Data Latency and Business Intelligence Essay

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components of BI. Distinguish between traditional and operational BI.

BI, or Business Intelligence, is very important to companies. It takes raw data and turns it into useful information, so the business can take it and use it to find ways to make things better for customers and for themselves (Rausch, Sheta, & Ayesh, 2013). A company can recognize the need for BI by studying the data it has been collecting and how that data is used. It is very important that data is only collected if it is needed, and many companies collect a huge amount of data that they do nothing with. That wastes a great deal of time and money that could be better spent, and also fails to get the data that is needed properly analyzed (Rausch, Sheta, & Ayesh, 2013). There are a number of components to BI, including multidimensional aggregation, real time reporting, denormalization, interfacing with the source of unstructured data, and group consolidation (Rausch, Sheta, & Ayesh, 2013).

Additional components are statistical inference, the optimization of key performance indicators, process management, version control, and the management of open items (Rausch, Sheta, & Ayesh, 2013). Understanding the components of BI is a great way to provide historical and current views of the operations of a business, as well as to predict what might take place in the future (Rausch, Sheta, & Ayesh, 2013). There are two types of BI: traditional and operational. Traditional BI is based on handling data the way it has always been used for business operations, and operational BI is focused on addressing a particular operation and how the data for it is considered and processed (Rausch, Sheta, & Ayesh, 2013).

Rausch, P., Sheta, A., & Ayesh, A. (2013). Business intelligence and performance management: Theory, systems, and industrial applications. UL: Springer Verlag.

2. What is data latency? How does giving users the ability to create their own reports reduce data latency? What is the age of fresh data?

Data latency is the length of time it takes for the data to appear after a query has been initiated, and can also refer to how long it takes for a database to update after a change has been requested (Rud, 2009). With that in mind, companies have to carefully assess their data latency issues, because a serious lag time can become a problem for customers -- and a problem for customers can quickly become a problem for the company. One of the ways to help reduce data latency times is to give users the ability to create their own reports (Rud, 2009). That reduces latency because they are not waiting for others to update information for them, so they can create reports. Additionally, they are not relying on the reports of others, which may or may not have updated data. Both of those options are important to consider, as both can cause significant difficulties for people who are serious about data latency and the avoidance of it for both employees and customers.

Data should be given to those who need it as soon as possible (Rud, 2009). It is important to collect any and all data that your company can easily use to move the business forward, and it is also important to make sure the right people get that data. However, none of that will be useful if those people do not receive the data at the right time. Getting old, stale data does nothing for the company or business, and can even hurt a company by keeping its employees misinformed regarding what can and should be important to customers (Rud, 2009). When a company collects data and quickly sends it to the people who need it, it can remain fresh and be processed in a way that helps everyone involved.

Rud, O. (2009). Business intelligence success factors: Tools for aligning your business in the global economy. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley & Sons.

3. Define business performance management (BPM). What is the objective of BPM?

Business performance management (BPM) is often synonymous with enterprise performance management. It is considered to be a set of principles and processes that allow the management of a company to reach goals that have been pre-selected (Dresner, 2007). The objective of BPM is to reach those goals, but there are set ways in which this can and should be completed. The first part of BPM is to select a goal or a set of goals that are very important and that need to be met, because the company must be clear in the direction it is taking (Dresner, 2007). Then the information about the company that is relevant to the goals must be consolidated and carefully measured (Dresner, 2007). That will help the company to determine whether the goals are going to be met, and also whether the company is currently addressing issues that would move it toward those goals.

If measuring company information shows that goals are not being worked toward, it is clear that changes will have to be made, and that can take time and effort (Dresner, 2007). When managers realize that goals are not going to be properly met, they can make interventions that will allow them to change the course of the company so that the goals can be worked toward properly. Goal-setting is highly important for any company that wants to see success, but in order for the goals to actually work out properly, effort has to be made and the right direction has to be determined and understood (Dresner, 2007). In other words, a company cannot just set goals and then expect them to happen. It has to focus on making those goals a reality -- and course corrections are often required as a company looks for new and better ways to use BPM to reach its desired goals.

Dresner, H. (2007). The performance management revolution: Business results through insight and action. NY: Wiley.

4. What are the four main points of IT strategic plans?

The four main points of an IT strategic plan are a mission statement, a SWOT analysis, a list of prioritized actions, and road maps that stretch 12, 24, and 36 months into the future (Bradford & Duncan, 2000). When a company is interested in implementing a strategic plan for their IT department, they have to be clear about what they really want and need to do. This can be done through the use of a mission statement, which can provide them with the knowledge they need to choose the right direction for their IT plans (Bradford & Duncan, 2000). Without a mission statement, a company can be left floundering because it is uncertain how best to proceed with the issues that have to be handled by the IT department. Once a mission statement is created, a SWOT analysis is also necessary (Bradford & Duncan, 2000). This will help the company see what it can and should be working on, as well as the strengths it has and how it can use those strengths to foster new opportunities for growth in the IT department and, by extension, throughout the rest of the company.

After a SWOT analysis has been conducted, a company can see what it should be doing to move forward, and can prioritize its actions so it is able to keep its IT department operating smoothly (Bradford & Duncan, 2000). That is why a road map is needed, and why 12, 24, and 36 months are good time frames to consider when creating that map. The more a company can view its IT department in a way that helps determine what should be accomplished based on specific intervals, the more it will be better prepared to help the department reach milestones properly (Bradford & Duncan, 2000). Companies must also keep in mind that…[continue]

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