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?Business intelligence and data warehousing are commonly associated terms. In fact, many of the tool vendors position their products as business intelligence software rather than data warehousing software. There are other occasions where the two terms are used interchangeably. So, what exactly is business intelligence? Business intelligence refers to the information that is available for the enterprise to make decisions on. A data warehousing (or data mart) system is the backend, or the infrastructural component for achieving business intelligence. It also includes the insight gained from conducting data mining analysis, as well as unstructured data (thus the need for content management systems). The concept of business intelligence has existed since ages for achieving long-term organizational goals by looking at trends and patterns, multi-dimensional analysis and so forth. The data typically exists anywhere from a day to a week, to a month, to even a year or more. What has essentially changed is the focus to get it closer to real time. That's what is referred to as operational business intelligence. It is more about managing daily operations. Initially strategic business intelligence meant building our own little worlds. Data was extracted out of the operational systems and data warehouses and data marts were built in accordance, completely disconnected from the operational environment on purpose. This really helped create strategic decision-making environments, without affecting the operational systems. But all that has changed now with operational business intelligence and data warehousing being interconnected. No longer can there be a wall between the operational side of the house and operational business intelligence. Operational business intelligence is also used by a very different audience. By its very nature, it has to be made more actionable for it to be useful by the operation personnel as well. And, by actionable, that means it has to be embedded into their everyday workflow, or their everyday processes. The traditional audience—the business analysts, and the executives—who are interested in being able to analyze this historical information were not really focused on current or real time or, even near real time data for that matter. In other words, the joint efforts of business intelligence with data warehousing is the need of the hour. About Author: Arun Gupta is a professional writer for an Offshore Software Development Indian IT company offering customized solutions including Application Testing, Business Intelligence & Data Warehousing (BI & DW) and Infrastructure Management Services for clients around the world.
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