FAQS

Please search our FAQs for answers related to BI, Self-Service Analytics and our EiB Analytics products and services.

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  • 1. My company already has its own corporate databases, which we use as our BI solution to perform analysis of our data, so why do I need EiB Analytics?
     

    If you're the only consumer of the data within your own corporate databases, and if you have the necessary skills and security privileges to access these databases, and if all the data you need can be found within those sources, then you probably don't need a formal BI solution, or so you think. By contrast, if you regularly need to share information with others whose technical skills and security privileges vary, and if you are wanting to manipulate data from disparate sources, then you most definitely do need to create a BI solution that is both easy and reliable to use and maintain. EiB Analytics allows you to do all that, and a lot more, all without leaving Excel.

    However, we also recommend you invest in a data mart, such as SQL Server, which will allow you to pull data from multiple sources, process the data in a uniform manner, document and optimize it all. The key objective for data marts is to provide the end user with the data that is most relevant, in the shortest possible amount of time.

  • 2. What are self-service analytics?
     

    Self-Service Analytics is a form of business intelligence (BI) which enable enterprises to perform queries and generate reports on their own, with nominal IT support. Self-service analytics BI tools should be simple-to-use, with basic analytic capabilities and an underlying data model that has been simplified or scaled down for ease of understanding and straightforward data access. EiB Report Studio and EiB AppStudio provide two such comprehensive self-service analytics solutions.

  • 3. What is SQL Server?
     

    SQL Server is a database server developed by Microsoft, which primarily stores and retrieves data requested by other applications. These applications may run on the same or different devices, and allow an enterprise to securely query, update and reorganize their data.

    EiB Analytics is a BI system which then enables users to tap into the back-end of SQL Server to find valuable business data, create reports and visuals, and easily share data with other users, all through our Excel add-in.

  • 4. How does EiB Analytics work?
     

    Data is read directly from your data source, whether this be an accounting system, such as Sage, or your ERP, all we initially need is access to your data source. The data is then stored in a secure, robust enterprise datamart using Microsoft's SQL Server Analysis Services.

    End users then access this data through the EiB Analytics Excel add-in to run powerful, interactive reports and dashboards which are intuitive to use and easy to create.

  • 5. What is a cube?
     

    Cubes are powerful data constructs for rapidly aggregating multi-dimensional data. For example, a cube could take data about a product, the number of units sold and its sales value, then add them up by month, by store, by month and store and by any other possible combination. They are known as cubes because the end data structure resembles a cube.

    So, if your business wants to perform analysis on large volumes of data, a cube is the ideal solution. Please note however, to build cubes within SQL Server, you will need to have installed SQL Server management studio.

  • 6. What is Power BI?
     

    Power BI is a business analytics tool and a cloud platform developed by Microsoft, that allows users to create reports and dashboards with interactive visualisations. In addition, Power BI provides self-service analytics data warehousing tools, cloud-based BI services, known as ‘Power BI Services’, and a desktop based interface, called Power BI desktop.

  • 7. How can I use Power BI and EiB Analytics to create a self-service analytical app?
     

    EiB AppStudio is an EiB data warehousing tool that allows you to combine disparate data sources and add time intelligence and other business logic without coding and reliance on more technical staff and database administrators. Furthermore, the tool allows cleansing and enhancing of data depending on how a business wants to view it inside the app.

    Once the app has been produced and deployed, Power BI can be used to connect to this data source and create dashboards and reports containing highly interactive visualisations allowing users to get an even better view of the data.

    These can be also deployed through the cloud and shared with colleagues. This demonstrates the symbiotic relationship between EiB Analytics and Power BI to create an analytical app that is enhanced and can be shared with multiple stakeholders within an organisation.

  • 8. Can I create my own BI reporting app?
     

    You can indeed, with EiB AppStudio, which allows enterprises to design their very own bespoke data reporting and visualisation apps, whilst EiB ReportStudio allows you to create comprehensive reports and perform data analytics, all without leaving Excel.

    Both of these automated Management Information (MI) applications have been developed specially to make BI simpler, faster, and more value-adding for both technical and non-technical users.

    So, with EiB’s comprehensive training programme alongside EiB AppStudio and EiB ReportStudio, you’ll be building your apps in no time at all! Please note that training is not included as standard with all products. Please speak with one of our consultants to find out the cost implications for our training programmes.

  • 9. I know some of my data may not be correct because my source systems do not have rigorous validation at the point of data capture. Can you do anything about that?
     

    The short answer is yes! EiB consultants will work with you to understand your business rules (over and above your system rules) for validating and cleansing your data. We will build those rules in to your reporting App and transform or exclude (your choice) the anomalous data when building the reporting cube. We will also provide you with access to validation and error reports to assist you with identifying and rectifying source data issues.

  • 10. Our organisation makes use of Citrix/Terminal Services/Other virtual desktops. Does your EiB Analytics solution work with that?
     

    Yes, all EiB solutions and Apps are tested, proven and working seamlessly in customer environments utilising both Microsoft Terminal Services and Citrix products.

  • 11. How can I raise a support ticket?
     

    If you are experiencing any kind of issue with our products, then you will need to raise a ticket with our support team, using Kayako, our support system.

    You can either click here, to access Kayako directly, or else select the ‘Get Help’ section from the ‘EiB Analytics’ tab followed by selecting ‘Support’.  EiB Analytics will take you directly to the entry page of the support site. If you are already registered, it is useful for you to log in first as your account information will have details that will automatically populate the support ticket where appropriate. If you are yet to register, we suggest that you do so as, from a user perspective it is faster and easier to raise a ticket once logged in rather than having to fill a form out in its entirety.

    Although possible to enter without logging in this is a longer process and requires the user to fill in a greater portion of the ticket.

    For more information on how to raise a support ticket, please click here.

  • 12. How do I back-up my database?
     

    To perform a back-up of your EiB Analytics database, you will first need access to your SQL Server Management Studio. Once you are logged into the Database Engine, please click here and follow the steps provided.

  • 13. Can we automate processing using EiB Analytics, as well as allowing users to process as and when they need to?
     

    Yes, you can automate the processes for both our out of the box EiB Financial Analytics applications and those that are purpose built. Within the finance tab there are options to both define when the cube process is run automatically as well as an option to process as and when required. In order to achieve this both options create Jobs within the SQL Agent. Typically, the automated job runs once daily but should this need to be more frequent any user familiar with SQL agent can amend the job created to process more frequently.

    Purpose built applications use the windows task scheduler to trigger the necessary EiB AppStudio files to process the application. As this is native to windows this can be easily controlled by IT administrators.

  • 14. How will we know when the cube is processed?
     

    When using EiB Report Studio the line below the report title shows a time stamp of the last completed cube process. For EiB Financial Analytics applications process logs can be opened from within EiB Report Studio. For our purpose built BI applications the processing writes to a log table within the database. When implementing the application, your consultant will create a report against the log table. Typically, your consultant will also include a time stamp in the application menu.

  • 15. As EiB have created applications for customers in so many industries will there be a significant lead time before the right consultant is available?
     

    While it is true that EiB have worked with and still work with many different organisations within many different industries our methodology remains consistent. Our consultants are flexible to be able to analyse, design and produce each specific application to for each customer with the added benefit that any of the consultants and support team will be able to assist with further development, support or general questions on the application without having to be domain experts. Naturally, during the project and immediately after going live your assigned consultant will be your first point of call but should they be unavailable then one of the other consultants on the team will be happy and able to assist.

If you have questions or comments, please contact us through the information below:

Excel in Business Ltd, 20-22 Wenlock Road, London, N1 7GU | [email protected]