Business intelligence (BI) is an integral part of any business or enterprise. A series of applications are used to gather, store and analyze important data that can then be accessed and used to make important decisions. An individual looking to go into the field of business intelligence needs to be well organized and have excellent communications skills. Interviewing for a BI position might be more like an exam than anything else. Business intelligence interview questions are far more technical and require that the candidate be well versed in the industry terminology and have a great understanding of the standard applications used.
Technical Business Intelligence Questions and Answers
Many questions asked during the interview will test the applicant’s knowledge of the field and their ability to use business intelligence software and other related applications.
Q: Could you please explain the concept of business intelligence?
A: Business intelligence is the management and collection of data that is used to help a business in the decision-making process. The gathered data can also be used to predict the outcome of various business operations. There are a few key steps in business intelligence, which include: the gathering of data, analysis of that data, a review of the situation, risk evaluation and then using all of this information to make the best decision for the business. This data and analysis can be used to make financial and sales decisions, and also help a company gain an edge over its competitors.
Q: What are some of the standard tools used in business intelligence?
A: Some of the standard business intelligence tools are:
– Crystal Reports
– Micro Strategy
– Microsoft OLAP
– Qlik View
Note: Make sure that the most frequently used solutions are mentioned, as well as new and successful programs. This will demonstrate your interest in the field and knowledge of trends. Both are very important.
Q: Describe what Online Analytical Processing is.
A: Online analytical processing, or OLAP, is a versatile tool that analyzes data stored within a multidimensional database. It allows the user to isolate pieces of information and view them from many different perspectives. For example Sales of a particular product in April can be compared to the sales of the same product in September. On the other hand, sales of a particular product can also be compared to other products sold in the area. OLAP software programs can also be used for data mining purposes.
Q: Please explain what a universe is in business intelligence.
A: A universe is a terminology used in the BusinessObjects application. It is actually the semantic layer between the end user and the data warehouse. A universe masks the complex, traditional database structure and replaces it with familiar business terminology. This makes it easier for the end user to understand and use.
Q: What is an aggregate table?
A: Aggregate tables summarize information gathered from existing warehouse data. An example could be yearly or monthly sales information. These aggregate tables are typically used to reduce query time, as the actual table is likely to have millions of records. Rather than retrieving the information from the actual table, it is taken from the aggregate table, which is much smaller. Retrieving that information directly would take quite a bit of time and would also put a huge strain on the server.
Q: Please explain what business intelligence dashboards are.
A: A business intelligence dashboard is, more or less, a reporting tool that tells a business how its performing at a particular point in time. It consolidates important pieces of information and creates a visual display so that a user can see whether or not the company is in good shape. A dashboard’s interface is usually customizable and can pull real-time data.
Behavioral BI Questions
Aside from technical questions, the applicant will likely be asked about how they perform certain tasks and what they would do in certain situations. These are much like the typical behavioral questions asked during an interview but are still geared towards the business intelligence field. These can be questions about data, analytics or reporting methods. Below are some potential questions and tips on how to answer them.
Q: How much experience do you have with dashboards, reporting tools and scorecards?
A: Be as thorough as possible and completely honest. If you have any experience at all in this field, there is a good chance you are pretty familiar with each of these tools. Tell the employer how long you have been working with these tools and how often you used them (i.e. daily or weekly).
Q: What is your method of analyzing data? Please provide some examples.
A: The interviewer is looking to find out how you approach data analysis via examples of what you have done in the past. Try to choose instances where you took a different approach or pinpointed something that was previously overlooked.
Q: What is the most important report you have created? Was this report easily understood by others? Were they able to grasp the implications of that data?
A: The employer wants to know if you are capable of turning complicated, complex data into a report that is easily understood by others in the company. You may be able to create compelling reports, but if the person who receives the report cannot comprehend the implications of your data, all of your hard work will mean nothing. Again, be thorough with your answer and give as much detail about the report as possible.
Depending on what position you have applied for, the questions may vary. Jot down some questions to ask during an interview before the meeting, as you will have an opportunity to ask some of your own towards the end. Business intelligence interview questions may be a bit more in-depth and technical in nature, but they are important in determining which candidates are truly knowledgeable in the area and able to provide the enterprise with the support it needs. Try not to be intimidated by the wording of the questions and focus on the core of what is being asked.