if you need guidance through the maize of data technologies and capabilities or if you want help to implement a data warehouse, a business intelligence system, or a set of data analytics. You can read some of our articles below for more information.
Basic BI Terminology
The End To End BI Concept
End To End BI 1
End To End BI 2
Avoid BI Breakpoints With Cornerstone Solution®
Business Intelligence Architecture
Data Warehousing and Data Pipelines
Cornerstone Solution® 101
Business Intelligence Services
1 Dr. Barry Devlin, April 2017, The EDW Lives On – The Beating Heart of the Data Lake, White Paper sponsored by Hortonworks
The concept behind Query & Analysis is really about empowering the Business User and Analyst to interact with data on the fly in a Self-service BI environment. There a few tools available from SAP BusinessObjects that fulfil this criteria. First of all, here’s a little background, so as to avoid any confusion around what the products are.
Historically, the original Query & Analysis and Reporting tool was simply called ‘BusinessObjects’. Back then if you were to ask someone what reporting tool they were working with they would just say ‘BusinessObjects’. That was the only tool, until sometime later the first version of Web Intelligence was released. After BusinessObjects acquired Crystal Decisions the ‘BusinessObjects’ reporting tool was renamed Desktop Intelligence, sometimes also known as Deski. Running alongside Desktop Intelligence the thin client tool Web Intelligence was being developed.
Over the years Web Intelligence has grown to become SAP BusinessObjects’ flagship tool that allowing non-technical users to create new queries, slice and dice, and then drill down through their data all via a web browser. The advancement in Web Intelligence means that Desktop Intelligence is now coming to its end of life.
A second tool available is Voyager. Voyager is an Online Analytical Processing Tool (OLAP). In the BI 4.0 release Voyager is superseded by SAP BusinessObjects Analysis edition for OLAP and SAP BusinessObjects Analysis edition for Microsoft Office. It should be used when analysis is required against large data sets.
We also find it useful to think of a third tool under the Query & Analysis category. That is the search tool named Explorer. The original name for Explorer was Polestar.
The SAP BusinessObjects Live Office application integrates with Microsoft Office using Microsoft’s Open Bridge Framework. We’ve created a live demo video entitled PowerPoints with SAP BusinessObjects Live Office which you can watch below. Live Office enables business users to embed corporate data from the data warehouse into Microsoft Office tools. This ability helps business users to become more self-sufficient, releasing them from their dependency on IT and providing them with ‘Self-Service BI’ access toTrusted BI data within the Microsoft Office tools they are familiar with. Once installed SAP BusinessObjects Live Office uses an intuitive wizard and integrated Microsoft Office tool bar to enable business users to select data easily from existing Crystal Reports and Web Intelligence Documents. Live Office users can also make ad hoc data selections based on a user friendly query panel that interfaces with the SAP Business Objects universe. Accessing the Single Version of the Truth quality assured data in this way increases user confidence in the accuracy of the data that is being analysed, consumed and shared. Live Office includes the functionality to instantly refresh data and change prompt parameter values. Live Office can also be used to feed Xcelsius Dashboards. Live Office documents can be published to SAP BusinessObjects business intelligence platform securely and then shared with colleagues as required. Live Office works with Microsoft Excel, Microsoft PowerPoint, Microsoft Word and Microsoft Outlook meaning that BI data can be directly embedded into your slide presentations and email messages. A practical example of beneficial use is to create a PowerPoint based management reporting slide deck pack. Many business users make the same presentations using the same slides over again but must continually capture numerous screen prints to remake the slide deck because the data values have changed. When Live Office is used the management reporting slide deck pack only needs to be created once. When next presenting just open the slide deck pack and then click ‘Refresh’ for the latest data! You can watch our video demo on the BI System Builders YouTube channel.