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Business Intelligence for Business Pains

Vibhas Joshi
Tuesday, January 31, 2006
Vibhas Joshi
Transaction processing systems have been used for a long time by most industries. This has matured and stabilized in most of the organizations. Now there is a strong need for supporting business systems beyond the operational level and that is the space where Business Intelligence (BI) fits in. BI capabilities are a flexible and extensible set of business interfaces and supporting services to your information, turning the information that has been collected and enriched into actionable BI. Some vendors provide BI solely in the form of historical reports that give you hindsight, but limited insight. Whereas, end-to-end BI offerings will help you understand the past, monitor the present and predict the future move. This will be delivered through data integration technologies, predictive analytics, targeted business solutions and specific industry solutions.

Though the concept of BI is not new it is now assuming increasing significance as more BI offerings are coming out to provide solutions for various business pains. Each industry can have its unique requirements in the BI space. For example, a bank has to undergo certain processes before sanctioning a loan to figure out the risk involved in it; before issuing a credit card it is essential to fix the credit score and the credit risk. For an insurance company, prior to issuing an insurance policy, the company needs to find the rate that has to be applied, so that its profit and risk can be balanced.

The BI solution architecture model is based on movement of data, exploitation of data and delivery of a meaningful set of applications for the business pains. BI offerings' spectrum can be broadly divided into three parts - BI tools and technology platform, business (horizontal) solutions and industry (vertical) solutions.

BI tools and technology platform can be further classified into BI reporting tools, ETL (extract transformation load) tools, data quality tools, and analytical tools. ETL tools are those where you extract data to do some transformation and then load them in the data warehouse and data marts. Quality tools are a hot topic in BI, because if the data foundation is not of a high quality, then the use of analytics or intelligence is not going to add any business value. Analytical tools and applications is a specialized area to work in, wherein people with expertise in statistical techniques are involved. Business solutions such as campaign management, performance management and scorecard solutions are industry neutral and can be applied to any industry. However that is not the case of industry solutions. They are tuned specifically for a particular industry.

Broadly, there are three types of career choices in the BI space:
1. Careers in development of BI tools & platform, and BI Business Applications (Industry neutral or Industry Specific)

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