Up to now we've talked about business intelligence as an abstract notion; it's the tools, technologies, and practices that produce critical business insights. But how exactly does a BI system accomplish such an ambitious mission?
Where does the intelligence come from? How does it happen?
You might have visions of a bunch of IT geeks huddled around a humming supercomputer, waiting for it to spit out the answer to all of life's great questions that they can then rush straight to the CEO. Or perhaps you're picturing a golden dot-matrix printer sitting on a raised dais in the boardroom that occasionally belches out pronouncements like "Betamax will beat out VHS" to the wonderment of the leadership council.
If only it were that simple.
In this chapter we talk about querying and reporting, where the rubber really hits the road on the sports car called business intelligence. Querying and reporting represents the face of a BI implementation, where all the work that goes into the back end—from the gathering and transformation of company-wide data, to its creation and storage inside a data warehouse—emerges as critical knowledge, ready to be acted upon by the team.
Data warehousing and its connected functions are the exclusive domain of the pocket protector set, but querying and reporting represent pure IT democracy-in-action. These are the tools that allow individual contributors and knowledge workers to access the aggregated information ...