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Top 10 Business Intelligence Interview Questions and Answers [For Beginners & Experienced]

Introduction

When you buy a product from an e-commerce site, you will often find that you will be asked to review the product and provide feedback on the services. Likewise, when you interact with a customer care agent, your conversation is recorded, and again you are requested to give your feedback and suggestions. When you open a webpage, you are asked if you would like to enable cookies. In today’s day and age, businesses are constantly gathering information. 

Every time we interact with a business, the interaction is converted to data by the company. Any information businesses can collect and collate is beneficial for their future decision-making. All businesses have their objectives and goals and it is based on these that they collect data from their customers. 

But how does an organisation make sense of the mountain of data that is available to them? It is humanly impossible to brush through all the information to draw relevant insights that would be useful for a business. The time and effort to comb through data manually is immense. 

The modern business highly depends on the data that is generated by consumers and users. Converting data into meaningful information is essential to understand and analyze the business insight that will help drive the business into profitable actions. That is where Business Intelligence (BI) comes into effect.

You may be wondering, what exactly does Business Intelligence mean? Business Intelligence (BI) combines data mining, data visualisation, business analytics, process analysis, performance benchmarking, and data tools and infrastructure to uncover actionable insights from business data in user-friendly formats such as graphs, dashboards, charts, and reports. By presenting past and current trends in easy-to-understand visual formats, BI allows businesses to make effective management and business decisions, thus, increasing their competitive advantage. 

The field is competitive. But if you want to leave your mark and crack the interview for a Business Intelligence industry position, follow our list of BI interview questions and sail through the interview without a sweat. These BI interview questions are specifically designed to offer you a glance at what you’re going to face when dealing with recruiters.

This article will provide all the necessary business intelligence interview questions and answers for your interview preparation.

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The Business Intelligence industry and its professionals rapidly evolve with time and space with no specific signs of slowing down. It is because almost every large enterprise is heavily dependent on data-driven analysis and its predictions. 

Hence, every company is transforming its decision-making abilities through Business Intelligence tools. So, we have compiled the most commonly asked Business Intelligence interview questions and answers. These questions are popularly asked in the top companies and can help you clear the Business Analyst interviews.

Business Intelligence Interview Questions And Answers 

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Here the top business intelligence interview questions and answers

1. What do you understand by Business Intelligence? (This is one of the most common business intelligence interview questions)

The term Business Intelligence refers to a collective meaning, including technologies, tools, applications, practices for the data collection, and providing those data to the users, especially to help in running the business or a part of it. 

In other words, the business analyst’s reports generated and compiled using the Business Intelligence approaches are consumed by the higher management administrative and business executives to make better decisions for the overall maturity of the business.

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2. What are the primary objectives of Business Intelligence?

The primary objectives of Business Intelligence are:

    1. Business Intelligence is leverage to make the following enterprise-level decisions.
    2. Business Intelligence helps in identifying the wrong tracks and approaches of a business.
    3. Business Intelligence can cluster the data for analysis and then compile them to monitor corrective actions.
    4. Business Intelligence is also useful for determining whether a company is executing as per plan.
    5. Identification and extraction of trends and insights from business are possible using Business Intelligence tools.
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3. What are the popular Business Intelligence (BI) tools used by Business Analysts?

The popular Business Intelligence (BI) tools used by Business Analysts are:

  1. Microsoft BI
  2. Cognos
  3. MicroStrategy
  4. Tableau
  5. SAS
  6. Business Objects
  7. OBIEE
  8. Hyperion

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4. How will you implement a BI system in your professional approach?

There are three steps to implement a BI system:

  1. Extract the raw data from the corporate database. The data might be available across various heterogeneous databases.
  2. Then, the data is cleaned to put them in the data-warehouse by linking the table and forming the data cubes.
  3. Lastly, using BI systems, business analysts can extract business insights, request ad-hoc reports, analyze those clean datasets, and predict the business decisions.

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5. How will you define OLAP (Online Analytical Processing)? (This is one of the most common business intelligence interview questions)

OLAP (Online Analytical Processing) is a technological concept applied in various BI tools and applications that helps in executing complex analytical calculations. OLAP analyzes the trends, performs intricate calculations (like aggregation, summation, count, average, min, max), and carries out sophisticated data modeling in a BI system. OLAP systems’ primary objective is to diminish the response time of queries and improve the effectiveness of the calculated reports.

6. How will you define OLTP (Online Transaction Processing)?

OLTP (Online Transaction Processing) systems are the vast collection of small data transactions like insert, delete, and update. These are operational databases that produce quick processing of a query. It also determines the integrity and consistency of data. It is the number of transactions per second that helps in measuring the efficiency of an OLTP system.

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7. Define the term Data Warehousing? (Another common business intelligence interview questions)

Data Warehousing is the repository system used to analyze and report data from various heterogeneous sources and forms. These data will be available from the oracle database, SQL Server, Postgres, or a simple excel sheet. The warehouse uses one central mechanism called the repository, through which the business analyst can fetch all historical reports associated with that data.

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8. Mentioned some characteristics of the Data warehouse

    1. A data warehouse is a separate database responsible for storing historical information records and is kept separate from an operational database.
    2. Processed and analyzed data from a data warehouse helps make top management strategic and tactical decisions based on the analysis.
    3. Analyzing data in the data warehouse helps the business analysts and users see the current business trends.
    4. The data warehouse is also responsible for consolidating historical data analysis.

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9. What are the key advantages of using BI systems? (Another common business intelligence interview question)

The key advantages of using BI systems are:

    1. It helps boost productivity and makes it possible to create a business report with just a single click.
    2. It also helps increase the visibility of the data analysis and possibly identify those areas that demand attention.
    3. As per the organization’s goals, the BI system sets the accountability.
    4. BI systems automate several tasks by offering predictive analysis, benchmarking, modeling figures, and statistical calculations using different methodologies.

10. Mention two disadvantages of Business Intelligence Systems. (Another common business intelligence interview questions)

The two disadvantages of Business Intelligence Systems are:

    1. The BI systems are costly, so using them for small and medium scale enterprises will prove expensive.
    2. Implementing BI systems for the data warehouse is complicated. Hence, the complexity of using it is another drawback of it.

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11. What are aggregates?

Aggregates are a form of data found in the aggregate table. To calculate these aggregates, various aggregate functions such as min, max, count average, etc. are used.

12. Explain in one line the meaning of granularity.

Granularity tells us about the level (high to low) of information residing in the table. The lower the granularity is, the low-level information it contains.

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Here are a few more  BI developer interview questions to keep your preparation on track!

13. What are the differences between OLAP and OLTP?

One of the most common business intelligence analyst interview questions is to outline the differences between OLAP and OLTP. The differences are as follows:

  1. Purpose: As the name suggests, Online Analytical Processing  (OLAP) serves the purpose of ‘analysing’ large-scale, complex data to enable efficient decision-making and problem-solving. On the other hand, Online Transactional Processing is optimised for processing a large volume of real-time transactions quickly. 
  2. Data source: OLAP comprises consolidated data that draws on multiple datasets like different OLTP databases. OLTP uses traditional DBMS to store a large volume of short real-time transactions.
  3. Processing time: OLTP generally has a very fast processing time in comparison to OLAP. The former processes a large volume of real-time transactions while OLAP processes complex data which can vary in size and complexity affecting its processing time. 
  4. Backup and Recovery: OLAP can be backed less frequently as they don’t constantly modify current data and even if data is lost, it may be recovered from OLTP databases. In contrast, OLTP requires frequent backups since they are transactional and updated in real-time to maintain the efficient running of the business.  
  5. End-user: The final user of the OLAP are knowledge workers, data analysts, and data scientists. On the other hand, OLTP is used by client-facing personnel and frontline workers (cashiers, hotel desk clerks) and self-service customer applications (travel, online banking services). 

14. What is dimensional modelling and how is it relevant to Business Intelligence?

If you are a BI developer, you should be prepared for one of the most common BI developer interview questions. Dimensional modelling is a data organisation method that organises data into different levels or dimensions. It comprises facts and dimensions tables. It enables BI reporting, query, and analysis which allows users to analyse data across several dimensions using common calculations. It makes data retrieval easier through optimization for select operations. If you’re applying for the position of analyst, this is one of the popularly asked business intelligence analyst interview questions

15.What are the differences between a fact table and a dimension table? 

One of the most important Business Intelligence interview questions for experienced candidates is to identify the differences between a fact table and a dimension table. Although the two are connected, the differences are as follows:

  1. A fact table is at the centre of the star or snowflake schema, while the dimension table remains connected to the fact table as an important part of the star or snowflake schema. 
  2. The fact table contains the quantitative data that needs to be analysed. On the other hand, the dimension table contains descriptive information, that is, attributes or dimensions describing the objects of the fact table. 
  3. Fact table is a vertical table while the dimension table is horizontal. 
  4. While a dimension table contains hierarchical attributes, the fact table does not. 
  5. There are more dimension tables than fact tables in a schema. 

Conclusion

The competition in the field of Business Intelligence is tough. The industry is always on the lookout for competent professionals. If you want to put your best foot forward and get ahead of your competitors, it is crucial that you brush up on your interview skills, and practising Business Intelligence interview questions for experienced can be an excellent way to do so. All these essential Business Intelligence interview questions and answers will help you boost the business analyst job interview. upGrad provides various business analyst courses and programs 

If you are curious to learn about data science, check out IIIT-B & upGrad’s Executive PG Program in Data Science which is created for working professionals and offers 10+ case studies & projects, practical hands-on workshops, mentorship with industry experts, 1-on-1 with industry mentors, 400+ hours of learning and job assistance with top firms.

What are the five major stages of business intelligence?

Business Intelligence (BI) is the process of transforming the obtained information from business data into knowledge that could be used to enhance the business's growth. Data represents facts and figures, while information is processed data. And when the information is further processed, it adds sense and meaning to it to become knowledge.

Business intelligence has five major stages:

1. Data Sourcing – Obtaining data from different sources in the electric form, such as digital cameras, database queries, computer file access, web searches, scanners, etc.
2. Data Analysis – The data is analyzed by estimating current trends, understanding and predicting missing information, summarizing the available information, and predicting future trends.
3. Situation Awareness – BI is about filtering the irrelevant information to stay only with the relevant information that can be of any value.
4. Risk Assessment – BI is about assessing the risks and benefits of different decisions that are taken.
5. Decision Support – BI helps to assess every decision that has been taken to improve on portions where it is required and make everything smooth.

What are the key elements of the business intelligence system?

One of the most common mistakes made by organizations is that they consider front-end BI tools to be similar to BI systems. But, there's a lot more included in every BI system that can be of huge help for the organization.

The key elements of every business intelligence system are:

1. Data modeling
2. Data warehouse
3. Appliance systems
4. Source systems
5. Enterprise Information Management (EIM)
6. Technologies and Tools
7. ETL process

What are the major types of business reports?

There is a huge variety of business reports. If we move towards the category of managerial processes, the major categories can be grouped into balanced scorecard-type reports, dashboard-type reports, and metric management reports.

1. Metric Management Reports – These reports include outcome-oriented metrics based on the key performance indicators.
2. Dashboard-type Reports – These reports provide static as well as a customizable view of different performance indicators on a single page.
3. Balanced Scoreboard-type Reports – These reports include an integrated view for determining the company’s health from different perspectives, including financial, growth, customer, and business view.

These are the major types of business reports being used by every business in the market.

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