Business intelligence systems

Currently managing information in companies is a very important key element that must be considered in a globalized, changing and dynamic market. It is essential to learn to compete with enough information for decision-making, growth and administration of the company of which it is part.

The subject known as Business Intelligence (Business Intelligence) has a focus on information systems that help decision-making in the company. SMEs, like all companies of various sizes, have regularly sophisticated information systems, which it is convenient to constantly examine and refine.1.6KThe battle for abortion rights hit the streets of the US

Any company, regardless of the type of business to which they belong, concentrates its greatest attention on the decision-making process that they carry out in the long term. Because the success they achieve, depends to a large extent on an accurate and timely decision made according to the objective or problem that is being faced.

It is very common for organizations to make a large investment when hiring trained personnel to perform specific tasks that include decision-making in the operation, management and evaluation of the company. Because of this, companies have acquired a special value from the use of information systems that provide sufficient elements for making decisions that correspond to the problem detected, as well as to achieve a desired goal.


The knowledge management environment is focused on three key concepts that are: Data, Information, and Knowledge

The data: it is the concrete information about facts, which allows us to know and study them. It is, so to speak, the raw material to create the information.

Information: information is defined as the result of organizing and processing data to produce meaning.

Knowledge: it is a set of information acquired through experience or learning. In another sense, it is about the possession of various connected data that, when taken by themselves, have a lower specific value.

Knowledge management is a technique that encompasses processes, people, content, and technology. Knowledge becomes valuable only if it is understandable to those who need it. It is formed and is found in the brain of each individual, so the conception, transfer and application of knowledge should be promoted and rewarded, because the administration of knowledge is more of a cultural and organizational challenge than a technological aspect.

Patents are one of the most explicit forms of knowledge found in the organization, they are a form of codified knowledge. Knowledge management is a process by which individual learning and experience can be represented, shared and used to propose improvement in individual knowledge. It is a repeated process that allows identifying the knowledge that a company requires or possesses to solve a specific problem, and increase the value of the company (Ayala, 2006)


In order to define Business Intelligence (BI), it must be taken into account that it is an interactive process to analyze and exploit structured information about an area (which is normally stored in a datawarehouse) to find trends or patterns or from the which ideas can be derived and knowledge obtained. The BI process includes communicating innovations to effect change. Any area includes customers, products, suppliers, competitors, and services.

To understand in other words, business intelligence is the ability to transform data into information, and that information into knowledge, so that the decision-making process in the business of any organization can be optimized.

This term must be fully understood by understanding the following terms:

  • Interactive process: when dealing with BI, it is assumed that it is a continuous analysis of information over time, not only at a specific moment. Although it is evident that this type of analysis can provide some value, which is not compared to what a continuous process of information analysis can provide, in which changes, trends, variabilities, etc. can be seen.
  • Explore: in any BI project there is an initial moment when information is accessed for the first time that facilitates interpretation. What is done in this first phase is to explore to understand what is happening in the company, it is possible that new relationships are discovered that until now have been unknown
  • Analyze: aims to discover relationships between variables, that is, what may be a possible evolution of the patterns. For example, when a customer has a series of characteristics, what is the probability that there is another with similar characteristics.
  • Structured information and datawarehouse: The information used in BI is stored that maintain a relationship between them. Each table has records, and each of the records contains various values ​​for each of the attributes. These tables are stored in what is known as a data warehouse or data warehouse.
  • Analysis area: any BI project must have a precise object of analysis. You can focus on products, customers, the results of a location, etc. It is intended to analyze in detail and with a specific objective: for example, the increase in sales, the increase in market participation, the fulfillment of the budgeted sales objectives, etc.
  • Communicate results and make changes: An important objective of BI is that, once something has been discovered, it is communicated to those people who are responsible for making important changes in the organization to improve competitiveness.

The Business Intelligence concept has an origin that is linked to providing direct access to information to business users to help in decision-making, without having to require the intervention of the Information Systems departments (Cano, 2007).


Some of the benefits that each company can obtain with the use of Business Intelligence are:

  • Get clear visibility into where the business is, how it is and where it should be.
  • Have the appropriate information that allows solving questions from the company in a faster way.
  • Acquire key business metrics where and when they are needed.
  • To optimize the selection of decisions through a convenient administration of the information on the behavior of the market, customers and products.
  • Being able to manage inventories in a more effective way.
  • Find the costs of the organization.

One of the basic objectives of information systems is to help decision-making. When a responsible employee of the organization has to make a decision, he asks or seeks information, which will help reduce uncertainty. However, not all managers collect the same information: it depends on various aspects, such as their training, experience, availability, etc. Knowledge can be discovered from the data provided by the BI system. For example, at a car dealership the relationship between the number of visits to the dealership and the number of vehicles sold in the following month is discovered.

The benefits that can be acquired through the use of BI can be of various types:

  • Tangible benefits:
    • Cost reduction. o Income generation.
    • Time reduction for different business activities
  • Intangible benefits: the fact that information is available for decision-making will make more users use this information to make decisions and improve competitive position.
  • Strategic benefits: these are those that facilitate the formulation of the strategy, that is, to which clients, markets or with which products they should be directed (Cano, 2007).


BI in a performance management scenario that symbolizes the cycle in which organizations form their objectives, analyze their progress, measure their success and begin a new phase. This cycle is made up of four stages: Analysis, reflection, action and measurement. 

  • The analysis begins by establishing the data to compile. The selection is based on a basic and hypothetical sense of how the organization operates, considering what is relevant to customers, suppliers, employees, the factors that affect inputs, production, cost and quality. The collection of everything that should be known about the organization is known as a mental model. This concept is used on a personal and organizational level as a whole. Mental models are fundamental for executives for the decision-making process, since they represent the foundations to recognize a good idea, but they also constitute the limits to not see aspects that are outside.
  • Reflection implies a scrupulous analysis of the facts and the situation, in addition to taking into account the direction that the case study may take. The role that reflection covers depends on the hierarchical level that is performing it and the consideration of the external environment. The reflection begins with an analysis free of questions that only executives can ask and that is oriented to the discovery of relevant patterns. When encountering some data that may be opposed to the established postulates, it implies a work of convincing and overcoming resistance to change, however, for the initiative to be successful, it is necessary to share it and gather allies.
  • The connection of action to the Business Intelligence cycle is through the decision-making process, where activities are passed as a result of decisions. When decision making is based on Business Intelligence, it offers better conditions to identify opportunities, guide actions, experimentation, testing and feedback.
  • The measurement evaluates the results when comparing them against the quantitative standards and the expectations that were originally raised; with which another cycle of analysis, reflection, action and measurement begins. In BI, standards can be established for comparison tests that facilitate monitoring performance and provide the necessary feedback for each different functional area of ​​the company (Ayala, 2006).



Scorecard (BSC) or dashboard , is a business control tool that gives access to establish and monitor the established goals of an organization and its different areas.

It is also considered as an application that supports a company to express the necessary objectives and initiatives that are proposed to fulfill its strategy, continuously showing when the company and employees achieve the results defined in their strategic plan.

Difference with other Business Intelligence tools

  • The Balanced Scorecard differs from others in that it is more oriented to the monitoring of indicators than to the scrupulous analysis of information.
  • It is very common for a CMI to be controlled by the general management of a company, unlike other BI tools more focused on the direction of each department.
  • The CMI requires managers to analyze their strategies and the market they want to cover in order to build a business model that demonstrates the interrelationships between the various components of the company.
  • Once they have built it, those responsible for the organization use this model as a map to select the indicators of the BSC.

Balanced Scorecards (CMI)

Dashboard Types

  • The Operational Scorecard (CMO) is a control tool that focuses on monitoring operational variables,
  • The Balanced Scorecard (BSC) represents the execution of a company’s strategy from the point of view of the General Management (which means that it must be fully involved in all its phases, from definition to implementation). 

DECISION SUPPORT SYSTEMS (DSS) is a BI tool focused on analyzing the data of an organization.

This application usually has a set of predefined reports in which it shows the information statically, but it does not allow to delve into the data, navigate between them, handle them from different perspectives … etc.

Decision Support Systems (DSS)

The DSS is one of the most significant tools of Business Intelligence since, among its various properties, it allows to solve a large part of the limitations of management programs. These are some of its main characteristics:

  • Dynamic, flexible and interactive reports.
  • It does not require technical knowledge.
  • Quick response time .
  • Integration between all the company’s systems / departments .
  • Each user has information appropriate to their profile .
  • Historical information availability .

Difference with other Business Intelligence tools

  • Compared to other tools, its main difference is to fully exploit the information found in a corporate database.
  • It shows very dynamic reports with great navigation potential, always showing with an attractive and simple graphical interface.
  • The users for whom the platforms are intended are any managerial level within an organization, both for structured and unstructured situations.
  • Finally, DSS usually require (although it is not essential) an OLAP engine that facilitates the analysis of the data to find the causes of the problems or details of the company.

Types of Decision Support Systems

  • Management Information Systems (MIS) : also called Administrative Information Systems (AIS) support a broader aspect of organizational work,
  • Executive information systems ( EIS ) : they are the type of DSS that is most often used in BI, because they provide managers with easy access to internal and external information about their company.
  • Expert systems based on artificial intelligence (SSEE): they are also called knowledge-based systems, which use neural networks to simulate the knowledge of an expert and use it effectively to solve a specific problem.
  • Group Decision Support Systems (GDSS): is “a computer-based system that provides support to groups of people who have a common goal, and that serves as an interface with a shared environment.”

EXECUTIVE INFORMATION SYSTEMS (EIS): is a software tool, based on a DSS, that provides managers with easy access to internal and external information about their company, which is important for their key success factors.

Its main function is for the executive to have a complete overview of the status of the company’s indicators that affect him at the moment, maintaining the possibility of observing in detail those that are not reaching the established expectations, to determine the action plan more than according to goals.

Executive Information Systems (EIS)



It is a departmental database, expert in storing data for a specific business area. It is characterized by having the optimal data structure to perform an analysis of the information in detail from all the points of view that affect the processes of said department. A datamart can be fed from the data of a data warehouse, or integrate by itself a compendium of different sources of information.


Types of datamarts:

  • OLAP Datamart
  • Datamart OLTP

Advantages of a   Datamart

  • They generate little data volume
  • Faster consultation
  • Simple SQL and / or MDX queries
  • Direct validation of information  Ease of creating data history 


Datawarehouse is a corporate database whose main characteristic is to integrate and refine information from one or more diverse ones, and then process it, which allows an analysis from different perspectives and with high response speeds. The creation of a data warehouse represents the first step to implement a complete and reliable BI solution.

The main advantage of this type of database stems from the structures in which the information is stored (star table models, snowflake tables, relational cubes … etc.).


It is characterized by being:

  • Integrated
  • Thematic
  • Historical
  • Not volatile

The objectives that the metadata must meet are: 

  • Support the end user
  • Provide support to the technical managers of the datawarehouse in auditing aspects (Sinnexus, 2012).

Set of Datamarts that make up the Corporate Datawarehouse


  • Ayala, AP (2006). Business Intelligence: A Proposal for the development of organizations. Mexico.
  • Cano, JL (2007). BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE: compete with information.

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