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Components of a Business Intelligence Solution: Part 3

This is week three of a series covering the different components of a business intelligence solution. Get caught up on part one, covering data integration, and part two, covering data cubes and analytics, now!

As I discussed the first week, it’s very important to understand how all the pieces of business intelligence work together to provide you with valuable information.

Dashboards, KPIs, and Reports: Why do they matter for business intelligence?

The true value of a data warehouse and related OLAP (online analytical processing) structure is finally realized when they are surfaced to the user through dashboards, key performance indicators and reports. Each of these provides specific benefits:

  • In the context of a business intelligence solution, a report is a relatively static, non-interactive sampling of data. Reports are analogous to the traditional paper reports used throughout an organization. A modern business intelligence solution will generally include scheduled reports delivered via e-mail or to a centralized location to give stakeholders a daily, weekly or monthly rollup of important metrics.
  • A dashboard is a highly interactive view of an organization’s data assets. Modern dashboards provide power and flexibility to end users in a variety of different ways:
    – Interactive rollup and aggregation on-the-fly
    – Security trimming based on group membership
    – Drill-through to detailed information and views
    – Multiple dataset visualizations e.g. spatial data on a map as well as a chart
  • Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are components designed to convey at-a-glance performance relative to a goal. KPIs are defined at the OLAP level to provide a central definition of organizational goals, rather than being set at the report level. KPIs can be used and re-used across reports and dashboards. KPIs can be used in tandem with visual elements like arrows and “stoplights” to provide users with quick and authoritative information.

Read our case study to find out how we leveraged business intelligence to reduce the amount of time needed to access data and create reports.

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