Chapter 2. Business Intelligence Solutions

This chapter is less about Reporting Services and more about reporting and analyzing data in general. By understanding the state of data analytics in the industry and characteristics of reporting requirements, you will have a better understanding of how Reporting Services fits into the bigger picture. A Business Intelligence (BI) solution is the foundation upon which a capable business reporting platform can be constructed. Depending on your needs and your business environment, this may simply entail designing a new database. Constructing a full-scale BI solution may also encompass investing in and learning to use new database tools and technologies.

Somewhere between 1999 and 2005, the industry began to go through an important transition. Prior to this period, businesses ran reports to keep track of simple things like sales totals, invoices, inventory, and production runs. As an industry, we had reached a point where we were quite proficient at gathering and storing data. Most businesses have gigabytes and terabytes of data to report on. What we (as an industry) were less proficient in was transforming that data back into useful and actionable information. Business has changed in recent years. Today, we compete on a global scale. Business must be efficient, competitive, and adaptable. Large corporations merge, acquire, outsource, downsize, and realign their strategies more often than ever before. Today's business leaders must be adaptable ...

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