Report - Investigate and discuss the evolution of Business Intelligence solutions since 1990 (3,000 word report)

Introduction

This report will evaluate the continuous development of business intelligence (BI) solutions since 1990. It will cover how BI has evolved briefly in the past and then moving into depth to the present day and discuss the current issues surrounding BI solutions. This report will also look into evolution of data warehousing and discuss briefly how the terms "data mart", "data mining" and "data webhouse" were born. (Appendix 2 defines these terms). Then, the lessons learnt from current BI trends and issues will be discussed. Finally, this report outlooks the BI trends and ends with a short summary.

BI was originally known as decision support system and the term BI was introduced around the early 1980s. Despite decades since its emergence, BI still carries the same main objective: to facilitate better decision making for users. Normally, BI solutions are used by decision support employees and knowledge workers.

As businesses continue to grow, the amount of data being processed increases. Ortiz (2002) claims that the "…primary driving force for BI improvements has been the growing torrent of business data, which is increasingly difficult to analyze quickly and thoroughly". The need for a compatible BI system to manage the massive amount of data has become so obvious that BI solutions have evolved dramatically since 1990.

As such, leading BI vendors, such as Microsoft, Oracle and Cognos, have come up with various types of BI products. Today's BI solutions could be constituted with balanced scorecard, on-line analytical processing (OLAP), data warehousing, data mart, data mining, enterprise resource planning (ERP), enterprise information system (EIS), information visualization, and so on.

Ortiz S (July 2002), "Is business intelligence a smart move?", available at: http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/xpl/freeabs_all.jsp?tp=&arnumber=1016894&isnumber=21883, Issue 7, Volume 35, IEEE Xplore [Date accessed: 17th March 2006]

General

This is a well structured introduction section which outlines the scope of the report in the first paragraph, and in the next three paragraphs develops the overview of BI in an orderly manner.

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Quality: Structure

The writer uses appropriate headings here and throughout the report which is helpful to the reader and shows that information is being presented in an organised manner.

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In this paragraph the writer signposts exactly which aspects of the topic of investigation will be covered in this report and the order in which these will be addressed.

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The term "business intelligence" is written out in full before the acronym "BI" is introduced, to be used throughout the rest of the report.

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Referring to additional information in this way enables a reader who may already be familiar with the subject to continue reading the report without interruption.

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Function: Describe

This sentence gives a clear factual statement covering the emergence of the term BI and giving context to the analysis that follows.

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This sentence concludes the introduction section by focussing on the current status of BI solutions, and also points the reader forwards to more detailed discussion of these in the following paragraphs.

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Quality: Voice

The use of the term "despite" creates tension between the two phrases in this sentence (we might expect usage of the term to have changed in several decades of use" but it has not). This is one way of giving more interest to what would otherwise be a set of factual statements.

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Function: Analyse

This paragraph presents a sharp analysis and understanding of why the evolution in the 1990s took place. The referenced author could do something more positive than "claim" however (an over-used word in student writing). "Confirms", "asserts", "presents evidence that" would all demonstrate greater confidence that the reference does support the argument being made.

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Quality: Authority

By providing specific examples, the writer demonstrates current knowledge.

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This is an effective use of reference which shows that the author gives appropriate significance to the information. Since this source was obtained electronically from the web, a page reference is not required.

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