Business Intelligence (BI) Definition

Deriving intelligence (or useful information) out of a whole set of raw, structured or unstructured data, is the Business Intelligence Definition. Any business gathers a large amount of data from the business transactions in does with its customers, suppliers/vendors and all other related activities. A variety of software applications are available that helps users analyze raw data and make this BI Definition work. These tools often make end users get the processes run, rather than waiting for IT personnel run special reports for them. This kind of BI Definition necessitates that the software tools are able to do data mining, querying and reporting of underlying data as well as conduct online analytical processing.

By the way the Business Intelligence Definition works the BI tools could equally be used to find operational intelligence besides sales, marketing or business expansion decisions. Business leaders could look at costs, material acquisition and other aspects of the business to identify if some business processes are not working well. The Business Intelligence (BI) Definition allows for executives to reengineers such inefficient processes and they can have solid data to back such decisions. The data mining allowed in the BI Definition, helps dig out these relevant data easily, rather than depending on some empirical data. BI Definition cover both the strategic as well as tactical decision making by businesses. It is possible, for example restaurant chains like Wendy’s, to decide strategically what new menu items to be added to the outlets across the nation or a region. Tactical decisions such as negotiating/renegotiation contact with suppliers are covered under the Business Intelligence Definition too. Quite often executives use dashboards, on their decision support systems, that help monitor crucial parameters. Business Intelligence (BI) Definition covers setting up of some limits on such parameters and generating alarms to help draw the attention of the executive.

Business Intelligence Definition and the definition of business analytics often overlap. Business analytics used to be considered a component of the business analysis tool chest. If Business Intelligence Definition covers tools that let executives monitor trends inside the data collected, data analytics can be considered as the mining of data to discover any new tends that may exist. Data analytics will let you find all kinds of correlation/cross-correlations that may exist in various segments of data that keeps pouring in into a business. Data collected into data warehouses is useful in this regard. By BI Definition, such data storehouses can be used to run BI tools equally easily.

BI reporting almost ends with dashboards. Operations managers can use these for business planning work to an extent. This group of business managers however, needs more features that the Business Intelligence (BI) Definition allows. It is difficult to iterate BI reports according to ne “what if” questions. More often than not, standardized reports that monitor predefined key metrics are covered under BI. Analytics needs to take care of such questions and thus allow drilling down to data even to its source and the tools are different from this point of view.

SQL Server Versions Explained

The product SQL Server from Microsoft has been released over the years in several different versions. The original version was released for the IBM PS/2 machines under OS2 environment. This MS SQL Server version was released back in 1989 and was jointly developed by Microsoft along with Ashton Tate and Sybase on the Sybase’s SQL Server product. Versions followed in 1991, 93, 95, 96 and 98. Each had improved features than the previous MS SQL Server version and they were based on the original codebase. Significant changes to the product, happened with the 2005 version. Versions that were released prior to 2005 are 99, 2000, 03 beyond the 98 version. The 93 version was released for the WNT. The product then on has been compatible with Windows operating systems. The 99 version of the SQL Server was significant too. It introduced business intelligence features (in addition to the RDMS features) to the MS SQL Server database. The 2003 version of the MSSQL Server was fully 64 bit version released for working with the newer computer systems that use the 64 bit processors and the operating systems. By the time the 2005 version came to the market, the code base of the original product was replaced by MS developed code. The MSSQL Server was completely owned by Microsoft since then and Sybase has been selling a similar product with a similar name built on their own codebase.

Quite a few useful features were built into the product SQL Server 2005 when it came to the market. An IDE or an integrated development environment was included that helped development of database applications on the SQL Server product. On the data analysis and business analysis side of the product, ETL capability, OLAP and data mining features were added.  The ETL (extract-transform-load), etc. functionality helps with loading of large amount of data into the database. OLAP and data mining functionalities helps with the BI angle of the MS SQL Server product. Data mining feature helps with discovering trends from available data. Many such trends may not be visible to the naked eye easily. XML support also came with this Microsoft SQL Server version. The T-SQL was upgraded to add support of XML (Xquery). Data mirroring introduced from MS SQL Server 2005 helps higher availability. This made manual or automatic failover operations possible.

Product release/versions introduced since 2005 were in 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2014. The latest version of Microsoft SQL Server is MSSQL Server 2016. The community technology preview CTP) is already out. The general release can be expected to be in couple of months’ time. Besides the regular upgrade in version in 2010 (SQL Server 2008R2), a cloud version was released. Azure SQL database was released in 2010. Web services support also was added in this version. Version 2008 was a significant release as this introduced unstructured data support. For BI, unstructured data is something that needs to be handled most (up to 80%) of the time. “Filestream” is a type that supports unstructured and semi-structured data. Binary large objects or “BLOB” was another type that helped support multimedia data. In-memory execution available for some time helps quick execution of larger analytics applications work much faster.

SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS)

SQL Server Integration Services or the SSIS component available with the SQL Server product can facilitate a large range of data migration services for the user. The SSIS 2012 component will take care of a wide diversity of data integration as well as workflow automation applications. It will facilitate setting up data warehouses for ETL (or data extraction, transformation and loading) applications. The SSIS component is useful for automatic maintenance and update of OLAP cubes (and hyper-cubes). OLAP, as we know is an on-line analytic processing of 3 or more dimensional data. OLAP processes can help users underlying data patterns and insights. Due to the large volume of these multi-dimensional data, patterns may not be visible easily otherwise.

Data migrations are an integral part of upgrades to enterprise systems. This may involve transfer of data from one storage type to another, format changes or moving of an application to the next generation of computing equipment. This SSIS component could be a huge facilitator in all such cases. Tools available in SQL Server Integration Services let you the migration to be completed automatically and without errors. Many different situations can call for such migrations. Technological changes, server or the storage technology upgrade or a simple reason like the need for relocating a data center. Services available in SSIS 2012 can be very useful in any such situation.

Data migration, typically, involves the so called D-T-L or the data extraction, transformation (if, and as required) and then loading into the new system. SQL server tool SSIS can be useful in each of these stages. There is a data verification stage that is mandatory establishing that the data, as loaded, is error free. Tools available in SSIS 2012 can be useful for these tasks. In a typical migration process, each of these stages may have to be repeated. It may be essential to run the legacy as well as the new system simultaneously for some time until the SSIS 2012 can demonstrate that the process has been successful. The SQL Server Integration Services tool is now available only with the standard, BI and enterprise editions from the version 7 (1998) release. It used to be available for all editions earlier. One of the most useful features on the SSIS must be the import/export wizard. It is a simple transfer tool for transfers that do not involve any transformation. The SQL Server Integration Services can handle multiple source and destination types. On the development front, the SSIS provides BI development studio or BIDS. This is based on Microsoft’s VB studio. Developers can develop and debug package with drag and drop ease of the VB like features. A package defines a workflow and can have many elements. BIDS have since been updated in SSIS as the SQL Server data tool-Business intelligence (SSDT-BI). Connectors, event handlers, parameters, precedence constraints, takes, and variables are some features that are useful in working with the SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS). There are some additional tools in the integration services.

Executing packages from command prompt and setting up of configurations for packages to reused are possible. Storage of a package and retrieval are possible with these tools.

SSRS is a Great Reporting Tool

SQL Server comes with several tools named services. The SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) is one such tool that lets you compose reports exactly the way you need them. The suite of services provided by Microsoft also includes an Analysis services module and integration services module. Creation and management of a wide variety of these reports is made possible through this server based reporting service or the SSRS. The types of reports that can be created include the basic one that contain data tables and associated charts. Complex data visualizations are made possible by the SQL server reporting services. The complex reports may contain charts, maps and sparklines. Sparklines make more sophisticated visualizations possible and they help add additional illustrative small charts to data in a chart already. This reporting service tool can handle these easily. All these reports can be generated in different formats. The data used for the reports could not only e SQL Server data but can also come from other RDMSs. SQL server analysis services can be a source as could be Parallel data warehouse or even Teradata. The reporting service can handle XML based data sources too.

The reports generated by the SQL server reporting services can be included in the applications you develop. These could as easily be viewed on the report manager or the report services website. The required reports in reporting services can be generated as required basis. These could be scheduled as subscriptions too. This component of SSRS can be arranged to install on SharePoint.

Originally SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) used to be shipped as an adjunct to the main SQL Server product. It was first released more than 10 years ago in 2003. From the SQL Server release 2005, the services have been completely integrated. The SSRS was enhanced significantly in the 2008 and 2008 R2 versions. These new set of features enhancements include enhanced charts, data regions, a new gage feature, formatting of text an introduction of a Tablix feature. This lets a report area to be converted to matrix and the other way round. A complete overhaul of the report designer was done at this release. This redesign introduced a grouping pane in the interface. Basic features of this reporting services have not changed since this 2008 R2 release.

A Power View feature was added, however, with the SQL server reporting services release 2012. Power View provides a new way of creating reports that business users need. A SSRS installation needs to be associated with a database instance, of course. A ReportServer and a ReportServerTempdb exist in such an instance. ReportServer holds quite a few details about reports created. These include definitions of the report, its configuration, security and history, etc. On the other hand ReportServerTempdb provides a workspace for building of reports. A Report Server Web Service will need to be hosted. End users can publish their own reports when they have permissions. The sequence of events in publishing a report starts with a http request to the web server. The reporting services server retrieves metadata related to the report and requests data from the data source and returns a complete report when data is available to it.

SQL Server 2012: overview of SQL Server 2012


Microsoft’s RDBMS product for desktops and enterprise is the SQL Server and SQL Server 2012 is the version released to the market in 2012. The SQL Server 2012 evolved from the 2005 version. The SQL server code started out to be jointly owned by Microsoft and two other companies named Ashton Tate and Sybase. It was released as the desktop product on PS/2 with OS/2 environment back in 1989. By the time several upgrades were released to arrive at the sql server version 2005, Microsoft has own version of the code contributed by Ashton Tate by this time. The 2012 version evolved through 2008, 2008 R2 versions to become the SQL Server 2012.

The SQL Server 2012 grew into the SQL Server 2014 version and the latest product from Microsoft stable is the community technology preview 2016 that has just been released recently. The sql server 2012 adds two major trends to the feature list that was available with the previous 2008 R2 version.

  1. One is to make the existing RDBMS product easier to administer and to simplify development work.
  2. Equipping the products to help in ever larger data handling and analysis is the other set of goals. The SQL Server 2012 adds many such important features to the existing repertoire.

With the SQL Server 2012, Microsoft decided to support only ODBC (open database connectivity). Even the interconnectivity between MS document types supported through OLE was to be dropped. The general release of the SQL Server 2012 came in Mar, 2012 followed by release of Service pack 1 in Nov 2012 and the pack2, in Nov, 2014. The added features include a PowerView. When creating business intelligence reports, you can mash up various data sets in SQL Server 2012 through this feature. Operationally, the AlwaysOn feature adds handling of database failures easier. Multiple copies created by the system in SQL Server 2012 helps make disaster recover quite straightforward. There is even a stripped down version which is not as resources hungry as the full version of the SQL Server 2012 but can let you carry out the most important operations. Programming features enhanced in the SQL Server 2012 include a ColumnStore indexes feature. These are read-only indexes that help optimizing processing queries on large data warehouses. Testing of the SQL Server 2012 procedures and queries can be played out (tried out) on a non-production server without risking crashes affecting your production operations. Operationally, an audit trail is a very important tool for systematic management of the database operations but a security safeguard against malicious activities, if any.

By this point in the development of the SQL Server product, SQL Server 2012 has evolved into an enterprise level DBMS with the ability to handle large volume of enterprise level data, supported by the administrative, program development and security features required for efficient operations. The next upgrade to SQL Server 2012 came in 2014.

If you have any questions, please contact us at SQL Server Tutorial 2012; we are always happy to help!

SQL Tutorials – online choices for SQL Server Tutorials

Some of the top on-line sql tutorial are available at Tutorial point, w3 schools, and Java. These are the top 3 contenders in sql tutorial top spots as in Google search list in terms of popularity and authority. There are several others available. Any sql tutorial usually provides an overview of the standardized query language that you could use to query, retrieve and manage data in relational databases. These are designed in such a way that even beginners can go through them and gain in expertise as they progress through these courses. The only prerequisites required of learners of sql tutorial is an understanding of what a database, RDBMS is, and what constitutes a programming language, its structure and how does programming language used to construct a program.

Once a learner is generally proficient in SQL, through the use of one of these sql tutorial, he/she is able to work with any of the many databases in heavy use. These include SQL Server, MySQL, Sybase, DB2, Oracle, Access and many others. Obviously, learning SQL would not help you with the new-fangled “no sql” databases.

Many of these sql tutorial offer certification. Candidates are given certificates based on clearing periodic examinations. These certificates accepted by employers as proof of the person being qualified in the SQL programming language.

SQL Tutorial-choices to learn sql online

Every sql tutorial is structured. The structure may be slightly different depending on which sql tutorial you are going to use. Lets take a closer look on some of the sql tutorial available:

  • The top choice in sql tutorial is the on-line course conducted by the Tutorial point. They start their sql tutorial with an overview. This is followed by RDBMS and database concepts. SQL statement syntax and the data types handled are introduced next. The sql tutorial then take the learner through operators, expressions. “Create”, “drop” and “select database statements are then introduced. Table manipulations, insert and select queries, “where” clauses are then introduced. Combining queries, update, delete, like, top clauses are talked about. “distinct” keyword and sorting of results are illustrate. After that advanced features such as Constraints, joins, unions and such others are introduced. Then sql tutorial informs about best practices, questions & answers. They even have a section on HR questions the candidates may have to face while interviewing for a job. Additional reading is suggested too.
  • Sql tutorial by w3 schools is well respected as well. W3 schools offer on-line courses in a very wide range of technologies in computers and the Internet. The w3schools has a little different structure of the material than Tutorial point. It discusses various SQL statement types and data types. The sql tutorial then progresses into a coverage of the functions available. This tutorial too has a quiz section but does not have the “interview” questions of the Tutorial point’s.
  • The sql tutorial from JavaTPoint is another widely used robust technology. It provides web service tutorials for beginners and professionals and has yet another structure.

Take your time to get familiar with different options available. Make your deliberated decision considering your priorities and goals.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions regarding sql tutorial. We, at  SQL Server Tutorial, always happy to help!


Learning SQL Server: SQL Server Tutorial online

There are many paths to learn SQL Server. In the article below we are going to do a quick overview of the most popular SQL Server tutorials available on the market.

SQL server tutorial-learn sql online

  • MSDN site of Microsoft would be considered by many as the first place to start your SQL Server Tutorial. This site provides plenty of resources for learning for beginners and more advanced users about relational database product. Most of these tutorials are ususally free and several of sql server tutorials are available for users who may not have a SQL Server in their organization. The online sql server tutorials also help in working on the learning project outside working hours. Usually these sql server tutorials provide access to some database for practice. Big advantage is that Microsoft lets you download and use the “express” edition of their current database products.                                                                                                                                         The MSDN site covers most of the important topics in its sql server tutorial. It starts by coverage of the database engine. The sql server tutorial covers the SQL Server management studio, sqlcmd utility, how to tune the database engine, using policy based management and best practices. Database engine covers how to use it and how to use the T-SQL statements. Then the sql server tutorial gets into data analysis and data mining topics. Creation of packages and implementation of packages are dealt with next. Use of replication and reporting services are included too. Topics useful to developers are then covered in sql server tutorial.
  • Going by the rankings in the search results (Google uses popularity and authority to rank sites), one of the top of sql server tutorial sites will be the Tech On Net. This sql server tutorial covers both the relational database technology of the SQL Server as well as the integrated tool, the T-SQL programming language that facilitates the usage of the same. The T_SQL is an extended version of the SQL language. This sql server tutorial starts with the basics of how to retrieve and manipulate data from the database. The tutorial then progressively moves through table creation, users and logins, sql functions and procedures.

There are no prerequisites needed on the part of the learner. The same is more or less true of other such sql server tutorials available on-line. Usually, they provide some form of access to a database for learner to try out their concepts.

  • The sql server tutorial from quackit is another popular and authoritative one. This sql server tutorial starts by familiarizing the learner with the capabilities of the SQL Server, the releases and editions of the same and an intro to the express edition. How to install the product and introduction to the management studio is then provided. The sql server tutorial then gets into the operational aspects and these cover the creation of a database, creation of table followed by manipulation of data in them are taken up. Details of SQL query generation and use are then covered. The sql server tutorial also covers stored procedures. Basic understanding of database is assumed.
  • is another provider that give quality course for sql server tutorials. In most situations, it is likely to be a paid one though.

This is not the full list of the SQL Server Tutorial available. Take your time, explore and evaluate which one is the best for you. If you have any questions regarding SQL Server Tutorial please contact us, – we are ready and always eager to help!

SQL Online: Ways to Learn SQL Online

One of the simplest ways to learn sql will be to learn sql online. If you are working already and looking to enhance your skills, online learning lets you do that at your own pace. There are many reasons why you should learn SQL. The overriding one is that it is a skill that can be monetized – there’s enough demand for it. There are also equally a lot of resources available for you to learn sql online. 

  1. First, online book. Like a regular book it has text and many examples codified in a book format. It is popular enough to be at a top location on any search engine list. Some top ranking sites are
  2. Other resources helping learn sql online – online courses, and they introduce some interactivity. Some of these courses offer examinations, passing which earns you a certificate of proficiency. Many sql online tutorials (like w3schools) provide certificates that are quite valuable on the market.

Ways to learn SQL online

SQL (pronounced “sequel”) or the structured query language lets you interact with a range of databases as they use the standardized way of access. All of learn sql online resources teach you about this language. The minimum set of access is often abbreviated as CRUD (create, read, update and delete). These learn sql online courses will take you in a structured manner through the operations on tables of databases. Databases as we know are similar to spreadsheets with the database being like the complete workbook while each page/sheet is a table. Rows and columns have similar logical meaning in both cases.  These learn sql online resources offer practicing on some kind of a database. Most often, learn sql online courses provide some form of a free sql based database, not necessarily the SQL Server.

When you have so many resources to choose from while learning sql online, it could be useful to have some pointers to what you have to pay attantion to. Further in this article we will try to provide this guidance.

  • W3schools is reputedly the largest website development service. They offer learn sql online course that teach beginners sql concepts and syntax. Beyond that, it takes you through the keywords use, important statements, and functions that are used in SQL. Among many learn sql online sites, this one lets you to earn a certificate that is very respected in the industry.
  • Another significant learn sql online course – is the “Intro to SQ: Querying and Managing Data” from Khan Academy. This course gives you a lot of interactivity. Bite sized lectures on video (video on You Tube), exercises, and a learning dashboard are some of its distinctive features.
  • Tutorials Point has a learn sql online course “Learn SQL”. Tutorial Point supposedly has the largest collection of IT tutorials. The complete course in PDF and can be downloaded for off-line use. It covers basic SQL, useful functions and its advanced features.
  • “Introduction to Relational Database” learn sql online course, run by Udacity, is worth a mention as well. Course is a fast, capturing introduction to using a relational database from your code, using examples in Python.

We hope this information will be helpful while you choosing learn sql online course. If you have any further questions regarding learn sql online, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are always ready to help you SQL Tutorials online.


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SQL 2012 Update Statement – How to modify data in SQL?

SQL Update is a command or updating a data record. SQL Update query is part of the SQL standard that is implemented by all product vendors. Thus, the concept applies uniformly across all RDBMS products. Typically, in an RDBMS based database, data is organized as rows and columns. Each row of data has fields in columns that are related. One row of data is called a record. SQL Update is a means of updating a field within a record in the database. The syntax of SQL Update command provides for specifying the particular piece of data into a database table.

The following is the syntax for the SQL Update command. The words in capitals are the keywords that must be used as is. The text strings within quote marks in the syntax of SQL Update query indicated need to be filled by actual parameter values for pinpointing the specific items to be updated.

UPDATE  [table name]
SET [column name1]= ‘column value1′
WHERE [a particular column name]=’existing value of the column’

This above syntax of SQL Update specifies a specific table name on which data updates are to be made. The SET keyword lets the user specify the new values to be created in the given fields/columns of the table. The WHERE keyword specifies the existing value of a keyword so that the particular record can be pinpointed. In the absence of the WHERE keyword in the SQL UPDATE syntax, all the records will get updated. Let us follow this with an example so that the exact meaning is very apparent.

A phone book is something every one of us use. If a typical phonebook was implemented in an RDBMS a table “PhoneDirectory” could look something like the table indicated below.



A simple table like this could be updated manually. When the phone book is large, for example, the public phone book for the organization, updating will need database support. One of the most common changes that can happen is that the person may have switched over to another company. His or her work phone or home phone could change. SQL UPDATE statement provides the means to make a change to the database, specifically to a particular record in the database.

For the sake of illustrating the use of the SQL UPDATE, let us assume Robert Halden has been transferred to a different city where the ABC, Inc. has an office. In such a case both his work and home phones would change. SQL UPDATE command for making these desired changes would look like the following.

UPDATE PhoneBook
SET  WorkPhonenumber=’397-478-2294′, HomePhoneNumber=’397-225-8325′
WHERE ContactName=’Robert Halden’

This SQL UPDATE statement chooses the right table in a database and substitutes the work and home phone numbers of a specific record where the contact name is Robert Halden. The update happens in just one record that is required to be updated. If some particular column value(s) for all records were to be updated, dropping the WHERE clause of the SQL UPDATE command would do the job. The SET clause will specify the column and the value to be set in the complete database.

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