Database Management for Business Intelligence
Oracle Tips by Burleson Consulting


Consumer data has been used since the ancient Greek times to guide shipments of olive oil and other commodities throughout the Ancient Grecian Empire and beyond.  While the foundations of the data storage have changed dramatically from the Mesopotamian clay tablets to today's modern database management systems, the goals of business intelligence and data mining remain unchanged. The basic tenet of business intelligence is that one can predict the future by analyzing the past and grouping together related consumers to develop highly sophisticated and accurate predictive models. These predictive models can save tens of billions of dollars a year in advertising.  At the same time, consumers are provided with targeted marketing which is most appropriate to their needs.

Business intelligence is not limited exclusively to the area of marketing and sales. Today, hospitals group patients together in terms of their age and symptoms, and analyze treatment regimens in order to determine the best course of treatment for specifically identifiable populations. 

Though the use of business intelligence no doubt saves lives, it has even more wide ranging social implications.  First and foremost is the issue of data privacy.  As consumer monitoring becomes more and more ubiquitous, we see that many privacy advocates do not want even the most innocuous behaviors recorded.  For example, many supermarkets monitor consumer purchasing habits via a buyers’ club card.  Fortunately, most consumers don't care whether anyone else knows they prefer peas to string beans.  Through the use of the buyers’ club card, consumers passively allow point of sale systems to readily track purchases, and tie individual purchases to background demographic information. When consumers apply for buyers’ club cards, they provide basic demographic information which is in turn analyzed with publicly available information on major life events, such as the purchase of a house, a divorce, the presence or absence of children, and income, such that the database has detailed information not only about what products are being purchased, but the basic demographics of the person who is purchasing.  

The issue of data storage has always been important to business intelligence because of the dynamics of changing technology.  Disk prices are falling radically each and every year.  Back in the 1980’s, 1.2 gigabytes of storage could cost upwards of $200,000.00; whereas, today you can purchase the same amount for less than $100.00.  Given our ability to store large amounts of empirical information cheaply, the goal of the business intelligence manager is to somehow be able to cleanse and manipulate this data in such a way that accurate predictive models can be built.

Follow the link below to take a closer look at the evolution of business intelligence from the perspective of the database manager and explore how the database influences the manipulation of these vast quantities of observable data in the real world.

Read more here:


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