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MB 0036-Business Intelligence and Tools

Ensure that you answer all questions according to the marks allocated (not more than 400 words for a 10-mark question and not more than 200 words for a five-mark question). The total page limit shall not exceed 8 pages of A-4 size Q.1 Define the term business intelligence tools? Discuss the roles in Business Intelligence project? Answer-Business Intelligence (BI) is a generic term used to describe leveraging the
organizational internal and external data, information for making the best possible business decisions. The field of Businessintelligence is very diverse and comprises the tools and technologies used to access and analyze various types of business information. These tools gather and store the data and allow the user to view and analyze the information from a wide variety of dimensions and thereby assist the decision-makers make better business decisions. Thus the BusinessIntelligence (BI) systems and tools play a vital role as far as organizations are concerned in making improved decisions in the current cut throat competitive scenario. In simple terms, BusinessIntelligence is an environment in which business users receive reliable, consistent, meaningful and timely information. This data enables the business users conduct analyses that yield overall understanding of how the business has been, how it is now and how it will be in the near future. Also, the BI tools monitor the financial and operational health of the organization through generation of various types of reports, alerts, alarms, key performance indicators and dashboards. Although it is possible to build BI systems without the benefit of a data warehouse, most of the systems are an integral part of the user-facing end of the data warehouse in practice. In fact, we can never think of building a data warehouse without BI Systems. That is the reason; sometimes, the words data warehousing and business intelligence are being used interchangeably. A typical BI Project consists of the following roles and the responsibilities of each of these roles are detailed below: Project Manager: Monitors the progress on continuum basis and is responsible for the success of the project. Technical Architect: Develops and implements the overall technical architecture of the BI system, from the backend hardware/software to the client desktop configurations. Database Administrator (DBA): Keeps the database available for the applications to run smoothly and also involves in planning and executing a backup/recovery plan, as well as performance tuning. ETL Developer: Involves himself in planning, developing, and deploying the extraction, transformation, and loading routine for the data warehouse from the legacysystems. Front End Developer: Develops the front-end, whether it be client-server or over the web. OLAP Developer: Dexlops the OLAP cubes. Data Modeler: Is responsible for taking the data structure that exists in the enterprise and model it into a scheme that is suitable for OLAP analysis. QA Group: Ensures the correctness of the data in the data warehouse.

Q.2. What do you mean by data ware house? What are the major concepts and terminology used in the study of data ware house? Answer-

In computing, a data warehouse (DW) is a database used for reporting and analysis. The data stored in the warehouse is uploaded from the operational systems. The data may pass through anoperational data store for additional operations before it is used in the DW for reporting. A data warehouse maintains its functions in three layers: staging, integration, and access. Staging is used to store raw data for use by developers. The integration layer is used to integrate data and to have a level of abstraction from users. The access layer is for getting data out for users. Data warehouses can be subdivided into data marts. Data marts store subsets of data from a warehouse. This definition of the data warehouse focuses on data storage. The main source of the data is cleaned, transformed, catalogued and made available for use by managers and other business professionals for data mining, online analytical HYPERLINK "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OLAP"processing, market research and decision support (Marakas & O'Brien 2009). However, the means to retrieve and analyze data, to extract, transform and load data, and to manage the data dictionary are also considered essential components of a data warehousing system. Many references to data warehousing use this broader context. Thus, an expanded definition for data warehousing includes business intelligence tools, tools to extract, transform and load data into the repository, and tools to manage and retrieve metadata. A common way of introducing data warehousing is to refer to the characteristics of a

data warehouse as set forth by William Inmon: Subject Oriented Integrated Nonvolatile Dimension: A variable, perspective or general category of information that is used to organize and analyze information in a multi-dimensional data cube. Drill Down: The ability of a data-mining tool to move down into increasing levels of detail in a data mart, data warehouse or multi-dimensional data cube. Drill Up: The ability of a data-mining tool to move back up into higher levels of data in a data mart, data warehouse or multi-dimensional data cube. Executive Information Management System (EIS): A type of decision support system designed for executive management that reports summary level information as opposed to greater detail derived in a decision support system. Extraction, Transformation and Loading (ETL) Tool: Structured Query Language (SQL): A standard programming language used by contemporary relational database management systems. Synchronization: The process by which the data in two or more separate database are synchronized so that the records contain the same information. If the fields and records are updated in one database the same fields and records are updated in the other. Q.3. what are the data modeling techniques used in data warehousing environment? Answer-Two data modeling techniques that are relevant in a data warehousing environment are ER modeling and dimensional modeling. ER modeling produces a data model of the specific area of interest, using two basic concepts: entities and the relationships between those entities. Detailed ER Modeling A prerequisite for reading this book is a basic knowledge of ER modeling. Therefore we do not focus on that traditional technique.

Figure 12. A Sample ER Model. Entity, relationship, and attributes in an ER diagram. Basic Concepts An ER model is represented by an ER diagram, which uses three basic graphic symbols to conceptualize the data: entity, relationship, and attribute. An entity is defined to be a person, place, thing, or event of interest to the business or the organization. An entity represents a class of objects, which are things in the real world that can be observed and classified by their properties and characteristics. In some books on IE, the term entity type is used to represent classes of objects and entity for an instance of an entity type. In this book, we will use them interchangeably. 6.3.1.2 Relationship A relationship is represented with lines drawn between entities. It depicts the structural interaction and association among the entities in a model. 6.3.1.3 Attributes Attributes describe the characteristics of properties of the entities. In Figure 12, Product ID, Description, and Picture are attributes of the PRODUCT entity. For clarification, attribute naming conventions are very important. An attribute name should be unique in an entity and should be self-explanatory. For example, simply saying date1 or date2 is not allowed, we must clearly define each. As examples, they could be defined as the order date and delivery date. Dimensional Modeling In some respects, dimensional modeling is simpler, more expressive, and easier to understand than ER modeling. But, dimensional modeling is a relatively new concept and ot firmly defined yet in details, especially when compared to ER modeling techniques. This section presents the terminology that we use in this book as we discuss dimensional modeling. Basic Concepts

.Dimensional modeling has several basic concepts: Facts Dimensions Measures (variables)

Q.4 Discuss the categories in which data is divided before structuring it into data ware house? Answer-A Data Warehouse is not an individual repository product. Rather, it is an overall
strategy, or process, for building decision support systems and a knowledge-based applications architecture and environment that supports both everyday tactical decision making and long-term business strategizing. Data Warehouses and Data Warehouse applications are designed primarily to support executives, senior managers, and business analysts in making complex business decisions. Data Warehouse applications provide the business community with access to accurate, consolidated information from various internal and external sources. The primary objective of Data Warehousing is to bring together information from disparate sources and put the information into a format that is conducive to making business decisions. This objective necessitates a set of activities that are far more complex than just collecting data and reporting against it. Data Warehousing requires both business and technical expertise and involves the following activities: Accurately identifying the business information that must be contained in the Warehouse Identifying and prioritizing subject areas to be included in the Data Warehouse Managing the scope of each subject area which will be implemented into the Warehouse on an iterative basis Developing a scaleable architecture to serve as the Warehouses technical and application foundation, and identifying and selecting the hardware/software/middleware components to implement it Extracting, cleansing, aggregating, transforming and validating the data to ensure accuracy and consistency Defining the correct level of summarization to support business decision making Establishing a refresh program that is consistent with business needs, timing and cycles Providing user-friendly, powerful tools at the desktop to access the data in the Warehouse Educating the business community about the realm of possibilities that are available to them through Data Warehousing Establishing a Data Warehouse Help Desk and training users to effectively utilize the desktop tools Establishing processes for maintaining, enhancing, and ensuring the ongoing success and applicability of the Warehouse In the Data Warehouse model, operational databases are not accessed directly to perform information processing. Rather, they act as the source of data for the Data Warehouse, which is the information repository and point of access for information processing. There are sound reasons for separating operational and informational databases, as described below. The users of informational and operational data are different. Users of informational data are generally managers and analysts; users of operational data tend to be clerical, operational and administrative staff. Operational data differs from informational data in context and currency. Informational data contains an historical perspective that is not generally used by operational systems.

The technology used for operational processing frequently differs from the technology required to support informational needs. The processing characteristics for the operational environment and the informational environment are fundamentally different.

Q.5 Discuss the purpose of executive information system in an organization? Answer-Implementing an Executive Information System (EIS) An EIS is a tool that provides direct on-line access to relevant information about aspects of a business that are of particular interest to the senior manager. Introduction Many senior managers find that direct on-line access to organizational data is helpful. For example, Paul Frech, president of Lockheed-Georgia, monitored employee contributions to company-sponsored programs (United Way, blood drives) as a surrogate measure of employee morale (Houdeshel and Watson, 1987). C. Robert Kidder, CEO of Duracell, found that productivity problems were due to salespeople in Germany wasting time calling on small stores and took corrective action (Main, 1989). Executive Information Systems differ from traditional information systems in the following ways: They are specifically tailored to executive's information needs. They are able to access data about specific issues and problems as well as aggregate reports They provide extensive on-line analysis tools including trend analysis, exception reporting & "drill-down" capability Purpose of EIS The primary purpose of an Executive Information System is to support managerial learning about an organization, its work processes, and its interaction with the external environment. Informed managers can ask better questions and make better decisions. Vandenbosch and Huff (1992) from the University of Western Ontario found that Canadian firms using an EIS achieved better business results if their EIS promoted managerial learning. Firms with an EIS designed to maintain managers' "mental models"

were less effective than firms with an EIS designed to build or enhance managers' knowledge. This distinction is supported by Peter Senge in The Fifth Dimension. He illustrates the benefits of learning about the behaviour of systems versus simply learning more about their states

Contents of EIS A general answer to the question of what data is appropriate for inclusion in an Executive Information System is "whatever is interesting to executives." While this advice is rather simplistic, it does reflect the variety of systems currently in use. Executive Information Systems in government have been constructed to track data about Ministerial correspondence, case management, worker productivity, finances, and human resources to name only a few. While the above indicates that selection of data for inclusion in an EIS is difficult, there are several guidelines that help to make that assessment. EIS measures must be easy to understand and collect. Wherever possible, data should be collected naturally as part of the process of work. An EIS should not add substantially to the workload of managers or staff.
Q.6 Discuss the challenges involved in data integration and coordination process? Answer-Data Integration Primer Challenges to Data Integration One of the most fundamental challenges in the process of data integration is setting realistic expectations. The term data integration conjures a perfect coordination of diversified databases, software, equipment, and personnel into a smoothly functioning alliance, free of the persistent headaches that mark less comprehensive systems of information management. Think again. The requirements analysis stage offers one of the best opportunities in the process to recognize and digest the full scope of complexity of the data integration task. Thorough attention to this analysis is possibly the most important ingredient in creating a system that will live to see adoption and maximum use. As the field of data integration progresses, however, other common impediments and compensatory solutions will be easily identified. Current integration practices have already highlighted a few familiar challenges as well as strategies to address them, as outlined below.

Heterogeneous Data Challenges For most transportation agencies, data integration involves synchronizing huge quantities of variable, heterogeneous data resulting from internal legacy systems that vary in data format. Legacy systems may have been created around flat file, network, or hierarchical databases, unlike newer generations of databases which use relational data. Data in different formats from external sources continue to be added to the legacy databases to improve the value of the information. Each generation, product, and homegrown system has unique demands to fulfill in order to store or extract data. So data integration can involve various strategies for coping with heterogeneity. In some cases, the effort becomes a major exercise in data homogenization, which may not enhance the quality of the data offered. Strategies A detailed analysis of the characteristics and uses of data is necessary to mitigate issues with heterogeneous data. First, a model is chosen-either a federated or data warehouse environment- that serves the requirements of the business applications and other uses of the data. Then the database developer will need to ensure that various applications can use this format or, alternatively, that standard operating procedures are adopted to convert the data to another format. Bringing disparate data together in a database system or migrating and fusing highly incompatible databases is painstaking work that can sometimes feel like an overwhelming challenge. Thankfully, software technology has advanced to minimize obstacles through a series of data access routines that allow structured query languages to access nearly all DBM and data file systems-relational or non-relational.