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Business Intelligence Jargon Buster

Business Intelligence Jargon Buster

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All the business user ever needs to know about business intelligence terms, definitions, and meanings.

Non-technical and easy to read. Key facts without information overload.


All the business user ever needs to know about business intelligence terms, definitions, and meanings.

Non-technical and easy to read. Key facts without information overload.


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Business Intelligence Jargon Buster

  1. 1. Business Intelligence Jargon Buster All the business user ever needs to know about terms, definitions, and meanings Presented by Donna Kelly © Redwing Business Intelligence Ltd 2011 - 2014 BI General Slide 1
  2. 2. Facts • Every business has business processes • Each business process generates events of interest • For example, you’re a retailer, and you sell clothes. Today, I bought a dress. That’s an event of interest to the business. • That thing that just happened? That’s a fact. © Redwing Business Intelligence Ltd 2011 - 2014 BI General Slide 2
  3. 3. Measures • Facts are associated with numbers. • The sale event was of a dress. • The gross price was £89 • The sales tax rate was 20% • The net price was £106.80 • The quantity was 1 • There are 4 things I can add up, or putting it another way, the Fact has 4 Measures © Redwing Business Intelligence Ltd 2011 - 2014 BI General Slide 3
  4. 4. Dimensions • Facts don’t just float in the ether. Facts have context within the business. • That dress I bought? It was at a specific store, on a specific date, for a specific product. • I could add up the Measures of the Sale Fact by Location, by Product, by Date. • Whenever you hear the word by you have just heard a Dimension • Dimensions fix Facts in space and time © Redwing Business Intelligence Ltd 2011 - 2014 BI General Slide 4
  5. 5. Cubes Cubes are the heart of business intelligence systems. Every dimension is an edge of the cube (and yes, there can be more than three . . . for example, the Redwing Hospital Data Warehouse currently has about 130 dimensions) This picture shows 3 dimensions, and the cube can be sliced by location, by product, and by date. Each little box in the picture is a Fact, and it holds all the Measures of that Fact (like gross price or tax). © Redwing Business Intelligence Ltd 2011 - 2014 BI General Slide 5
  6. 6. Slicing and Dicing I can cut the data. I can slice the cube, to add up measures for some dimensions. It’s also possible to dice the data into the smallest pieces, and look at single facts. © Redwing Business Intelligence Ltd 2011 - 2014 BI General Slide 6
  7. 7. The Enterprise Bus Matrix a.k.a. the Dimensional Model “The Enterprise Bus Matrix is a data warehouse planning and modelling tool and model created by Ralph Kimball” (Wikipedia) The top picture show the original concept. The idea is that the facts from business processes plug into pre-defined dimensions. (Like a bus in a personal computer). The lower picture shows how it works in practice. As each business process is added to the system, any new dimensions are created. This means that there’s no concept of a stand-alone data warehouse project. © Redwing Business Intelligence Ltd 2011 - 2014 BI General Slide 7
  8. 8. Metrics • A metric is a number that comes out of a cube and is reported to the business user • Measures are not necessarily metrics. For example, I could output the ratio of two measures as a metric, but never report on the original measures. • All aggregated numbers are necessarily metrics, because they’re created in the cube for the purpose of business reporting. © Redwing Business Intelligence Ltd 2011 - 2014 BI General Slide 8
  9. 9. Key Performance Indicators A Key Performance Indicator (KPI) is the comparison of an Actual to a Target. Often, the Actual is a metric from the cube and the Target is a hardcoded number or percentage. Sometimes, the target is itself taken from the cube as a measure that was input earlier. In any case, there is always a comparison method (such as increasing is better), and a trend Indicator (e.g. a traffic light). KPIs are always calculated in the cube, and never in reports. © Redwing Business Intelligence Ltd 2011 - 2014 BI General Slide 9
  10. 10. Scorecard 1. Create the KPIs (in the cube) 2. Create the visual Indicators for the report 3. Create the Scorecard which is a grouping of (typically) rolled-up KPIs A scorecard is a high-level snapshot of organizational performance. Scorecards display a collection of key performance indicators (KPIs) and the performance targets for those KPIs. When you create a scorecard, you typically create an upper-level group of objectives that represent the various performance goals for a group or an organization. Then, you can populate those objectives with other KPIs that represent the sub- objectives for each KPI. (Microsoft) © Redwing Business Intelligence Ltd 2011 - 2014 BI General Slide 10
  11. 11. Dashboard A dashboard is a container for various types of reports, including scorecards. It might consist of one or more pages, and it might have more than one module on each page. The modules are called Web Parts. A typical dashboard might contain a scorecard, an analytic report, alerts, and an analytic chart, but many variations are possible. Some dashboards provide users with a high level of interactivity, and others display static images. In all cases, dashboards reflect the requirements of their audience. © Redwing Business Intelligence Ltd 2011 - 2014 BI General Slide 11
  12. 12. Recap • Fact: An event of interest to the business. • Measure: A number we can add up. • Dimension: Context for Facts BY (dimension). • Cube. The one source of the truth. • Metric. Number from a cube used for reports. • KPI. Actual (metric) compared to a Target. • Scorecard. Displays a collection of KPIs. • Dashboard. A container for scorecards etc. © Redwing Business Intelligence Ltd 2011 - 2014 BI General Slide 12
  13. 13. Discussion © Redwing Business Intelligence 2013 Architecture Slide 13 Donna Kelly donna@redwing-bi.com 0(781) 380-0181

Editor's Notes

  • Introducing . . .

    Donna Kelly
    twenty years business intelligence experience . . .
    Provided best practices in Data Warehouse Architecture to NHS National Programme in Leeds (NHS Spine/Secondary Uses Services)
    Created greenfield technical architecture for Acute Trust (WWL)
    Programme Manager and Enterprise Architect (combined business architect and technical architect) for greenfield Commissioning Support Service in support of 30 London Primary Care Trusts; brought organisation from empty offices to fully operational business intelligence status.
    Business Intelligence Programme Manager at Queen Elizabeth Hospital NHS Trust in King’s Lynn; created programme framework including infrastructure, organisation design and staffing, security , and methodology, in a total greenfield setting. Acted as Enterprise Architect, and created Theatre Business Intelligence for the Trust
    Consultant to Greater Manchester West Mental Health Trust, instrumental in moving the Trust to a strategic business intelligence framework. Provided both business and architectural consulting services.
    Interim Head of Quality, Performance and Business Intelligence for Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group, managed relationship with York and Humber Commissioning Support Unit
    Interim Programme Manager for Cardiff University, performed review and reset of the programme, created new programme, provided architecture and methodology and brought home product delivery to the University. Role incorporated Enterprise Architect (combined business architect and technical architect).

    http://www.redwing-bi.com http://www.donnapkelly.com
    donna@redwing-bi.com 0(781) 380-0181
  • Yes, the net price is a calculated measure.

    But that’s a level of detail that’s not required yet.


    Note also that a lot of Facts don’t have any numbers. Kimball calls them Factless Facts, but I think that’s a stupid name. I call them Measureless Facts.

    In point of fact though (pun intended) these do have a measure. The fact is, they occurred. That gives them a measure of 1. They occurred one time. There’s a count of 1. Like opening a bank account, for example, or maybe a student attendance at a class. I can add up those 1s, and derive useful business intelligence from them.

    (It’s common practice to have a dummy measure with the value 1, just to make adding up the occurrences easier).
  • The technical term for a cube is a hypercube.

    A hypercube with three dimensions is a cube.

    A hypercube with four dimensions is a tesseract.

    A hypercube with more than four dimensions is . . . a hypercube.

    But that’s just too pedantic. We just say cube.



    Cubes hold all calculations, actuals, pre-stored aggregations, actions, key performance indicators, and so on. They are the one source of the truth.
  • The business person needs to know this at a very high level.

    The bus matrix (or dimensional model) is the primary planning tool.

    Each process has facts. Each fact is fixed in space and time, and is given meaning, BY its dimensions.

    For example, I bought a smart black dress in York, on March 15. Purchased by product, by date, by store. Three dimensions give meaning to the fact.

    As I add facts, I only add new dimensions. Pre-existing dimensions are already done and available for use.

    This means there’s ONE dimensional model, ONE data warehouse, and ONE source of the truth.


    Planning tool? Yes? If I intend to add a fact, I should also know the dimensions I intend to add. That gives me a scope for he cork, which is the first step in estimating the effort.

  • Not mixing terminology is really important.

    If one person says ‘measure’ and another says ‘metric’, and they mean the same thing . . . confusion.

    If those people both use the same term to refer to different things, then the outcome will not be good.



    So – please – don’t use metric and measure interchangeably.

  • Note the text on the top picture: Select KPIs to Import

    KPIs are imported into Dashboard Designer from the cube.

    That’s where they are stored and calculated, along with all other calculations.

    It’s all part and parcel of making the cube the single source of the truth
  • A scorecard is not a dashboard
  • Go to

    http://office.microsoft.com/en-gb/sharepoint-server-help/what-is-the-difference-between-a-dashboard-and-a-scorecard-HA101772797.aspx

    to learn more.




    Also . . . a dashboard is not a scorecard!

  • Fort more information,

    Please call Donna Kelly on 0(781) 380-0181

    Or send email to donna@redwing-bi.com

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