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Have you ever started a new job in an industry you have no experience in? Learning the industry jargon can be overwhelming. I can personally attest to this because prior to working in the

Business Intelligence (BI) and Corporate Performance Management (CPM) worlds, I was in the food, public relations, and entertainment industries, and did not have much experience in BI or CPM. If you have recently been exposed to BI tools, such as report writers, budgeting and planning solutions, dashboards, data warehouses (DWs) and you feel like a deer in headlights, there is no need to panic. In this article, we will discuss ten acronyms in the BI/CPM realm that will help you understand and enhance your experience with BI and CPM processes.

Here are the top 8 business intelligence acronyms that may be resourceful when dealing with BI & CPM solutions

1. Extraction, Transformation, and Loading (ETL)

ETL represents three database functions that are combined into one tool to extract data from one data source. The ETL process is the practice of extracting data from data sources and transferring it into the DW. ETL isn’t necessarily three defined steps, but rather a broad process.

2. Data Warehouse (DW)

Informatica defines a DW as an acronym for data warehouse meaning, “technology that aggregates structured data from one or more sources so that it can be compared and analyzed for greater business intelligence.” The term “Data Warehouse” was coined by William H. Inmon, an American computer scientist. This is an analyst’s dream because all the metrics about the organization’s activities are gathered in one place. You can find out more about the details of a successful data warehouse here.

3. Relational Database Management System (RDBMS)

A RDBMS is a program that enables users to administer, create and update a relational database. Commercial RDBMS typically use the Structured Query Language (SQL) to access the database. A relational database is described as “a set of tables containing data fitted into predefined categories” by TechTarget.

4. Online Analytical Processing (OLAP)

OLAP, also known as “OLAP cube,” performs multidimensional analysis of data and offers the ability for complex calculations, advanced data modeling, and trend analysis.

5. Key Performance Indicator (KPI)

A KPI is a lot like a GPS navigation system as it allows the driver to be in complete control when making decisions about where to steer next. KPIs are navigational tools that your company will utilize to understand whether the business is on a successful route or whether it’s veering off. According to Klipfolio, a KPI is “a measureable value that demonstrates how effectively a company is achieving key business objectives.” You can learn more about KPIs and KPI strategies in detail in the following articles: 10 Steps to Successful KPI and Metric Design Using Dynamics GP, Part 1 and 10 Steps to Successful KPI and Metric Design Using Dynamics GP, Part 2. Keep in mind that there are vertical specific KPIs; therefore, do some research.

6. User Interface (UI)

In the IT world, UI is designed into a device within which a user can interact. This includes keyboards, display screens, a mouse, and a desktop. It can also include how a user interacts with the application or the website. Companies’ dependence on applications has led organizations to prioritize improving the user’s overall experience, also known as UX.

7. SQL Server

Microsoft SQL Server is a relational database management system that was developed by Microsoft.

  • SQL Management Studio (SSMS) – SSMS is an integrated environment used to administer a SQL Server Infrastructure. If you’re not familiar with a SQL Server, it is a relational database management software developed by Microsoft.
  • SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) – SSIS is used to execute a wide range of data migration tasks.
  • SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) – SSRS is also part of the SQL Server services. It is a server-based report generating system that stores metadata and object definitions. You can learn more about the SQL Server on the Microsoft site.

8. Amazon Web Services (AWS)

AWS is a subsidiary of Amazon, and offers cloud computing platforms. AWS is also the competing platform against Microsoft Azure, formerly known as Windows Azure. Companies will be more exposed to AWS and Microsoft Azure as the cloud gets bigger. Cloud Computing platforms provide an easy way to access storage, servers, databases, and applications. It also provides quick access to flexible and low-cost resources.

If you are in the BI/CPM space, you may have seen the terms above used widely. For those who are new to the industry, I hope defining and laying out these terms give you a better understanding of the BI/CPM industry as well as the industry jargon. We’re happy to answer questions and generally review Solver’s web-powered, easy-to-use Excel and mobile BI tools with both real-time or data warehouse integrated analysis, budgeting and collaboration as a way to accelerate your company performance management experience.

Solver enables world-class decisions with a leading web-based CPM suite made up of budgeting, reporting, dashboards, and data warehousing, delivered through a web portal. Solver is reinventing CPM with its next generation solution. BI360 empowers business users with modern features including innovative use of Excel in the model design process. If you’re interested in learning more, our team is excited to hear about your organizational needs and goals.

This article will focus on the demand for convergence of Business Intelligence and Corporate Performance Management tools and why this benefits mid-market companies.

Image taken from Gartner.

The latest release of the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence strengthened my conviction that the market will see consolidation between the Business Intelligence/Visualization (BI) and Corporate Performance Management (CPM) vendors. Gartner classifies them in separate quadrants because the respective tools are evaluated differently during the sales process. Furthermore, BI tools usually sell into marketing and sales teams while CPM targets finance and accounting professionals. Consequently, there has been limited Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) in the space. Note that this article assumes readers are familiar with the basic definitions to focus on a narrative explaining the demand for their convergence.
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Photo taken from Shutterstock

This article will detail the effects of a commercial data warehouse for manufacturing and distribution organizations utilizing Microsoft Dynamics AX for their financials.

Data is the rightful buzzword for this era of business, perhaps especially for manufacturing and distribution organizations trying to meet their roadmap goals.  As data continues to grow in size and significance, data warehousing becomes a related task for modern business.  Even if you know a thing or two about data warehouses, you might have some questions or curiosities about them and how they relate to your manufacturing and/or distribution analytical processes.  Who manages a data warehouse? Are they like anything besides an OLAP cube?  At what point should a manufacturing and/or distribution corporation install one?  Cloud or on-premise?  How do we set up a data warehouse?  As a manufacturing or distribution Microsoft Dynamics AX customer, you likely have at least one of these questions.  This article will do the work of answering some of the more frequently asked questions, so you can more clearly see how data warehousing can be a solution for data management objectives with Microsoft Dynamics AX.
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In this article, data warehouses for Professional Services organizations will take center stage, with a focus on expanding Microsoft Dynamics AX analytical processes.

Data is increasingly more important in today’s business world, perhaps especially for Professional Services organizations.  As data informs decision-making at all levels, Professional Services organizations are striving to stay on budget and on track with projects, vendors, clients, and so forth, a data warehouse can be positively impactful in supporting Business Intelligence (BI) analyses.  If you’re new to data warehousing as a solution, you might have some questions.  This article will go about answering your questions about data warehousing as a Professional Services organization using Microsoft Dynamics AX.
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Data warehousing is a powerful way for Professional Sports Teams using Microsoft Dynamics GP to manage diverse data types and produce richer financial reports.

Nowadays, the amount of data you are working with can be massive, maybe especially for professional sports teams.  Since data correlates directly to advertising, performance, profit, and so on, data warehousing can assist professional sports teams in staying on budget and on track with owners, players, administrative staff and the finance team.  Maybe you’re not that familiar with a data warehouse solution, so you have several questions.  This article will aim to offer answers that speak to your questions, so you can better understand how data warehousing can expand professional sports team data management and analytics from Microsoft Dynamics GP and additional data sources.
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In this article, we’ll continue discussing data warehousing, generally and particularly, for not-for-profit organizations that are hoping to develop their Microsoft Dynamics GP experience.

In modern business, data is ubiquitous, perhaps particularly for not-for-profits (NFPs).  Since data directly supports decision-making, with NFP organizations actively working to remain on budget and/or on track with members, donors, grants and so forth, data warehousing can be helpful to your Business Intelligence (BI) tasks.  If you’re anything like I was when I first heard of a data warehouse solution, you probably have questions.  The goal for this article is to deliver the answers for NFP teams to understand how a data warehouse can improve management and analyses of your information from Microsoft Dynamics GP and other data sources.
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This article will discuss the best options you have for financial reporting and consolidation solutions for your Sage X3 data management and analytical tasks.

There are plenty of Sage X3 users who are responsible for consolidating their parent company information from one or more manufacturing or distribution subsidiaries.  Combining financial data from more than one entity, at times with multiple currencies, can be a challenge if you don’t have a modern financial consolidation solution to supplement Sage X3 and any other ERP systems that your subsidiaries might use.  Data is only growing in size and significance to corporate decision-making, which is why more executives are seeking the best software to enable their business end users to aggregate information into a unified set of financial reports.  In this article, we’ll focus on your technology options for today’s intuitive, business user friendly financial consolidations with Sage X3.  If your manufacturing or distribution organization is rapidly growing, a high-powered reporting and consolidation software can simplify your Sage X3 implementation and give you more flexibility and power in your reporting process.
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In this article, we’ll continue discussing the impact of data warehouse solutions for not-for-profit organizations who are using the Intacct accounting system.

Some people might think that non-profits are functioning outside of the typical business model, but in reality, data is driving the same vital decision-making for not-for-profit organizations.  As non-profits do the hard work of staying on track with budgets, donors, grants, members, and so forth, a data warehouse can be really effective and efficient for your Business Intelligence (BI) processes.  With online analytical processing (OLAP) cubes being a common technology presence, the difference between OLAP cubes and data warehouses might seem confusing to you.  In this article, we’ll discuss the benefits of data warehousing for non-profit data management and analytics tasks using Intacct.
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This article will explore the impact of a data warehouse solution for manufacturing and distribution companies using Sage X3 for data management and analytical processes.

Data continues to be the non-negotiable ingredient to decision-making, maybe especially for manufacturing and distribution companies trying to stay on track to achieve their goals.  With data growing in amount and importance, data warehouses are tangentially relevant in today’s business world.  If you’re anything like me, you have questions that sound a lot like who, what, when, where, why, and how – all related to data warehouses.  Who can manage a data warehouse?  What do they compare to / resemble?  When should a manufacturing and/or distribution company implement one?  Where are they hosted?  Why not an OLAP cube instead of a data warehouse?  How do we configure a data warehouse?  As a manufacturing or distribution Sage X3 user, you probably have one or more of these questions.  In this article, I’ll go about answering some of the frequent questions, so you can understand data warehousing as a solution and decide how to best meet your data management goals with Sage X3.
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In this article, data warehousing will be discussed, both generally and specifically, for retail organizations who are looking to expand their Microsoft Dynamics NAV experience.

In the fast lane that is business today, maybe especially for retail companies, data is vital.  Since data drives decisions, retail organizations are making plans to stay on track and on budget with their customers, stores, vendors, management, etc. – and data warehousing can be really effective in organizing and empowering stronger Business Intelligence (BI) analytics.  Like most software, if you aren’t familiar with it, you likely have questions.  In this article, I’ll answer frequently asked questions about data warehouse solutions for retail companies using Microsoft Dynamics NAV.
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