Although the main objective of the companies is the optimal functioning of these, currently, Business Intelligence (BI), has been developed significantly in order to enhance this as a primary objective. Thus, Business Intelligence works as a vehicle that allows infinity of advantages to the top managers of companies, whose wheels are the reference data.
In 1958, the German computer scientist Hans Peter Luhn uses for the first time the concept of “Business Intelligence” in one of his articles. However, it is in 1989, when Howard Dresner, a researcher at Gartner Group, finally coined the term “Business Intelligence”. Business Intelligence can be defined as a set of tools and methods used, whose purpose is the transmission and accessibility of information to senior managers of companies, through the analysis of data. That is to say, the BI, makes it easier to make strategic decisions to senior managers of companies, showing the development of these, as well as analyzing the data more easily. With which, the “Business Intelligence” allows an analytical and precise vision of the evolution and situation of the company, by means of graphs, tables and curves.
To understand how Business Intelligence works, it is necessary to understand the concept of “reference data”, also known as “master data”. The reference data are critical data shared by several applications at the same time and that categorize other data used in the different applications and databases. One of the main characteristics of the reference data is that they do not change to penalties in time, even though they are updated. In addition, as the name indicates, the reference data contain the “references” of the information systems. These data are stored in a centralized computer server, called Datawarehouse or Datamart and distributed to different users according to their specific needs of each company.
Therefore, the reference data can be classified into different categories. Among the most used, are the reference data of “hierarchy”. This type of data is used especially in accounting and finance. They work by organizing the data of a single entity in hierarchies according to the preferences that the user decides. The main characteristic of the hierarchically organized reference data is that they provide a clear, objective and symbolic view of the company’s situation, and therefore facilitate decision-making. Two examples of this type of data are the “tree hierarchy” and the “hierarchy in levels”.
In addition, diverse are the solutions proposed by the Business Intelligence. Among the most recognized, are “Sagent Solution Plattform” and “Microstategy”, which provide the most relevant information for companies; “Busines objects”, useful in data analysis and business reporting; “Cognos”, very complete software that allows access to management options and offers services for companies to understand and improve their performance and “Oracle”, which allows to generate bases of infinity of lines with very fast response times.
Business Intelligence and reference data allow the top managers to analyze their companies and know their evolution, in order to make the right decisions and increase their objectives in order to reach the best level of optimal development. These highly developed concepts since 1958, are mainly used in the field of computer companies, as well as in sales, accounting, logistics, finance, and marketing.
In addition, Business Intelligence and reference data propose sales analysis, market forecasts, detection of important customers, analysis of expenses and waste as well as product analysis.