The ABCs of Business Intelligence


Business Intelligence (BI) is a trending technology field right now. In fact, this field is so important that most companies, IT or not, have separate BI teams which work on these processes. The main reason behind this is that BI allows companies to analyze past and present trends and predict future possibilities. This is essential for any business to survive in the 21st century.

Before we delve into the elements of BI, let’s first understand what this field is at its core.

In simple terms, Business intelligence is a technology-driven process that allows professionals to analyze data and present actionable information to assist executives, managers and other corporate end users in making informed business decisions. It is a large-scale process and involves a lot of data. This data could be structured on unstructured, depending upon the company’s activities and products.

There are several different processes that come together to make up the BI technology. Each of these steps has its own end goal and modus operandi. Let’s look at them individually.

Data Warehousing

This technology within BI deals with the storage, modelling and normalization of data. The main ideas behind this is to:

  • Store the data in a proper format to make it convenient for the required teams to access it.
  • Model the data to a standard format to make it easier to store, understand and process.
  • And, organize the data depending upon the requirements in the database.

Tools like ERwin and Talend are widely used for data warehouse processes in the industry.

Data Indexing

Data storage and modelling is just one side of the coin. There’s no point in storing data if you are unable to retrieve or search for a required snippet within the database. That’s where data indexing comes in. This technology deals with storage and retrieval of data.

Tools like Teradata and MySQL are usually used in the market for indexing operations.


ETL stands for Extraction, Transformation and Loading. This technology, as the name suggests, deals with the extraction, transformation and loading of data from one source to another. This is essential as most individuals/corporations have their own proprietary format of data storage. If this data is to be shared with a third-party, the format will not be supported. To ensure proper linking of data between these two parties, ETL tools are used.

 ETL Process Diagram

The trending ETL tools in the market right now are Informatica and Talend.


The abbreviations of these terms are as follows:

  • SSIS: SQL Server Integration Service
  • SSAS: SQL Server Analysis Service
  • SSRS: SQL Server Reporting Service

As the names suggests, each of these technologies deal with basic database processes—integration, analysis and reporting.

Integration services are used to store and append data into existing databases. This is usually done by an ETL or warehousing counterpart.

Analysis services are those where the data is analyzed to understand trends and predict future solutions. This is usually done using programming or tools like Microsoft BI.

Reporting services deal with data representation and visualization. This is an important step as it is easier for any person to read and understand data from a well-defined chart or graph rather than a table. Tools like Tableau, Qlikview and Power BI are used for this process.

Advantages of Business Intelligence

The combination of all these tools makes a person a Business Intelligence professional. Depending upon your interests and specializations, you can take up one of several different roles in the BI field. These include:

  • Business Intelligence Consultant
  • Business Intelligence Manager
  • Business Intelligence Administrator
  • Business Intelligence Project Manager
  • Business Intelligence Developer
  • Business Intelligence Analyst
  • DBA/SQL Server for Business Intelligence

BI is an extensive field in the technology world. And, because of its similarities to technologies like Data Analytics and Data Science, most professionals aren’t aware of the actual meaning of BI and the skills required to become a BI professional. We hope that this article helped you understand what BI is and what skills you would need to acquire to get into a BI role.

Not all roles in the BI field require you to learn all these skills. But, it’s never bad to aim a little high, is it? Obtain all these skills through a well-structured Masters Course and get into the career of your dreams.

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