The traditional meaning of Data warehouse that appeared in the late 70s is the end-to-end solution for business users. This is about extracting data and storing it into special data models, queries with the help of applications and reports. Then, in 90s appeared the concept of Business Intelligence that became a solution which represented the given data in dashboards, reports, scorecards and variable diagrams. So, the BI concept does not exist without Data warehouse, because Data warehouse is simply the foundation for BI. Nevertheless, with the quick development of IT and analytic tools, which are involved in the same business process, the people are using the terms in an interchangeable way. Sometimes data warehouse and business intelligence are recognized as the very same project.
It is better to make clear what really BI means before you start a new BI project. Business Intelligence has two dynamic terms: the way to model the business with BI tools, where the business evolves all the time responding to strategies and market conditions. These BI models give the valuable information to decision-making that helps to build numerous business scenarios. Business Intelligence means to learn about the business and face new questions that will arise. Another widely used description of BI is Business Insight – this meaning correctly describes BI for management use.
Also, it is important to understand that BI solution itself is not your key to all the “business doors” – it can provide you with the dashboards, graphs etc., but the real value comes after interaction of BI and decision-maker, a person who can leverage all the information and provide the system with right queries. Without this business logic, the BI tools can tell you only the things that you already know. That is why it is better to consider Business Intelligence as Business Insight instead of data storing, so that we can focus on the business value instead of the technological issue.
True Business Intelligence system has three key components:
- Focusing on business
- Structuring delivered data
- Strong analytic tools