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     White Papers > Suntek's Business Intelligence (BI) Solution

Suntek's Business Intelligence (BI) Solution

Do you want to have a special edition of Financial Times or Wall Street Journal with contents personalized for your unique investment needs? Or you want to have a team of specialists briefing you on every new product, technology, event, action, and more, in your industry every morning before you start your business? If these sound too good to be true, welcome to the era of Business Intelligence.

Suntek Business Intelligence Solution is a suite of technologies for gathering, organizing, and analyzing data to help enterprise users make better business decisions. Suntek BI Solution accounts for all of the factors that affect a business, which include customers, competitors, business partners, economic environment, and internal operations to make effective and good quality business decisions. At the core of BI is Competitive intelligence (CI), which focuses on the external competitive environment. CI empowers a business to keep track of the actions of her competitors and respond to them accordingly.

Business intelligence helps a business to identify:

  • The position of the firm compared to its competitors
  • Changes in customer behavior and spending patterns
  • Market conditions, trends, demographic and economic data
  • Social, regulatory, and political environment

Business Intelligence vs Competitive Intelligence

An important branch of Business Intelligence (BI), Competitive Intelligence (CI) analyzes textual information on public websites. Suntek supports the core technology for web crawling, monitoring, cleansing, extraction, categorization and last but not least text mining, whereas traditional BI primarily focuses on internal business data and information display on dashboards.

Functional Architecture

The accompanying figure shows the functional architecture of Suntek’s BI Solution. Since data from external sites are embedded in web pages, after web pages are downloaded, data must be cleansed, which includes filtering out useless data and removing duplicates. The data are then tagged by business rules. Tagging allows data to be categorized. The data are then integrated and managed in a repository, which is typically a database management system. These processes must operate periodically or according to a time schedule, depending on the values of the volatility of the data sources. The system must be able to deal with different file formats and flexible enough to handle new websites and data formats.

After the data are loaded into the repository, data can be analyzed to discover valuable information to the business. This includes:

  • Concept mining: tuning raw texts into high-level concepts, e.g., interest hike is one concept, not two, and is related to interest rate
  • Relation mining: data are categorized and linked to related data
  • Opinion mining: Concepts are further analyzed to identify people’s opinions
  • Behavioral mining: User actions are recorded and analyzed to identify users’ interests
  • Monitoring: Continuous monitoring of data sources (e.g., a stock index, a competitor website) to look for changes
  • Actioning: Alerts and actionable items are raised in correspondence to various analysis
Finally, information is displayed in dashboards, in the forms of textual summary, charts, numerical table, etc., so that users can quickly identify any special situations and respond to them. Data can be highlighted and summarized to easy digestion by users. Besides the main functional blocks are search engines, administration tools and content management functions. Search engines are essential for meeting users’ ad hoc demands on information. Administration tools allow information to be displayed differently and new information categories to be created (e.g., responding to breaking news). Content management allows information to be created, deleted or updated, which includes forums, blogs and polls, etc.

Data Sources

Input to a BI system could be public or private. Public information sources are those available to the public on the Internet. These include economic data, regulations and economic outlooks released by the government, as well as industrial news, analysis, reports, and public opinions on various websites and blogs. Private sources refer to the internal data from the company, e.g., operational and financial data, emails, customer profiles, and internal report. Data across these two information sources could be numeric data, structure records and unstructured texts. The table below summarizes the various types of information in a matrix.
Internal SourcesExternal Sources
Numeric and structured
  • Business data (inventory, sales, data)
  • Operational data
  • Data spread across company databases
  • Global economic data (GDP, inflation, central bank rates, export/import data)
  • Financial data (Bank interest rates, flight costs, stock prices, exchange rates)
Textual and unstructured
  • Reports, meeting minutes, documents
  • Emails, customer profiles
  • Internal blogs, best practices
  • Government polices and regulations
  • Industrial and business news
  • Public views, expert commentary

Out-of-the-Box or Custom-Made

To provide maximum effectiveness, a BI solution ideally is custom-made for a business, fitting every aspect of the business squarely. Out-of-the-Box solution does not work without extensive configuration, compromising speed, functionality and effectiveness of the solution. On the other hand, custom-made solution could be costly with large implementation efforts.

Suntek BI Solution provides the advantages of both sides. Built on Suntek’s award winning search technology, Suntek BI Solution is a suite of technologies encompassing all of the major functions in the functional architecture described earlier, each carefully engineered to deliver power, functionality and extensibility. Suntek has built, launched and operated a large number of applications with the BI Solution. Customers can try them out to understand what they need and what they can do with the technology, and enjoy low implementation cost and fast time-to-launch.

Case Study: Finance portal 88iv.com

http://www.88iv.com/

88iv.com is a finance portal providing investors a wide spectrum of information to help them make investment decisions wisely. The following lists how the BI functions are realized in 88iv.com and a screenshot of the home page illustrating some of the major functions.

Information sources

  • External websites
  • RSS feeds

Data collected

  • Stock prices and indexes, exchange rates, precious metal prices, commodity prices
  • Company performance data: stock price, price-earning ratio (P/E), price-book ratio (P/B), asset value, period and annual performance, etc.
  • News and press releases
  • And more ...

Cleansing

  • Web pages not within the scope of interests are removed
  • Duplicates are removed based on content similarity

Tagging

  • News are tagged automatically based on business rules
  • News can be tagged by users

Concept mining

  • Concepts are discovered and extracted based on business rules
  • News are categorized based on concepts

Relation mining

  • Links are created automatically between news and categorized based on their common concepts

Opinion mining

  • Expert opinions on stocks are extracted and organized for easy browsing

  • Investment rating and reports from major investment banks are extracted and organized for easy browsing

Usage mining

  • Pages accesses are tracked and concepts embodied in the pages are analyzed to identify users’ high-level interests

Monitoring

  • Important financial data are monitored frequently
  • High performers and low performers are displayed and color-coded

Actioning

  • Email alerts are sent out based on user-specified triggers

Let BI Empower your Business

What about developing a BI portal for your business? Whether you are in the banking industry or in the manufacturing sector, whether you are in retail or in hi-tech, you will always benefit by knowing a little bit more about your business. Imagine a manufacturer having instant access to:
  • Macroeconomic data, GDP, central bank rates, inflation rates, employment data, consumer price index
  • Material prices, suppliers, lowest prices and their suppliers, flight costs, gas prices, energy costs
  • New products and services offered in the industry and, in particular, from your competitors
  • New technologies, machinery, packaging, disposal
  • Government regulations and policies
Contact Suntek at suntek@suntek.com.hk

Screenshots of 88iv.com

Refer to the figure on the right.

Copyright (C) 2006 Suntek Computer Systems Limited. All rights reserved.