Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Business Intelligence for Life

People change. The world changes. Organisations change. You’ve changed.

Those jeans you bought a couple of years might be a bit tight (or loose) these days… what do you, bite the bullet and buy a new pair or diet/gorge until they fit?

You needn’t face the same dilemma with your business intelligence (BI) system. BI can evolve as an organisation evolves. As one organisation acquires another, enters a new market, changes business model or myriad other evolutions, its BI can adapt and help rather than hinder the change.

The secret to adaptable BI is understanding how the relationships between the key elements of a BI architecture; being able to join the dots.

A user let’s say Gemma (a Brummie HR manager at Devon county council) has access to payroll and time & attendance reports. Those reports are built against a business view of the data. The business view connects to the data warehouse. The data warehouse is loaded from the HR system, with the data transformed en route by an ETL tool.

Local elections come around and control of the council swings from one political party to another. The new incumbent is elected partly on a mandate of increasing efficiency and decreasing costs (sounds familiar?) A new edition of the HR system is required to support this agenda with flexible working and employee performance management.

The snag? The new edition stores its data differently… so if the council upgrade, Gemma’s payroll reports won’t work because the feeds to the data warehouse are now broken. The auditors might have something to say about this never mind the employees if they are underpaid.

The answer is a system which shows the relationships between the key elements, in this case allowing administrators to see which data feeds are affected and the data they consume, but able to do the same for changes at any level of the BI architecture.

SAP, like most of the big BI vendors now, provides a metadata management system. The software does come at a cost, but is usually small considering the returns it offers.

So if you sponsor a BI project, think about it – you and your organisation will get more value in the long run.

If you run a BI system, think about it – your job will be easier in the long run.

It’s like having a pair of jeans that expand or shrink as you do.

If you’re interested, talk to us – we can help.

Written by: Angus Menter, Project Manager, DSCallards

For more information, visit www.dscallards4bi.com

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