This is a video recording of the webinar titled ‘Introduction to MSBI’, conducted on 25th September’14.
Data is essential for analysis, but at times the data is not readily available as it is scattered over the network or an expert is required to analyse this data. This analysis of data to gain useful insights is what Business Intelligence is all about.
What are users looking for in data?
- Data should be completely integrated across the network.
- Summarized data should have real value to the organization.
- Historical data unlocks the path to understand the health of organization.
- ‘What-If’ capabilities must be there in the data.
- This is where Business Intelligence comes in to play.
So, what is Business Intelligence?
Business Intelligence is the process of transforming the business data in to information or knowledge using computer-based techniques and thereby enabling the users to take effective, fact-based decisions.
Business Intelligence – Existing solutions:
There are various BI vendors offering end-to-end solutions in the market which can be traditionally classified as: Large BI Vendors and New Vendors. The following companies fall under these two categories.
Microsoft BI for Business Intelligence:
MSBI stands for ‘Microsoft Business Intelligence’. It consists of tools which assists in providing optimized solutions for Business Intelligence and Data Mining Queries. MSBI uses Visual studio along with SQL server, which empower users to gain access to accurate and current information for superior decision.
MSBI allow users to discover, analyze and visualize data with powerful self-service BI in Excel and also enables collaboration and sharing of reports and data with SharePoint.
Features of MSBI:
- Provides a ‘Single Version of Truth’ to make effective decisions
- Eliminates or reduces ‘Instinctive Decisions’
- Provides quick and timely answers to the business, making it more responsive to the dynamic business trends
- Minimize error-prone manual and mundane work
- Robust support for advanced analysis
- Support for Historical data
- Support for summarized data
MSDN’s primary web presence at ‘msdn.microsoft.com’ is a collection of sites for developer team that provides documentation, information, and discussion which is given both by Microsoft and by the team at large. Currently, Microsoft has placed emphasis on incorporation of forums, blogs, library annotations and social bookmarking to make MSDN an open dialog with the developer team rather than a one-way service.
You will find well documented steps for all the features available on MSDN for reference, along with several blogs available on Business Intelligence which keeps you updated on latest updates and improvements.
MSBI is divided into 3 categories:
- SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) – Integration Tool
- SQL Server Analytical Services (SSAS) – Analysis Tool
- SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) – Reporting Tool
MSBI Example – Mango:
Mango is one of the most popular brands for apparel and accessories with outlets across the globe. Every outlet of Mango stores their customer data in their respective database. Some outlets may have SAP as their database and some might be using Oracle and some prefer to store their data in simple text files.
Phase 1: SSIS (Integration Services)
After storing the daily data of the customers who visited the various outlets, the data is then integrated and saved in to a centralized database. This is done through the OLTP component of MS SQL Server. Here, ‘Integration’ means merging of data from different data stores, refreshing the data in the warehouses and cleansing the data before loading them.
Phase 2: SSAS (Analysis Services)
The next step is to analyze the data stored. The data is divided in to Data Marts, on which data analysis is done. The Analysis Services uses OLAP (Online Analytical Processing) component and data mining capabilities, which as a result gives multi-dimensional structures called Cubes to pre-calculate and store complex aggregations and also to build mining models to perform data analysis for identifying recent trend patterns, what customers dislike, etc.
Business Analysts then perform data mining functions on multi-dimensional cube structure to look at data from different perspectives.
Phase 3: SSRS (Reporting Services)
To gain insights on the data, we must get the data graphically visualized so that the company can make effective decisions to enhance their revenue, gain maximum profit and to reduce time wastage. This is done is the form of Reports, Scorecards, Plans, Dashboards, Excel, etc.
These reports will give a clear picture as to the revenue generated by Mango in a specific time and place. This will show them which outlet is performing well or not, how it can be enhanced and other details about the users that will be useful.
Microsoft BI Platform:
Once the data is analyzed and reports are generated, it can be viewed in Excel or Performance Point and the final reports will be in the Share Point Server or any of the content management software.
MSBI – Most Reliable Solution:
With Microsoft, the total cost that incurs with the additional features like Manageability, Business Intelligence, High Availability and Multi-core, is only $25k and the same for Oracle and IBM is $348k-464k and $324k-329k respectively.
Job Trends for MSBI:
There is a huge and steady growth as far as the job trends for MSBI is concerned. This denotes that the popularity and usage of MSBI as a Business Intelligence tool is on the rise.
Here’s a presentation of the Webinar:
Got a question for us? Please mention them in the comments section and we will get back to you.