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A Brief Guide to Microsoft Business Intelligence Ecosystem

A Brief Guide to Microsoft Business Intelligence Ecosystem

The building block of every IT system is ‘data’. Optimal and secured storage of data has always been the key concern for any organisation. The volume of data is growing every minute and it is a difficult task to manage it. This immeasurable digital data is named as big data.

The Internet, by reaching out to each and every computing platform has led to an outburst of information, thereby making big data too big to be handled. A scenario where the data grows beyond the reach of the present management techniques, will lead to total chaos.

Some of the challenges faced with big data are:

  • Managing data appropriately is a challenge for any organisation. The optimal use of data in an organised way is a priority task.
  • Accessibility and connectivity of huge data are a hurdle. Data points are not integrated and there is no precise platform to manage data between various projects.
  • The ever-growing data volume demands a larger technological landscape.
  • Security of big data is another important aspect that is of concern to companies.

The following chart explains the growth of big data in the recent years:

Big Data Stats

Fig 1. Graphical Representation of Rise of Big data

Business Intelligence – A Resourceful Solution for big data:

Business Intelligence (BI) provides a solution to big data in the form of data analysis process. BI includes a variety of tools, applications and methodologies that streamline management of huge data.

This system incorporates technologies that provide a correct decision making platform for the organisations.

Some of the important advantages of Business Intelligence solutions are:

  1. BI simplifies the process of data management, by collecting data from various sources and organising it, to create reports and for other data analysis requirements.
  2. BI accelerates the decision making process, thus enabling us to increase the productivity of internal business processes, enhancing efficiency and directing the flow of revenue.
  3. The simplicity of operation allows BI tools to be accessed by anyone from an IT professional to a business executive.
  4. BI provides data visualisation in the form of charts and other graphical methods.
  5. It simplifies advance data analysis functions like data mining, text mining, statistical analysis and predictive analysis.

Microsoft, the Leader in BI Solutions

A Business Intelligence Solution can be leveraged to its fullest, when it is able to collect data from all possible data points.

To be more specific, the solution should be able to provide all users with the required data, anytime. Microsoft has achieved this apical level by utilising the functionalities of various in-house tools.

Exhibiting exceptional competence, Microsoft has emerged as a leading name in the Business Intelligence Solutions segment.

The various formats of Business Intelligence Solutions from Microsoft are more than capable of meeting the growing expectations of the users.

The aspects that make Microsoft the leader are explained below:

Microsoft BI Development

There are various BI technologies provided by the Microsoft BI Development team. The customer can use them independently or utilise a suite of applications. This completely depends on the customer’s requirement.

A good example is Power BI for Office 365. Microsoft allows customers to build a BI system on applications like SQL Server, Sharepoint and Excel.

The complete assembly is called Power BI for Office 365. The result of grouping powerful tools has brought about a revolutionary change in managing Big data.

The various Microsoft BI technologies are:

  • MS SQL Server
  • Power BI for office
  • MS Power View
  • MS SSRS (SQL Server Reporting Services)
  • MS SQL Server Analysis Services
  • MS Excel and Excel Services
  • MS SharePoint
  • MS Power BI
  • MS Power Query
  • MS SQL Server Data Tools
  • MS SQL Server Integration Services
  • MS SQL Server PowerPivot for Excel
  • MS PerformancePoint Services

Microsoft BI Stack

Microsoft BI Development has designed various BI tools and applications which the consumer can select from. The requirements of the customer are matched with a specific software tool.

Based on the requirements, Microsoft Business Intelligence can be classified into three categories vis. personal, team and organisational. All these types are interdependent and any change in one aspect can affect the other two.

As an example, an application like Performance Point server uses MS Excel, Office Sharepoint server and Excel services to complement its BI requirement. Every corporate BI system thus has dependable personal and team BI systems.

Personal BI:

It is basically related to fetching of data for individual use. Personal BI is independent and is not always connected to databases. The most commonly used personal BI is MS Excel.

Team BI:

Team BI is for a group of individuals working as a team. The system focuses on improving coordination and transfer of data amongst the team members. This helps in acceleration of the decision making process. The most well-known Team BI tool is Office SharePoint Server and Excel Services.

Corporate BI:

Corporate BI constitutes the Business Intelligence requirements at the organisational level.

It is a collection of tools to support coordination and promote goal congruence. It provides streamlined synchronisation of data and showcases individual efforts in the form of scorecards and strategy maps. The most commonly used Corporate BI is PerformancePoint Server 2007.

The graphical representation of the various levels of Microsoft BI solutions include:

 MS BI Stack

Fig 2. Graphical Representation of Various BI Frameworks

BI Containers:

The Business Intelligence Solution has two types of containers vis. the On-premises containers and Cloud containers.

On-premises containers are BI solutions that are implemented in a local setup. Examples of On-premises containers include MS office tools, Share point applications and SQL server.

The Cloud containers deal with the Internet and portable applications. Examples of Cloud containers are Excel Service Power BI and Asure IAAS solutions.

The Microsoft BI Ecosystem

The Microsoft BI Ecosystem is the environment created using various BI tools. The ecosystem supports the ever-changing needs of users

The various important aspects of Microsoft BI Ecosystem include:

Self Service:

This the most widely used feature of the Microsoft BI Ecosystem. The strength lies in its ability to reach every user.

A complete self-service BI solution is delivered through Excel and Office 365. This tool facilitates fast data search, analysis and visualisation. It helps the user in getting valuable insights from the data.

The Power BI for Office 365 allows an even more advanced level of data management. It allows easy sharing, access and integration of data using the cloud technology.

Dashboard and Reports:

Reports are one of the most important features of data analysis. The BI tool, SharePoint server provides a convenient platform for report generation and dashboard management.

Filtering of search attributes, interactive analysis and visualisation are the key features of these Microsoft BI solutions.

Analytical Solutions:

Analysis of data from various perspectives is another key feature of any important decision process. The Microsoft BI solution i.e. the SQL Server Analysis Services platform supports multi-dimensional analysis of data.

This feature can be used for visualisation, reporting and data analysis. It supports solution prototyping at the enterprise level.

Predictive Analytics:

Microsoft BI Ecosystem allows gathering of data from various sources including historical data. The data analysis is even more precise when a detailed gathering of data i.e. data mining is done.

This helps in projecting a concept more assertively. Some examples of predictive analysis can be the Data Mining Add-ins in Excel or SQL Server Development tools.

Bigger the Data, Sturdy is the Microsoft Solution

The various challenges that IT organisations faced earlier, while dealing with huge data, has found an optimal solution in form of Microsoft Business Intelligence Solutions.

The vast array of BI tools allow the users to customise the solutions as per their requirements. The previously forecasted scenario of unmanageable data at the local and cloud level can be precisely managed by Microsoft BI solution.

Being the pioneers in providing various IT solutions, Microsoft has also stood strong to lead its way towards Business Intelligence Solutions.

So when do you plan to embrace BI? Do you have any points to share? Please feel free to share your opinions below and thanks for reading!

6 ways SharePoint makes your business more dynamic

6 ways SharePoint makes your business more dynamic

SharePoint

Released by Microsoft Corporation in 2001, SharePoint was earlier viewed only as a browser-based collaboration and document management platform. But over the years, SharePoint has seen much advancement which has further broadened the scope of this technology. There is so much that an organisation can do with SharePoint. Microsoft itself describes SharePoint as a number of things such as collaboration software, enterprise business process management portal, content management system, business intelligence dashboard etc. With so many capabilities contained in itself, SharePoint has completely changed the way organisations function these days. The platform has gone so popular that over three quarters of Fortune 500 companies now use SharePoint. This blog will talk about the different things for which organisations use SharePoint.

  • With SharePoint you can create an intranet portal for an entire corporate network. This portal can be used to centralise access to enterprise information and applications. All the important news and announcements can be shared on the intranet portal. Even tasks can be assigned to the employees and access to a variety of information can also be given. The intranet dashboard can be customised by department and role and also different levels of access can be granted.
  • Document sharing is one of the most important features of SharePoint. This feature is also the reason behind the initial popularity of the technology. With SharePoint, organisations have a shared space to store documents that can be accessed by anyone (or by those to whom the access is given by the administrator) in the company. This means that the documents can even be shared with employees working in different offices. That too without having to exchange emails for every change made to the document.
  • It is not just the employees to which a business needs to share and communicate with. There are many parties, even other businesses, who partner with your business. With SharePoint, you can provide them with an access to all the information they may require from your company and vice versa.
  • For big projects, on which a large number of people work from different locations, SharePoint makes interaction very easy amongst a large number of people, transcending geographical barriers as well. Workers provided with an access to SharePoint intranet portal can sign in from any system or even mobile from anywhere to have a constant access to the information of the project they are working on.
  • SharePoint also enhances business intelligence.  There is a lot of data and information being shared and stored on a SharePoint platform. This data and information can be used by the organisation in numerous ways to make better decisions. What’s amazing about this platform is that SharePoint is capable of displaying trends over time and relationships between different inputs in the form easy-to-understand of charts and graphs. This ready-to-use information can be used to formulate new course of action for further business growth.
  • Lastly, SharePoint can also be used to build and manage publicly facing websites as well. It provides all the functionalities of content management system for a website including updating information, adding a new page, using both text and graphics etc.