How do I start BI (Business Intelligence)?

Someone at the Oracle Forums asked How to start BI ?

I know it becomes quite difficult to comprehend with all the tons of new stuff that
is introduced on a daily basis.

First it helps to understand the fundamentals between OLTP and BI systems.

Your OLTP could be ERP, CRM or SCM and BI could be a data-warehouse, dashboards etc.

Your CRM, ERP , SCM etc are the true backbone of any company or business. These systems are designed for efficient data entry and storage.

For e.g if a customer calls your company to order something, then the operator on your company side logs into an Order Management system within ERP. After getting the basic information like address,  profile details, validating the customer’s credit history, the operator then takes the order details.

Now you see all the raw transactions are efficiently stored in your ERP but the data that is stored for Online transactions may not be the best for reporting. You need to consider the efficiency of the reporting. Also your manager may not necessarily like to see the information at a very detail level (infact they may not like whatever you present them :)).

So to ease the reporting of all these CRM, ERP data, companies often go with a BI solution ( I use to think a solution is some kind of viscous liquid that you can fill it in a bottle and sell it to the customer). This BI solution could be a combination of Data-warehouse, dashboards, ad-hoc reporting etc.

In the simplest terms, BI (Business Intelligence) is just a facilitator for reporitng and hence it is the decision making solution for Businesses so that they can cut costs ( e.g. by laying off since this is the easiest thing for managers ;-)) and hence increase profits.

For any normal business, a need for an ERP, CRM or SCM system  comes first and then they start thinking about using a BI solution (not the liquid!).

Do you know of any company or business going the other way around?

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