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Abstract

Business intelligence (BI) is a grouping of different resources


that affect the way data is utilized within businesses. The
technologies available with business intelligence focus on
utilizing the data within a company the best possible way. The
successfulness of business intelligence relies on the constant
evolving of the solutions as well as the scalability of the
program. Business intelligence solutions are available in selfservice options as well mobile choices and use on the cloud.
Business intelligence has and is making a big impact on
companies all over the world in many different ways.
Business Intelligence is a set or collection of
concepts, procedures, styles, and technologies that change
basic data into beneficial and valuable information for
business related purposes. One main purpose of business
intelligence is to take on large amounts of indistinct data
in order to piece together and create new opportunities for
a variety of business types. (Cooper & Schindler, 2014)The
incorporation of business intelligence helps businesses process
large amounts of data easily in order for the business to take
on new prospects and put into place new and effective strategies
for the business to gain market advantage and achieve long-term
stability. (Jullens, 2013)
The technologies utilized by business intelligence
incorporate past, present and future possibilities for business
procedures. Business intelligence utilizes presentations and
technologies to collect, accumulate, examine and provide access

to data to help businesses make more educated decisions in


regards to their company. Without any doubts, business
decisions are only as good as the information on which they are
based. (Muntean & Muntean, 2013, p. 85)The use of business
intelligence builds strong relationships between customers and
businesses by helping to improve the involvement and adaptations
with customers. This is done through allowing the organization
to provide technological intelligence that is centered around
the customers current and functional needs. The fact that
business intelligence combines technology and skill, helps
expose what customers want and provide important customer
content quickly and easily. Gaining into the
business/organization by understanding the companys information
assets, like customers informationas well as any other source
of critical information, BI tolls have the power to make
informed decisions more effectively.

(Muntean M. , Business Intelligence Approaches, 2012, p. 192)


Many different companies incorporate business intelligence into
their company because it is beneficial to a plethora of
different types of organizations due to its ability to provide
the tools and systems that play a key role in the strategic
process which is a benefit for any type of corporation.
Many businesses struggle with managing and organizing
their data, even those organizations that already have mature
business intelligence infrastructures in place. Researchers
have identified that companies utilize Business Intelligence in

different ways, with varying levels of success.


(Hawking, 2012, p. 91) With technology taking over businesses
more and more on a daily basis, the volume of data being
utilized and processed within organizations is on the rise,
leaving organizations no other choice but to turn to business
intelligence options or improve upon the business intelligence

practices they already have in place. Data management, as well


as the means in which data is processed, is changing
continuously and the role of business intelligence must ensure
these changes are echoed. Businesses and organizations need
intelligent practices that guarantee the data that is being
assembled, supervised and examined is data that is beneficial to
the company as well as data that can be useful in the future.
Business intelligence has a history of not keeping pace,
and it was once believed that it was overestimated in
its benefits and lacked the advantages it was said to have.
However, due to vast changes, it can now provide technologies
for databases, storage of big data items, in-memory analytics,
and the ability to leverage many types of data.
(Wise, Getting Real Value from BI investments, 2014, p. 1) A big
challenge for organizations and companies utilizing business
intelligence is to ensure choices made in regards to BI will

benefit the company in the present as well as the future. There


are many different aspects to look at when making a business
intelligence choice, including scalability for your
organization, but they are all equally important to ensure the
proper choice is made to provide the most benefit to the
specific company at hand.
An important thing for organizations to understand
is that business intelligence is constantly evolving for the
benefit of the company. As well they must accept
business intelligence practices as an addition to normal
operations in order to succeed. Business intelligence is about
cause and effect and determining the needs and means necessary
to meet these needs. In order for business intelligence to be
utilized to its full value, companies need to ensure it is
accepted as a necessary and essential part of their daily
activities.
(Wise, Getting Real Value from BI investments, 2014, p. 1)
When companies or organizations embark on business
intelligence tasks, the spotlight must remain on how to meet
the objectives, as well as face the challenges of the business
present and future requirements for scalability. Evaluation
of the business intelligence within an organization and deciding
whether expansion is needed requires many considerations to
be addressed to be sure the solution is to scale. It is
imperative to ensure all important aspects are taken into
consideration to achieve success with the business intelligence
program in regards to scalability. A few basic considerations
that need to be taken into account for successful scalability
are type of platform, number of data sources, number of
users/departments, types of users and integration.
(Wise, Understanding Scalability Requirements, 2013, p. 1)

Ensuring these considerations are well-contemplated and prepared


for will help immensely with scalability of the BI.

Choosing the type of platform will not only help


the organization establish the available expansion of
the selected business intelligence but also make known
the restrictions within the BI. As more and more data
is being saved and stored, both past and present,
the storage will increase; however, it is important that
scalability ensures the number of data sources also increases in
order to allow for data incorporation, new business policies and
additional assets. With successful business intelligence, the
BI aspects will begin to cover more staff and departments within
the corporation. Ensuring the needs of the licensing and
development requirements is imperative when the number of users
and departments grows to ensure scalability.
Business intelligence has rapidly evolved in the past
two decades creating many capabilities for organizations
including data analysis and visualization. The rise of business

intelligence software products over the last ten years had a


profound impact on how companies manage their operational
performance. (Rusaneanu, 2013, p. 149) When utilizing business
intelligence within an organization, it is imperative to ensure
each employee that will be using the system have been made
familiar with the technical functionalities as well as have an
understanding of the integration of the different data sources.
(Deng & Chi, 2012, p. 296) Understanding that different users
will utilize the business intelligence differently will increase
the ease with which the BI aspects roll over to different types
of users. The business intelligence within the organization will
affect an accounting employee much differently than an IT staff
member. With this in mind, the IT department needs to
incorporate the types of users with the various affected market
trends, such as self-service and data discovery. The affected
market trends should involve solutions that have built-in

capabilities that will enable flexible interaction and easy


expansion for new development within different departments for
more beneficial scalability.
(Wise, Understanding Scalability Requirements, 2013, p. 1)
Integration of business intelligence within any organization is
vital to the success of various types of users and the
scalability of the selected business intelligence. A large part
of the integration includes effort put into the development. By
expanding the business intelligence within a company, new
integration options become available that will benefit the
organization.
A very important aspect for many businesses in regards
to business intelligence is ensuring their business intelligence
platform has a self-service instrument available to provide fast
and easy reference. A self service BI tool provides data
without you having to wrangle it from your point-of-sale

systems software. (The Big Picture, 2013, p. 44) Many


organizations are already using some sort of self-service
business intelligence, enabling them to view certain necessary
data fields at a glance. Self-service business intelligence
can be as simple as utilizing an Excel spreadsheet to map
out data necessary to be viewed quickly and understood.
Businesses began to realize it is not very beneficial to
have the information stored in a way very few people can
access or process it. It is no longer good enough to have
information available if only a subset of employees can
access the data and make sense of its value.
(Wise, 2014, p. 1) With this in mind, most businesses require
the ability to have self-service options within their business
intelligence plan. The data sets produced from the business
intelligence are not as beneficial to the company as a whole if
employees cannot have access and interaction in a simple

method. Self-service applications should be easy enough to use


that they appear intuitive to the business users while
maintaining the integrity of the data and managing business
rules on the back end of the application. (Wise, 2014, p. 1)
Utilizing self-service business intelligence tools is a flexible
solution for still ensuring the data is stored and maintained
while also ensuring the employees who need access to the data
are able to do so in a simple and easily understood way.
A study was conducted in 2012 to determine the statistics
and growth trends of technology management including business
intelligence, business analytics and big data. In the study,
the researchers looked at publications, from large and highly
regarded digital libraries, dating from 2001 to 2011. The final
results demonstrated that business intelligence had the largest
coverage and the longest history of usage. The publications
found discussing business intelligence totaled up to well

over 3,000, whereas business analytics and big data were


both right around 200. (Chen, Chiang, & Storey, 2012, p. 1179)
The results were consistent with the development of business
intelligence and analytics. It is not surprising for business
intelligence to have more coverage and years of usage as it
has been around the longest. The term business intelligence
first began appearing in the early 1990s whereas analytics
and big data did not become common terminology until 2007,
although it began developing in 2001.
(Chen, Chiang, & Storey, 2012) Although business intelligence
has been around longer is stable, the growth pattern for
business intelligence has diminished in recent years leading to
a possible cause for concern.
Business intelligence systems have been cause for
significant interest for organizations due to their capability
of making use of organizational data and presenting operational

and tactical benefits through the utilization of improved


systems. One possible cause for concern when the use of business
intelligence is concerned is whether or not the organization
is utilizing their business intelligence system for all it

is worth. When an organization does not make full use of their


business intelligence system capabilities, business intelligence
can appear to fail the organization or managerial staff leading
to negative opinions about business intelligence as a whole.
Many organizations invest large sums of money into business
intelligence projects that they hope will support not only their
operational planning but also their strategic planning as well
as the decision making processes by utilizing the mass amounts
of data contained within the system.
(Elbashir, Collier, Sutton, Davern, & Leech, 2013, p. 99)
Most, if not all, organizations are using some form of
business intelligence as it is almost necessary to keep up

with todays technological advances. BI technologies are


essential to running todays businesses and this technology is
going through sea changes.
(Chaudhuri, Dayal, & Narasayya, 2011, p. 88) With technology
constantly evolving and improving, it is imperative that
businesses have a business intelligence platform to stand on and
keep their organization on top of its game technologically. With
the new generation of mobile devices, such as smartphones and
tablets, employees are enabled to access business data at any
point in time as well as at any location.
Business intelligence allows organizations to gain
advantages from their data that they could not gain without its
programs. Business Intelligence (BI) is unanimously considered
the art of gaining business advantage from data.
(Muntean & Muntean, 2013, p. 85) While business intelligence has
taken over most all organizations, people find it is being

transformed by its own abilities with data. Business


intelligence is being transformed by the ability to use massive
cloud computing services, big data analytics and huge external
data sources. (Lundquist, 2013, p. 1) Business intelligence
uses outside data as well as internal data to draw from which opens up new opportunities for the company.
In order to keep up with the growing technological
advances, many organizations are utilizing what is referred to
as mobile business intelligence. Mobile business intelligence
has been shown through studies as having a strong increase in
the utilization and implementation within organizations in order
provide employees with more options. (Verkooij & Spruit, 2013)
While the idea and use of mobile business intelligence has been
adopted by many organizations, the implementations of such are
still very much unfamiliar as well as unsupported by the normal
implementation systems and methods. Fewer than half of

organizations currently access BI capabilities on mobile


devices, but nearly three-quarters (71%) expect their mobile
workforce to be able to access BI capabilities in the next 12
months. (Cosentino, 2014, p. 1) The reason mobile business
intelligence is so appealing to organizations is the freedom it
allows for the employees to make business decisions from
locations other than their desks, which is now common and
beneficial. (Verkooij & Spruit, 2013)
Cloud business intelligence allows for business

intelligence services on demand. Utilizing the new phenomenon of


cloud business intelligence has its benefits but also risks.
While cloud computing has become very popular in recent years,
linking business intelligence solutions to it allows mush more
options to both. Benefits of business intelligence on the cloud
include increased elastic computing power, potential cost
savings, easy deployment and supportive of nomadic computing

which is the information systems support that provides


computing and communication capabilities and services to users,
as they move from place to place.
(Tamer, Kiley, Ashrafi, & Kuilboer, 2013, p. 89) Risks of using
business intelligence on the cloud include security risks, slow
data breach recovery, cloud business intelligence availability
is determined by external factors, potential compromise of core
business intelligence capabilities, costs are difficult to
quantify, and the changing and controversial regulatory
environment. (Tamer, Kiley, Ashrafi, & Kuilboer, 2013) Before
embarking on a cloud transition, the organization needs to
ensure all users are responsible for application level security
as well as thoroughly research and weigh the benefits and risks
of utilizing business intelligence on the cloud.
In order for an organization to implement a business
intelligence program, they must first start with an operational

or transactional system. Two examples of common systems that are


utilized in the first stage are the Enterprise Resource
Planning (ERP) and the Customer Relationship Management (CRM).
(Bucur, 2012) These systems aid with a number of operations
within the company, such as invoices and data entry, but they do
not qualify as a advanced reporting tool. These systems can be
sufficient for some smaller companies that are not in need of
larger systems with more complex capabilities, but for larger
organizations, a larger platform is needed to complete the
required tasks.
Another branch of business intelligence is sematic business
intelligence. Sematic business intelligence is different from
traditional solutions of business intelligence in many ways.
Traditional business intelligence solutions include applications
that are utilized by organizations to aid in managing,
processing and analyzing their data in order to ensure it is

easily accessible in the necessary ways. Sematic business


intelligence is a development trend thats designed to
integrate semantic unstructured data, making business
intelligence solutions to be redesigned in such a manner that
can analyze, process and synthesize, in addition to traditional
data and data integrated with semantic another form and
structure in turn creating a new business intelligence
solution. (Airinei & Berta, 2012, p. 72) Semantic business
intelligence is referred to as a new generation of business
intelligence. Semantic business intelligence data storage is
different from traditional business intelligence data storage in
that it stores data in a triple store instead of a data
warehouse. The data is analyzed differently with semantic

business intelligence as well. Traditional business intelligence


analyzes the data by utilizing mining tools but semantic
business intelligence replaces those tools with FCA or Formal
Concept analysis. FCA is a method used for data analysis,
knowledge representation and information management where the
data is structured in units in the guise of formal abstractions
of concepts of human thought, allowing a comprehensive and
easily understandable interpretation.
(Airinei & Berta, 2012, p. 75) Semantic business intelligence
incorporates two new technologies unheard of in traditional
business intelligence, as well as the use of FCA triple stores
that allow many more functions that traditional business
intelligence was capable of.
Business intelligence can benefit many organizations and
has been shown to do so in studies and investigations. One way
that business intelligence was shown to benefit a specific type
of organization is helping hospitals manage their supply costs.
The costs of operating a hospital and providing staff to meet
the needs of the patients is very high but factoring in unneeded
purchasing costs can send costs through the roof. Business
intelligence provides the ability to manage these costs a little
easier. Business intelligence tools can help materials managers
and managers in the operating room and procedural areas track
purchasing costs more precisely and determine the root causes of
cost increases. (Bunata, 2013, p. 44) Being able to track
purchases in such a way that managers can catch issues that may
be increasing costs that can be corrected can save the hospital
money as well as help educate employees on proper purchasing
methods to prevent such issues.
Another real world example of the use of business
intelligence within a specific organization is for auto
insurance underwriters. But certainly there is value in using
business intelligence to make those underwriters more efficient
and giving them better tools to do their job.
(Voelker, 2013, p. 12) The use of business intelligence within
the underwriting process is very beneficial to decreasing the
time spent on certain tasks freeing up time for the underwriters
to do other tasks. By allowing the underwriters the use of
business intelligence, it will increase their efficiency as well
as improve the outcomes for each case by transforming
underwriting from an art into a science. The change from art to
science involves not only the automation but also allows the
decisions to be more precise to the needs of underwriting.
(Voelker, 2013) Business intelligence allows underwriters to
complete things in a similar fashion but allows for a more
efficient and accurate outcome for all involved.
This is the decision-computer era and it is more and more
necessary every day for organizations to utilize business
intelligence to stay efficient and competitive in their market.
Competitive organizations are permanently prepared to identify
the cutting-edge technologies which will change the future in
business by using the concept of Business Intelligence.
(Gabriela, 2013, p. 1865) Business intelligence is designed to
solve general problems most organizations face at one time or

another when collecting data on large scales. The solutions


business intelligence creates for issues, such as structuring
data for analysis, analyzing the data, creating reports based on
the data and allowing the ability to view and share these
reports, have made major advancements for companies that utilize
the programs. By providing a data warehouse for organizations to
store their data, business intelligence has simplified.
Business intelligence is more than just solutions for data,
it also aids in decision making as well as other areas of
importance within an organization. Business intelligence is a
combination of processes, policies, culture, and technologies
for gathering, manipulating, storing and analyzing data
collected from internal and external sources, in order to
communicate information, create knowledge, and inform decision
making. (Weider, Ossimitz, & Chamoni, 2012, p. 8) Business
intelligence is very much an umbrella term for the many benefits

and solutions it provides the organization.


While business intelligence has many different definitions
and descriptions due to its range of capabilities, one fact
about business intelligence remains and that is it is ever
evolving. Business intelligence continuously provides new
abilities to meet new needs as technology and the economy
change, develop, and mature. In order for business intelligence
to have a secure future, it must be agile. An agile BI solution
should provide access to accurate information in the right
format to the right person at the right time.
(Muntean & Surcel, Agile BI The Future of BI, 2013, p. 115)
Business intelligence solutions need to ensure the ability to
become more and more agile as the economy and technology rapidly
change or the solutions offered by business intelligence
eventually may no longer be as useful.

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