Elements Used in a Data Warehouse

Many Business Intelligence solutions are based on the use of a data warehouse. Here is a view of the components of a data warehouse both logically and physically.  Data Warehouse Elements

The data warehouse consists of several different elements:

  • The source can come from legacy systems that are usually an operational system used by the corporation or external data sources,
  • The data staging area is where data is processed (normalized and some history is stored) and moved to the presentation server.
  • The presentation server takes the data, organizes it and stores is for future quires and reports
  • The last step is the end user data access point, currently one of the most popular forms to access data is through a web page and mobile applications.

You can download the visio drawing I created here –>data-warehouse-elements.vsd

Qualitative risk assessment of RFID

Below is a short qualitative risk assessment of RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) I have pieced together.  In order to highlight strengths, weaknesses and benefits.

May it help you come to a conclusion on how would you deploy this technology while minimizing its risks?

Category Risk Impact Probability Affects
Customer QoS for customers declines because decrease in staff Medium Low Customers, Company rep.
Customer Customers may be dissatisfied with change Medium Medium Company rep, customers
Fraud Scale to RFID Fraud Low High inventory
Fraud Hackers making there own RFID tags High Low Revenue, company rep, emp trust
Inventory Management Mis-tagged or no RFID tag High Medium Inventory, revenue
Employees Adaptability Very High High Employee trust
Employees Lose or trust Medium Medium Employee loyalty
Employees strike Low Low Company rep, employee loyalty, revenue
Employees Productivity to meet new expectations Medium Low Inventory, company rep, customer loyalty
Pricing Lack or pricing from no supervision of ID creator Low Medium Revenue, company rep.
Pricing Inconsistencies Medium Medium revenue
Pricing Scanners not scanning all items Low Low Inventory, revenue
Inventory Management Mis-counts or stock and poor inventory control Medium Low Inventory control
Technical Issues RFID not functioning Very High Medium Data, company rep, employee trust, customer trust.
Technical Issues RFID limitations Medium Low data
Technical Issues Lack of knowledge for RFID or when system goes down High Medium Customer loyalty, company rep.
Technical Issues Designing Standards and processes Medium Medium Employee trust
Inventory Management RFID supplies not delivered on time Low High Inventory, customers, inventory
Inventory Management Lack of knowledge for RFID inventory processing Medium Low Employee, company rep.



  • Become a leader through technology
  • Improve process flow
  • Customer satisfaction by adding value to customer services


  • Lack of technical support knowledge
  • RFID tagging on devices and produce
  • Major inventory fluctuations
  • Internal fraud
  • Damage to reputation of RFID is not effective


  • Better real time data and additional data to make assumptions by
  • Possible opening to new market segments

Cost would be on schedule and worth the cost if all negative risks had a contingency plan. Costs can be fixed in the system and validated during pilot program to ensure cost consistency.



Amber Russell, Curt Ireton, Damon Mulligan, Jan Bondoc, Tyler Rudolph. (November 2009). Risk Management Plan. RFID Implementation for Fresh Foods. Retrieved from http:// www.curtireton.com/Assets/Fresh_Foods_Risk.pdf



3 Reasons for BI

So you have been working with business intelligent tools for a while but when confronted by the COO on why you think they would be a good fit for your company you cannot figure out how to explain it to him/her.Here I have posted and describe three arguments you may use to persuade a business of the general value that Business Intelligence offers to most companies.

 1. Make faster decisions

BPMS LifecycleBI helps make better quality informative decisions at a faster rate than was done in the past.  It is not just for the IT staff, it is used by managers, executives, and consumers. One of the finalized reports in BI is the dashboard that allows for instantaneous perception of enterprise, departments and individuals performance, by bringing key metrics in a nice-looking and instinctive graphic interface. The best portion of a well advanced dashboard is the capability to drill down to underlying reports and apprehend what factors are contributing to good and bad performance. Another basic feature about dashboards is they permit you to effortlessly and constantly observe for exceptions, and alerts operators when to take action.

2. Report on the Now not the past

market BIWhile most reports can show you what has happened in the past, BI analytics can alert you to what is happening now and send out an alert. BI can also extrapolate possible future outcomes as well and all from a central location so that there is no relying on several different user reports from spreadsheets. The consistency of views is offered between all users because if the automatic data inputs. Because most of BI is automated, the accuracy of the data is also easier to trust. It is imperative for a corporation’s success to have detailed analysis of a corporation’s customers, business environment, stakeholders, business processes, competitors and several other sources of potential valuable information.

2. Future Insight

Bi dashboard exampleBI can offer future insight with predictive tools  so besides just viewing past and present information, you can also get a feel for what may happen in the future. Forecasting possible outcomes also gives  users the ability to be proactive.  Data mining allows analytics to be run on information that may have hidden patterns. Through simulations and collecting seemingly unrelated data, information can be revealed on what be approaching.


With BI you can increase employee productivity,  by empowering  employees with up-to-date reports that will help business decision making capabilities. Your business processes can be easily manage corporate wide from one spot. Relationships with business customers increase as well as the ability to increase market share, the companies IT department can reduce resources which reduces costs and helps deliver a more flexible department for developing and deployment of future cycles. The best way, in my own opinion, would be to provide several case examples from several different organizational implementations, from large scale to small, depending on what business you are trying to convince. If you are dealing with someone more tech savvy, then instead of just using dollars and cents, you could move on to actual business models that can help realize a business strategy.

Geographic Systems in Business

Geographic Information System (GIS) started out as just a proprietary system that used its own standards into a position of using technology standards and technology-based standards to be accepted by the IT community as another form of information technology that could help manage business. It has become one of the newer emerging Business Intelligence (BI) areas that, “has now become a full IT system for integrating all sorts of scientific and geographic information into all human activities” (Mitchell, 2009, p. 2).

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GIS layered

Geographical Information Systems

A GIS implements computers to capture data on all forms of geographical referenced information and manages the data for analyses. Visual data produced by GIS systems can be used to show relationships, patterns and trends by reports that can either be shown on a map or in standard reports, graphs and charts. Several available programs can be obtained for free from sites, like opensourcegis.org, to incorporate into businesses Enterprise Resource Planner (ERP) to help develop a company’s business strategy/plan in banking, insurance, logistics, media, real estate, and retail. Corporations are not the only organizations that can/have benefit from a GIS. Government, educational and science, environment and conservation, natural resources and utility organizations can also benefit from implementing geographic information systems to learn best practice by collecting data dealing with Geo-location problem solving. “GIS is a powerful analytical tool. Its benefits to underwriting management are many, in helping to better underwrite risk and control hazardous and catastrophic exposures” (Picture, 2005, p. 10).
Benefits of GIS in BI has evolved to the point were we do not need to know who did what when and why but also solved the 5th piece of the puzzle, where it happened, also known as spatial technology. Gis.com describes several different uses that can be implemented using GIS. The basics of how GIS can be used is to map features on a map and to find patterns on how those features change to make better decisions in market research, by using quantities as a reference with location businesses in sales can easily be informed were there target market is located and which locations on a map have the highest densities for a chosen market segmentation. An additional feature is the ability to shift the location information by time and distinguish patterns in time. A good example would be how meteorologist use GIS to track global trends in weather in order to better predict weather in the future. The realization of how well GIS can help in business is apparent when global organizations like the World Bank make it a priority to “help countries develop national statistical capacity and help mobilize the expertise of the international statistical system” (World, 2011, para 2).
Data collection used for plotting points on a map use to mainly involve businesses questionnaires and government censuses were the primary way to collect data could be inaccurate because of the many steps it takes before the data is digitized and you still had to account for human error. The quality of data was not as accurate as current resources being applied today through smart phones, and other forms of computers that are connected to the Internet and constantly report location through the use of Internet Protocol (IP) addresses. Addition the use of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) chips, satellites, scalable maps, aerial-photography and Global Positioning Systems (GPS), Geo-tagged pictures, and just about anything that moves have also been tied in with GIS to allowed for tracking of data that can be placed on a map with more accuracy through automation. Time accuracy of data is another quality issue that needs to be addressed. The world is always changing, you usually wouldn’t use last month’s weather report to go on a motorcycle ride, or you friends address from 20 years ago to send a post card. It is important to make sure that the data being used is up to date before making critical businesses decisions on it also.
Challenges and risks of deploying any BI environment process or tool are the same as it has been to deploy any form of decision making platform in the past several decades. Wither implementation is constrained by technical ability, human and financial resources or just the lack of coordination throughout an organization. There are traditional legalities being added to cover privacy rights as more and more Geo-data about consumers is being disseminated throughout the world. Privacy rights are being circumvented by added small disclosure rights to most software that has to be accepted before you can use a service providers services. One way an organization can save resources is to implement low cost external data that is readily available by companies like Google maps but it is a patchy solution and potentially could not be available in the future.
As a BI consultant I would recommend the use of geographic information for any larger company, in any industry, the larger the company the greater the needed to track spacial information in order to reduce risk in decision making. The technology in GIS has developed to the point were anyone can access the Internet and get a general view of spacial data for underwriting, man-made, environmental, infrastructure, facilities and especially in businesses were the sales by location can provide better information on policyholder, and can target potential clients.

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words! (2005, December). Canadian Underwriter: Insurance Technology Guide 2006,10. Retrieved April 17, 2011, from ABI/INFORM Global. (Document ID: 974623161).
Mitchell, R.. (2009, July). Jack Dangermond. Computerworld, 43(24), 13-14. Retrieved April 17, 2011, from ABI/INFORM Global. (Document ID: 1821176221).
World Bank Aids Tanzania to Improve Quality of Statistical Data and Information. (2011, March 26). The Pak Banker. Retrieved April 17, 2011, from ABI/INFORM Global. (Document ID: 2302228461).