‘Business’ can be construed as a term that is redolent with connotations of sales and profit & loss.  It sometimes means that the the concept of ‘business intelligence’ can be perceived as more relevant in the commercial sector than in the public sector.

‘Performance intelligence’ is perhaps a more appropriate term in the Public Sector. Whichever term you prefer, there is an increasing need to demonstrate value for money, higher productivity and improving results in terms of outcomes across the Public Sector.

At the WellcomeTrust Centre for Gene Regulation and Expression at the University of Dundee, a research team under the aegis of Professor Angus Lamond is conducting research aimed at understanding basic cell mechanisms and how genes and chromosomes work. The research programme has completed the sequencing of the entire human genome which enables them to more effectively  understand the relationship between genes, inherited disorders, and diseases, including cancer.

In terms of the data volumes, these experiments can involve analysing more than 400,000 fragments from as many as 10,000 proteins. This research can generate 600 gigabytes or more of raw data per experiment.  The challenge for the research team was to identify a high performance business intelligence solution to help analyse large volumes of research data on how genes and chromosomes work.

The Dundee research team chose Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 for its experiments because it offered features that were highly applicable to their work. Biomedical researchers were already using Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Analysis Services to help understand the proteome—the set of expressed proteins in an organism—and have recently added Microsoft SQL Server PowerPivot for Microsoft Excel to their business intelligence suite of applications.

PowerPivot for Excel gives users the power to create compelling self-service business intelligence solutions. It supports sharing and collaboration in a Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 environment, and helps researchers increase operational efficiencies through SQL Server 2008 R2–based management tools.

You can read the full story and view a video of the project to find out more about how to apply business intelligence (or performance intelligence if you prefer) to speed up acquiring outcomes from large volumes of data using tools such as PowerPivot for Excel.

Posted by Ian