Various Business Intelligence pipelines can be implemented depending on the methodologies and tools used. By way of example, we could summarize a process divided into four distinct phases capable of repeating itself through multiple execution cycles.
Data Acquisition And Preparation
Data is acquired from various sources, such as sensors of IoT systems, user interactions with corporate communication channels, or by connecting to data sources already stored. The preparation of data (data preparation) is a rather broad scope of action, which sees processes such as ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) as protagonists, which allow reaching a data quality function to the successful analysis processes. The data is finally loaded into a synthesis system such as the data warehouse, which is made available for Business Intelligence operations. During the process, reverse ETL tools can also be used if you want to implement reverse ETL into your organization.
Data analysis represents the fundamental step to extract informative value from raw data. There are many types of analysis. We mention some of the most representative:
- Spreadsheets: data in tabular form constitute one of the first sources analyzed and are still current in many contexts that involve the use of structured data;
- Data queries: the data is queried in a more or less automated manner by the BI application, even at the same time as the import phase;
- Data Visualization: BI’s most effective dissemination facilitator allows tools capable of generating visual content capable of simplifying and making the reading of the analyzed data significantly quicker.
Regardless of the form of presentation, the report is the preferred tool for communicating the analysis results to the recipients to support their decision-making processes. The generation of the information differs significantly depending on the context. It consists of producing an ordered system of documents, which can be easily consulted to compare the analytical results with the set objectives or learn more about a specific event. Reporting can, in turn, be facilitated by using Data Visualization and Data Storytelling tools.
Interactions And Decision Support
Business Intelligence is divided into cyclical analyzes. For example, the translated result in the report can generate an additional question, which results in a new analysis of the data to search for a comprehensive answer. Modern BI applications are equipped with dashboards that allow you to automate much of the operations with a self-service logic to make this process interactive. A generic user can then interact with the BI application interface and query the data in the system to obtain the information they need to support their decisions.
Self-Service Business Intelligence
During the previous paragraphs, we have repeatedly found how modern BI solutions favor the development of self-service tools capable of automating a series of operations and making them available through user interfaces that are simple and intuitive to use. It should be remembered that the first IT tools of Business Intelligence envisaged the almost exclusive action of IT professionals called to execute queries to obtain helpful descriptive information to feed reports or interactive dashboards for use and consumption by users of the various lines of business. Of the company.
In the meantime, Business Intelligence platforms have evolved, enriching their functional equipment in the context of a more modern design, really conceived by putting the user at the center of the experience, beyond too easy rhetoric. Thanks to the enabling of specific tools, the same interface can be customized for the action of the data specialist or the everyday user without specialized skills in data analysis. Regardless of the application area, an ideal application is almost always the one that does not engage the user in technicalities but allows him to concentrate exclusively on his work.
That is what he has to do and which, at least in theory, he should be able to do. Better than anything else. It is now common practice to see analysts and ordinary employees or business decision-makers working on the same BI platforms. The self-service Business Intelligence environments, therefore, allow business users to query the data present within the synthesis systems used by the BI application and automatically generate the summary dashboards of the results thanks to special data visualization tools.
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