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Implementing InterSystems IRIS Business Intelligence
Overview
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This chapter provides an overview of InterSystems IRIS Business Intelligence and the implementation tools and process. It discusses the following topics:
Be sure to consult the online InterSystems Supported Platforms document for this release for information on system requirements for Business Intelligence.
Purpose of Business Intelligence
The purpose of InterSystems Business Intelligence is to enable you to embed business intelligence (BI) into your applications so that your users can ask and answer sophisticated questions of their data. Your application can include dashboards, which contain graphical widgets. The widgets display data and are driven by pivot tables and KPIs (key performance indicators). For a pivot table, a user can display a listing, which displays source values.
Pivot tables, KPIs, and listings are queries and are executed at runtime:
Dashboards can include buttons and other controls that launch actions. Actions can apply or set filters, refresh the dashboard, open other dashboards or other URLs, run custom code, and so on. The system provides a set of standard actions, and you can define custom actions.
Business Intelligence Components to Add to Your Application
To add Business Intelligence to an application, you add some or all of the following components:
Recommended Architecture
As noted elsewhere, InterSystems generally recommends that you use mirroring as part of your high availability strategy. For any large-scale application, InterSystems recommends that you base your cubes on the application data that is on the mirror server, as shown in the following figure:
Specifically:
Note that for small-scale applications or demos, all the code and data can be in the same database.
For recommendations on Business Intelligence disaster recovery, see Business Intelligence and Disaster Recovery.
Main Implementation Steps
The implementation process includes the following steps:
  1. If the namespace in which you want to use Business Intelligence does not yet define a web application, define a web application for it. See the chapter Performing the Initial Setup.”
  2. Optionally map the Business Intelligence globals from other databases, for performance.
    See the chapter Performing the Initial Setup.”
  3. Create the cubes and optional subject areas. This process includes the following steps, which you iterate as needed:
    1. Define one or more cubes. In this step, you use either the Architect, Atelier, or both.
    2. Build the cubes. Here you use the Architect or the Terminal.
    3. Use the Analyzer to view the cubes and validate them.
    After the cubes are defined, define any subject areas based on those cubes.
    For information on creating cubes and subject areas, see Defining Models for InterSystems Business Intelligence.
    For information on using the Analyzer, see Using the Analyzer.
  4. Optionally create custom actions. See the chapter Defining Custom Actions.”
  5. Make changes as needed to keep the cubes current. The way that you do this depends on how current the data must be, as well as any performance considerations.
    See the chapter Keeping the Cubes Current.”
  6. Create pivot tables and dashboards. See Using the Analyzer and Creating Dashboards.
  7. Package the pivot tables and dashboards into InterSystems IRIS™ classes for easier deployment.
  8. Create links from your application to dashboards. See Accessing Dashboards from Your Application.”
At the appropriate points during this process, you may also have to do the following:
Implementation Tools
You use the following tools during the implementation process:
Accessing the Samples Shown in This Book
Most of the samples in this book are part of the Samples-BI sample (https://github.com/intersystems/Samples-BI) or the Samples-Aviation sample (https://github.com/intersystems/Samples-Aviation).
InterSystems recommends that you create a dedicated namespace called SAMPLES (for example) and load samples into that namespace. For the general process, see Downloading Samples for Use with InterSystems IRIS.
These samples include cube definitions, subject areas, KPIs, data connectors, and plug-ins. They also include sample pivot tables and dashboards.