The term business intelligence (BI), coined by Howard Dresner of the Gartner Group, describes the set of concepts and methods to improve business decision-making by using fact-based support systems. Practically speaking, BI is what you get when you analyze raw data and turn that analysis into knowledge. BI can help an organization identify cost-cutting opportunities, uncover new business opportunities, recognize changing business environments, identify data anomalies, and create widely accessible reports, among other things.
Over the last few years, the BI concept has overtaken corporate executives who are eager to turn impossible amounts of data into knowledge. As a result of this trend, whole industries have been created. Software vendors that focus on BI and dashboarding are coming out of the woodwork. New consulting firms touting their BI knowledge are popping up virtually every week. And even the traditional enterprise solution providers, like Business Objects and SAP, are offering new BI capabilities.
This need for BI has manifested itself in many forms. Most recently, it's come in the form of dashboard fever. Dashboards are reporting mechanisms that deliver business intelligence in a graphical form.
Maybe you've been hit with dashboard fever. Or maybe your manager is hitting you with dashboard fever. Nevertheless, you're probably holding this book because you're being asked to create BI solutions (that is, dashboards) in Excel.
Although many IT (information technology) ...