Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Setting Up Shop

Why project managing business intelligence implementations is different

Consider yourself as managing the construction of a building - you need to design, build and furnish it. Now let’s say that building as an IT system.
Where ERP could be an office building – once built and furnished its ready to go – BI is more like a shop. It needs stock and then continual re-stocking.

So the initial system implementation for both is based on a similar waterfall-type approach:
ERP and other business process systems tend to have an inherent set of business processes they enable. A BI system, on the other hand, can encompass any number of business processes – just add data sources and business objects.`

A bit like the departments of your shop – you can open new departments as fit consumer tastes.

You also need to think about the stock within those departments, keeping that relevant. Likewise a BI system needs to ensure it business objects stay relevant to the evolving organisation.

So once live, a BI system is cyclical. This means that during the system implementation the processes you set up to manage this constant change are as important, if not more so, than the initial business objects which are delivered.

This process will be used and stress-tested during the initial implementation for the initial ‘stock up’, and then used repeatedly post go-live
So whether your shop is a supermarket (enterprise-wide BI system) or corner shop users visit your shop to choose the business objects they want.

Some of your stock goes out of fashion and sits on the shelves, eventually needing disposal. In the same vein BI content becomes unused and a well-managed BI system has processes to manage its update or disposal, keeping the system appealing and meaningful to users.

Project management should set up not just the platform but the processes to mean success for the future

  • Acceptance criteria needs to cover both

  • Processes are more important than the content

  • Technology – auditing and impact analysis – can support the processes but is only useful if processes are in place to harness it

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Data Replication - It's Not My Area of Expertise!

Can you give me an idea for a blog about data replication? Sorry mate that’s not my area of expertise! Great thanks, actually yeah great, that’s a really good point. Who really deep down, if you had a choice would want their area of expertise be data replication? 

Apart from potentially insulting a global community of IT professionals I think I’ve just insulted myself! But honestly how many high schoolers dreamt of analysing data replication logs and the Change data capture routine of a heterogeneous database environment? I would guess not many. And I think that is the point. Most requirements from a business level are straightforward I need data to go from point A, to point B and maybe back again. Sure there are often manipulation needed on the way however really do you want to be spending your whole day on this one?

Whether it's meeting a requirement for Big data, business analytics, or an online application supporting huge numbers of users many businesses will have considered using an off the shelf CDC or data replication software package.

Now I appreciate someone somewhere has a tough job working things out in terms of the routines needed for a resilient data replication process. But once you’ve done the math then what do you want? I say it’s a CDC/ data replication software package that can be easily implemented to manage this process you’ve spilt blood, sweat and tears formulating. Do you want to spend hours having to learn effectively a new language? Do you want to pay someone else to come and teach you how to learn this new language?   

If this rings true for you and you want to an intuitive CDC/ data replication software package then I use DBMoto and data replication isn’t my area of expertise!
Writted by Ben Hedger, Senior Sales Consultant, DSCallards