Getting Started with Business Intelligence (BI)

We're all inundated with an endless stream of data from seemingly unlimited sources. How do we take this deluge of data and make sense of it so we can answer critical real world questions and, ultimately, improve outcomes for students, staff, faculty, administration, UC San Diego? Business Intelligence provides the tools and processes you need to deliver this critical information. Have you been asked a functional question that you know can be answered by data centrally or locally collected? Do you want to understand your department’s performance in key areas (financial, customer satisfaction, operational effectiveness)? Do you want to reduce the time it takes you or your staff to manually collect data for a recurring report? Overall, do you want to provide useful and interactive representations of trends, achievements, progress towards goals and future predictions all based on verifiable, governed metrics? If your answer is yes to any part of these questions, then you are interested Business Intelligence.

Where do you start the journey?

Here are some questions to consider as you begin your BI project:

  • What are the primary goals and objectives of the project?
  • What are the key questions you're trying to answer with the information?
  • Who will be consuming the information?
  • What's your vision of success for this project and how do you measure this success?
  • What is the source of your data currently and does it need to be transformed for reporting?
  • What's the highest priority?
  • What do you visualize as your deliverables?
    • Is it an interactive dashboard?
    • Is it a tool providing ad hoc reporting capabilities?
    • Is it a structured report that is distributed on a schedule?
  • Are you interested in predictive analytics (i.e. predict future events and trends through modeling techniques and based on historical data)?
  • What's your delivery schedule?

Do a little, do it right and build incrementally.

The big bang strategy is frustrating for the developers and consumers. Taking an agile approach will provide everyone with greater satisfaction through incremental deliveries while allowing for changes in design and implementation along the way.

Good news! You won't have to do it alone. The ACT BI team, in collaboration with BICC, is here to assist. ACT will partner with you to build a successful solution that is resilient and extensible. We will ask that you provide your subject matter expertise about the data definitions and usage in a business context to help build the metadata layer that will form the foundation of the solution. Once that layer is in place, depending on the level of expertise available within your team, ACT will mentor, assist, or even provide the resources to develop the end product. The larger BICC community provides additional collaboration opportunities so that existing solutions can be reused and, in turn, your solution will be recognized and potentially reused by others.

Need more information?

Contact busintel@ucsd.edu.

Business Intelligence