By: Jeremy Hill

Business Intelligence makes it possible for organizations to make sense of the vast amount of customer, manufacturing and competitive information they have available in order to make smarter and better informed decisions. In turn, this enables organizations to become more responsive to customer needs, increase efficiencies in manufacturing processes, and respond to significant events quickly.

Historically the data that drives business intelligence has been stored in structured formats in a data warehouse, such as customer information on how much is spent. However, this approach misses out on the value of semi-unstructured and unstructured data, like the details from a customer call or a customer tweet.

With such information missing, a complete view of the customer or business can be limited. The consequence is that an inability to gain knowledge and measure customer information means businesses can fall behind, especially in a competitive market.

Business Intelligence needs NoSQL
Having access to all types of relevant customer information – structured, semi-structured and unstructured – is an essential requirement for business intelligence (BI) to help enterprises get ahead of the competition. Unlike structured, relational data warehouses, NoSQL databases make this possible with improved availability, scalability and fast response times. NoSQL databases are ideal for BI and data warehousing not only because of the diverse types of information it can deal with, but also because they are able to deliver data at the very time it is needed.

Enabling real-time analytics
NoSQL keeps up with transaction speeds as-it-happens, enabling real-time analytics. E-commerce transactions, for example, benefit from a NoSQL database because it can make a decision about what to do next when a buyer doesn’t complete a purchase. Instead of waiting 24 hours or longer for the data to move through a traditional data warehouse system, with a NoSQL system a feed goes straight from a transaction through a connecter to a NoSQL database. A sales analytics process can make a decision with the intelligence at that very minute, to consult the customer and understand the behavior in real-time, helping secure the purchase and preventing the loss of a customer transaction.

A recently announced Basho partner, Caserta Concepts, a technology consulting firm specializing in big data analytics, data warehousing and business intelligence, works with CIOs to deliver analytics solutions that support business goals. It uses Riak and Riak CS to accommodate unique client requirements across a broad range of data types – structured, semi-structured and unstructured – and provides continuous availability to keep critical line-of-business applications going around the clock. Caserta’s practice illustrates the viability for NoSQL in the database revolution to take on the volume, variety and velocity of data dynamics of today’s web-scale applications.

Intelligence for IoT transactions
With the vast amounts of information from Internet of Things (IoT) technologies, more business intelligence needs and use cases are at the cusp. Consider oil and gas organizations providing annual service contracts for boilers – analytics tells the business that anything beyond the second call out (or truck roll) wipes out the profit on the contract. In the connected world, NoSQL enables the next level of intelligence, which allows organizations to collect information so that, in the event of failure, they are able to determine which parts are needed in advance, eliminating the need for multiple visits. Gathering intelligence from this data also allows organizations to perform preemptive maintenance during the annual inspections to lower the frequency of unplanned, costly site visits.

With NoSQL, BI and data warehousing can become quicker and much more efficient. It allows organizations to react to events more quickly, increase customer attention, streamline the supply chain, predict customer behavior at the point it matters and predict future service calls. At the rise of big, unstructured data, NoSQL presents enormous opportunity for the future of business intelligence.