“Business intelligence (BI) refers to applications and technologies that are used to gather, provide access to, and analyze data and information about company operations. Business intelligence systems can help companies have a more comprehensive knowledge of the factors affecting their business, such as metrics on sales, production, internal operations, and they can help companies to make better business decisions.” (Wikipedia)
Business intelligence includes warehousing data and mining data (sorting large amounts of data to find relevant information). Metadata (data about data) aids in the mining of useful nuggets of information. The warehousing and mining of data for business intelligence is often referred to as a decision support system.
User-centric EA is business (and technology) intelligence!
- EA is a knowledge base and warehouse of information: BI warehouses date for decision support applications in the organization. Similarly, EA synthesizes and stores business and technical information across the enterprise to enable better decision making. EA uses applications like Systems Architect, DOORS, Metis, Rationale, and others to capture information in a relational database repository and model business, data, and systems. The intent is to develop a knowledge base for the capture, mining and analysis of data to enhance IT planning and governance.
- EA provides for mining, querying, and reporting: BI tools use online analytical processing (OLAP) tools like Cognos, BusinessObjects, Hyperion, and SAS that utilize multi-dimensional database cubes for manipulating data into different views, and provides for analysis and reporting. Similarly, User-centric EA provides for analysis and reporting of performance measures, business functions, information requirements, applications systems, technology products and standards, and security measures. While EA tools are more limited than general BI tools in terms of OLAP capabilities like online queries, I believe that these tools will move in this direction in the future.
- EA uses information visualization to communicate effectively: BI tools provide executive dashboard capabilities for displaying executive information in a user-friendly GUI format. Like an executive dashboard, EA often displays business and technology information in profiles and models that make extensive use of information visualization to communicate effectively and at strategic, high-level views to decision makers.
In is the role of the chief enterprise architect to sponsor, communicate, and educate on the use of EA for business and technology intelligence in the organization.