Business Intelligence Overview

Business intelligence (BI) is all about making better decisions. Better decision-making requires the right tools, the right people and the right processes to acquire, preprocess and standardize data in the back-end, for presentation and consumption in the front-end. Having a BI solution without the back-end system is comparable to having a car without an engine. You need both.


Visualization Platform – The Front-End of a BI Solution

Visualization tools powerfully display data in multiple formats capitalizing on the exceptional capability of human beings to recognize patterns. Informed decisions can be made in seconds using dashboards containing graphs and charts, key performance indicators, balanced scorecards, maps, word clouds and more. Visualization tools can give individuals in an organization the resources they need to build their own analytics.

Unfortunately, with increased capabilities and ease-of-use, ten different users can develop ten different answers to the same question, potentially resulting in confusion and consequently decision makers are vulnerable to making misinformed decisions. Generating different answers to the same question contradicts every reason a business acquires visualization tools in the first place. To ensure one version of the truth, you need a central repository and back-end data platform.



Data Platform – The Back-End of a Complete BI Solution

The back-end data platform is an underappreciated component of BI, and can be an expensive endeavor. It takes 6-12 months on average for a team of developers to setup a robust data platform, and unfortunately almost 50% of data warehouse teams fail to deliver. Mid-sized and smaller organizations looking for a business intelligence solution tend to underestimate the complexity involved in developing a back-end data platform, and may believe or have been told that visualization software can magically solve their data access problem.

The back-end data platform is an essential component of BI. Data collection, aggregation, cleansing, and deduping processes are developed by data scientists, data modelers and extract, transform and load (ETL) specialists. Securing valuable data and encrypting data requires a data security engineer. Implementing the data structures and developing processes for 24/7 availability, data performance and data backup/recovery entails the use of one or more database administrators. Coordinating a successful development of a back-end data platform necessitates a competent, experienced project manager. It is easy to see how an end-to-end solution can cost hundreds of thousands, and many times, millions of dollars.


To learn how Known Factors’ solution provides both components, click here.

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