Enterprise Intelligence Parts and How They Relate to Energy BI

Business Intelligence Components and How They Relate to Power BI

Once I determined to put in writing this weblog publish, I believed it could be a good suggestion to be taught a bit in regards to the historical past of Enterprise Intelligence. I searched on the web, and I discovered this web page on Wikipedia. The time period Enterprise Intelligence as we all know it immediately was coined by an IBM laptop science researcher, Hans Peter Luhn, in 1958, who wrote a paper within the IBM Methods journal titled A Enterprise Intelligence System as a particular course of in knowledge science. Within the Targets and rules part of his paper, Luhn defines the enterprise as “a group of actions carried on for no matter function, be it science, expertise, commerce, trade, legislation, authorities, protection, et cetera.” and an intelligence system as “the communication facility serving the conduct of a enterprise (within the broad sense)”. Then he refers to Webster’s dictionary’s definition of the phrase Intelligence as the flexibility to apprehend the interrelationships of offered information in such a manner as to information motion in the direction of a desired aim”.

It’s fascinating to see how a implausible thought previously units a concrete future that may assist us have a greater life. Isn’t it exactly what we do in our day by day BI processes as Luhn described of a Enterprise Intelligence System for the primary time? How cool is that?

Once we discuss in regards to the time period BI immediately, we consult with a particular and scientific set of processes of remodeling the uncooked knowledge into precious and comprehensible info for numerous enterprise sectors (akin to gross sales, stock, legislation, and so on…). These processes will assist companies to make data-driven selections primarily based on the prevailing hidden information within the knowledge.

Like all the things else, the BI processes improved lots throughout its life. I’ll attempt to make some wise hyperlinks between immediately’s BI Parts and Energy BI on this publish.

Generic Parts of Enterprise Intelligence Options

Usually talking, a BI resolution accommodates numerous elements and instruments that will range in numerous options relying on the enterprise necessities, knowledge tradition and the organisation’s maturity in analytics. However the processes are similar to the next:

  • We often have a number of supply techniques with completely different applied sciences containing the uncooked knowledge, akin to SQL Server, Excel, JSON, Parquet recordsdata and so on…
  • We combine the uncooked knowledge right into a central repository to cut back the danger of creating any interruptions to the supply techniques by continuously connecting to them. We often load the information from the information sources into the central repository.
  • We rework the information to optimise it for reporting and analytical functions, and we load it into one other storage. We purpose to maintain the historic knowledge on this storage.
  • We pre-aggregate the information into sure ranges primarily based on the enterprise necessities and cargo the information into one other storage. We often don’t maintain the entire historic knowledge on this storage; as an alternative, we solely maintain the information required to be analysed or reported.
  • We create experiences and dashboards to show the information into helpful info

With the above processes in thoughts, a BI resolution consists of the next elements:

  • Information Sources
  • Staging
  • Information Warehouse/Information Mart(s)
  • Extract, Remodel and Load (ETL)
  • Semantic Layer
  • Information Visualisation

Information Sources

One of many primary objectives of working a BI venture is to allow organisations to make data-driven selections. An organisation may need a number of departments utilizing numerous instruments to gather the related knowledge day-after-day, akin to gross sales, stock, advertising and marketing, finance, well being and security and so on.

The info generated by the enterprise instruments are saved someplace utilizing completely different applied sciences. A gross sales system may retailer the information in an Oracle database, whereas the finance system shops the information in a SQL Server database within the cloud. The finance staff additionally generate some knowledge saved in Excel recordsdata.

The info generated by completely different techniques are the supply for a BI resolution.


We often have a number of knowledge sources contributing to the information evaluation in real-world situations. To have the ability to analyse all the information sources, we require a mechanism to load the information right into a central repository. The primary cause for that’s the enterprise instruments required to continuously retailer knowledge within the underlying storage. Due to this fact, frequent connections to the supply techniques can put our manufacturing techniques liable to being unresponsive or performing poorly. The central repository the place we retailer the information from numerous knowledge sources is named Staging. We often retailer the information within the staging with no or minor adjustments in comparison with the information within the knowledge sources. Due to this fact, the standard of the information saved within the staging is often low and requires cleaning within the subsequent phases of the information journey. In lots of BI options, we use Staging as a brief atmosphere, so we delete the Staging knowledge frequently after it’s efficiently transferred to the subsequent stage, the information warehouse or knowledge marts.

If we need to point out the information high quality with colors, it’s honest to say the information high quality in staging is Bronze.

Information Warehouse/Information Mart(s)

As talked about earlier than, the information within the staging will not be in its greatest form and format. A number of knowledge sources disparately generate the information. So, analysing the information and creating experiences on prime of the information in staging can be difficult, time-consuming and costly. So we require to search out out the hyperlinks between the information sources, cleanse, reshape and rework the information and make it extra optimised for knowledge evaluation and reporting actions. We retailer the present and historic knowledge in a knowledge warehouse. So it’s fairly regular to have tons of of tens of millions and even billions of rows of information over an extended interval. Relying on the general structure, the information warehouse may include encapsulated business-specific knowledge in a knowledge mart or a group of information marts. In knowledge warehousing, we use completely different modelling approaches akin to Star Schema. As talked about earlier, one of many main functions of getting an information warehouse is to maintain the historical past of the information. It is a large profit of getting an information warehouse, however this energy comes with a value. As the quantity of the information within the knowledge warehouse grows, it makes it dearer to analyse the information. The info high quality within the knowledge warehouse or knowledge marts is Silver.

Extract, Transfrom and Load (ETL)

Within the earlier sections, we talked about that we combine the information from the information sources within the staging space, then we cleanse, reshape and rework the information and cargo it into an information warehouse. To take action, we comply with a course of referred to as Extract, Remodel and Load or, briefly, ETL. As you possibly can think about, the ETL processes are often fairly advanced and costly, however they’re an important a part of each BI resolution.

Semantic Layer

As we now know, one of many strengths of getting an information warehouse is to maintain the historical past of the information. However over time, protecting large quantities of historical past could make knowledge evaluation dearer. As an example, we can have an issue if we need to get the sum of gross sales over 500 million rows of information. So, we pre-aggregate the information into sure ranges primarily based on the enterprise necessities right into a Semantic layer to have an much more optimised and performant atmosphere for knowledge evaluation and reporting functions. Information aggregation dramatically reduces the information quantity and improves the efficiency of the analytical resolution.

Let’s proceed with a easy instance to raised perceive how aggregating the information may also help with the information quantity and knowledge processing efficiency. Think about a situation the place we saved 20 years of information of a sequence retail retailer with 200 shops throughout the nation, that are open 24 hours and seven days every week. We saved the information on the hour stage within the knowledge warehouse. Every retailer often serves 500 clients per hour a day. Every buyer often buys 5 gadgets on common. So, listed here are some easy calculations to know the quantity of information we’re coping with:

  • Common hourly data of information per retailer: 5 (gadgets) x 500 (served cusomters per hour) = 2,500
  • Day by day data per retailer: 2,500 x 24 (hours a day) = 60,000
  • Yearly data per retailer: 60,000 x 365 (days a yr) = 21,900,000
  • Yearly data for all shops: 21,900,000 x 200 = 4,380,000,000
  • Twenty years of information: 4,380,000,000 x 20 = 87,600,000,000

A easy summation over greater than 80 billion rows of information would take lengthy to be calculated. Now, think about that the enterprise requires to analyse the information on day stage. So within the semantic layer we combination 80 billion rows into the day stage. In different phrases, 87,600,000,000 ÷ 24 = 3,650,000,000 which is a a lot smaller variety of rows to take care of.

The opposite profit of getting a semantic layer is that we often don’t require to load the entire historical past of the information from the information warehouse into our semantic layer. Whereas we’d maintain 20 years of information within the knowledge warehouse, the enterprise won’t require to analyse 20 years of information. Due to this fact, we solely load the information for a interval required by the enterprise into the semantic layer, which reinforces the general efficiency of the analytical system.

Let’s proceed with our earlier instance. Let’s say the enterprise requires analysing the previous 5 years of information. Here’s a simplistic calculation of the variety of rows after aggregating the information for the previous 5 years on the day stage: 3,650,000,000 ÷ 4 = 912,500,000.

The info high quality of the semantic layer is Gold.

Information Visualisation

Information visualisation refers to representing the information from the semantic layer with graphical diagrams and charts utilizing numerous reporting or knowledge visualisation instruments. We could create analytical and interactive experiences, dashboards, or low-level operational experiences. However the experiences run on prime of the semantic layer, which supplies us high-quality knowledge with distinctive efficiency.

How Totally different BI Parts Relate

The next diagram reveals how completely different Enterprise Intelligence elements are associated to one another:

Business Intelligence (BI) Components
Enterprise Intelligence (BI) Parts

Within the above diagram:

  • The blue arrows present the extra conventional processes and steps of a BI resolution
  • The dotted line gray(ish) arrows present extra fashionable approaches the place we don’t require to create any knowledge warehouses or knowledge marts. As an alternative, we load the information instantly right into a Semantic layer, then visualise the information.
  • Relying on the enterprise, we’d must undergo the orange arrow with the dotted line when creating experiences on prime of the information warehouse. Certainly, this method is respectable and nonetheless utilized by many organisations.
  • Whereas visualising the information on prime of the Staging atmosphere (the dotted crimson arrow) will not be ideally suited; certainly, it’s not unusual that we require to create some operational experiences on prime of the information in staging. A superb instance is creating ad-hoc experiences on prime of the present knowledge loaded into the staging atmosphere.

How Enterprise Intelligence Parts Relate to Energy BI

To know how the BI elements relate to Energy BI, we now have to have a great understanding of Energy BI itself. I already defined what Energy BI is in a earlier publish, so I counsel you test it out if you’re new to Energy BI. As a BI platform, we anticipate Energy BI to cowl all or most BI elements proven within the earlier diagram, which it does certainly. This part seems on the completely different elements of Energy BI and the way they map to the generic BI elements.

Energy BI as a BI platform accommodates the next elements:

  • Energy Question
  • Information Mannequin
  • Information Visualisation

Now let’s see how the BI elements relate to Energy BI elements.

ETL: Energy Question

Energy Question is the ETL engine obtainable within the Energy BI platform. It’s obtainable in each desktop purposes and from the cloud. With Energy Question, we will connect with greater than 250 completely different knowledge sources, cleanse the information, rework the information and cargo the information. Relying on our structure, Energy Question can load the information into:

  • Energy BI knowledge mannequin when used inside Energy BI Desktop
  • The Energy BI Service inside storage, when utilized in Dataflows

With the mixing of Dataflows and Azure Information Lake Gen 2, we will now retailer the Dataflows’ knowledge right into a Information Lake Retailer Gen 2.

Staging: Dataflows

The Staging part is accessible solely when utilizing Dataflows with the Energy BI Service. The Dataflows use the Energy Question On-line engine. We will use the Dataflows to combine the information coming from completely different knowledge sources and cargo it into the interior Energy BI Service storage or an Azure Information Lake Gen 2. As talked about earlier than, the information within the Staging atmosphere might be used within the knowledge warehouse or knowledge marts within the BI options, which interprets to referencing the Dataflows from different Dataflows downstream. Understand that this functionality is a Premium function; subsequently, we will need to have one of many following Premium licenses:

Information Marts: Dataflows

As talked about earlier, the Dataflows use the Energy Question On-line engine, which suggests we will connect with the information sources, cleanse, rework the information, and cargo the outcomes into both the Energy BI Service storage or an Azure Information Kale Retailer Gen 2. So, we will create knowledge marts utilizing Dataflows. You might ask why knowledge marts and never knowledge warehouses. The elemental cause relies on the variations between knowledge marts and knowledge warehouses which is a broader matter to debate and is out of the scope of this blogpost. However briefly, the Dataflows don’t at the moment help some basic knowledge warehousing capabilities akin to Slowly Altering Dimensions (SCDs). The opposite level is that the information warehouses often deal with huge volumes of information, far more than the quantity of information dealt with by the information marts. Keep in mind, the information marts include enterprise particular knowledge and don’t essentially include quite a lot of historic knowledge. So, let’s face it; the Dataflows should not designed to deal with billions or hundred tens of millions of rows of information {that a} knowledge warehouse can deal with. So we at the moment settle for the truth that we will design knowledge marts within the Energy BI Service utilizing Dataflows with out spending tons of of hundreds of {dollars}.

Semantic Layer: Information Mannequin or Dataset

In Energy BI, relying on the situation we develop the answer, we load the information from the information sources into the information mannequin or a dataset.

Utilizing Energy BI Desktop (desktop utility)

It is strongly recommended that we use Energy BI Desktop to develop a Energy BI resolution. When utilizing Energy BI Desktop, we instantly use Energy Question to connect with the information sources and cleanse and rework the information. We then load the information into the information mannequin. We will additionally implement aggregations throughout the knowledge mannequin to enhance the efficiency.

Utilizing Energy BI Service (cloud)

Creating a report instantly in Energy BI Service is feasible, however it’s not the beneficial methodology. Once we create a report in Energy BI Service, we connect with the information supply and create a report. Energy BI Service doesn’t at the moment help knowledge modelling; subsequently, we can not create measures or relationships and so on… Once we save the report, all the information and the connection to the information supply are saved in a dataset, which is the semantic layer. Whereas knowledge modelling will not be at the moment obtainable within the Energy BI Service, the information within the dataset wouldn’t be in its cleanest state. That is a superb cause to keep away from utilizing this methodology to create experiences. However it’s doable, and the choice is yours in spite of everything.

Information Visualisation: Studies

Now that we now have the ready knowledge, we visualise the information utilizing both the default visuals or some customized visuals throughout the Energy BI Desktop (or within the service). The subsequent step after ending the event is publishing the report back to the Energy BI Service.

Information Mannequin vs. Dataset

At this level, it’s possible you’ll ask in regards to the variations between an information mannequin and a dataset. The quick reply is that the information mannequin is the modelling layer present within the Energy BI Desktop, whereas the dataset is an object within the Energy BI Service. Allow us to proceed the dialog with a easy situation to know the variations higher. I develop a Energy BI report on Energy BI Desktop, after which I publish the report into Energy BI Service. Throughout my improvement, the next steps occur:

  • From the second I connect with the information sources, I’m utilizing Energy Question. I cleanse and rework the information within the Energy Question Editor window. To this point, I’m within the knowledge preparation layer. In different phrases, I solely ready the information, however no knowledge is being loaded but.
  • I shut the Energy Question Editor window and apply the adjustments. That is the place the information begins being loaded into the information mannequin. Then I create the relationships and create some measures and so on. So, the information mannequin layer accommodates the information and the mannequin itself.
  • I create some experiences within the Energy BI Desktop
  • I publish the report back to the Energy BI Service

Right here is the purpose that magic occurs. Throughout publishing the report back to the Energy BI Service, the next adjustments apply to my report file:

  • Energy BI Service encapsulates the information preparation (Energy Question), and the information mannequin layers right into a single object referred to as a dataset. The dataset can be utilized in different experiences as a shared dataset or different datasets with composite mannequin structure.
  • The report is saved as a separated object within the dataset. We will pin the experiences or their visuals to the dashboards later.

There it’s. You could have it. I hope this weblog publish helps you higher perceive some basic ideas of Enterprise Intelligence, its elements and the way they relate to Energy BI. I’d like to have your suggestions or reply your questions within the feedback part under.

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