Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Microsoft Will Cease to Support Windows Server 2003 and Small Business Server from 14th July 2015. The clock is ticking ...

If your business relies on your SAP Reporting Platform 2008 and you are on Windows Server 2003 you may need to upgrade! 

July 14 2015 sees Windows Server 2003 reach its end-of-life. The mainstream support finished July 13 2010 and it has been in ”extended support” since then. This means that no further patches or security updates will be available from Microsoft. In itself this poses a Security risk and Compliance problem for businesses. Most third party applications are now only supported on the latest 64bit platforms and application support from these bodies is another major risk driver for the change.

If you are running the SAP Crystal Server 2008 or older you may need to upgrade your platform when you upgrade the windows server to the new version Windows 2012. 

This transition can be managed smoothly and expertly by our experienced team here as we have perfected the migration process so you don’t have to worry.

We can smoothly migrate all your history and instances along with all your reports, show you all the new and improved features including the Universes for easier reporting and even take you mobile

When end of life is reached, you’re at increased risk of corrupting your data and running into unsupported applications. Application support challenges can also be complex and costly. Save time and money now to secure the future. 

Call us on 0800 652 4050 or email us today!

Written by Donna Hornickel, BI Sales Executive, DSCallards

Thursday, 19 March 2015

The Universe and an Analytic Database?

If you’re modelling your data into business information in the universe then surely creating an analytic database as well is overkill?

It’s a distinct possibility. If your data is in reasonably good shape, then let the universe go at it with what it does best – see “The Universe Is Your Friend”.

However, complex computations such as a validation rule calculating customer eligible for a loyalty bonus may best pre-processed.

Taking this dreamed up criteria as an example:
  • has to have had a certain number of transactions for qualifying products (which need to be looked up from one source, decoded and compared to another source)
  • over a set value (which varies by customer country)
  • in a particular time period
  • had no gaps in their membership in that period.
  • made no derogatory comments about the Chief Exec's gold handicap.
  • opted in to received worldly enlightments about future products.
  • and not be related to any member past or present of the company's illustrious management structure.

Whilst the computation could be run at query time it would probably be better pre-processed, so at query time the only computation is true or false.

The universe doesn’t store data. You can sit it on top of a transactional system and let users see who’s bought what products in the last five seconds. But asking that same system which customers are eligible for a loyalty bonus, well that might make two people unhappy. Firstly the next customer waiting for the system to respond so they can buy one of your shiny products, but also the account humble manager wanting to know which of her customers she can delight with news of their eligibility. If the customer loyalty bonus object was selected with a few other objects of similar complexity, the resulting database query could take tens of seconds or over a minute to run. After waiting a minute for that information her mind may wander on to that spreadsheet she keeps of her own sales to her key customers and decide her time is better spent maintaining her own little island of data.

So by trimming the query run time from tens of second or a minute plus to milliseconds what will the impact be? Probably,
  • more people will use the system to make fact-based decisions
  • people will rely less on their own islands of data, meaning more consistency in decision making between people and departments
  • people will find uses for the system you or they didn't originally envisage
  • you may see a cultural shift in the way people use information.  After all, data is the new gold!
Written by Angus Menter, BI Practice Manager, DSCallards - The Business Objects People

The Universe is Your Friend

It lets you model your business data into information that makes sense to humans who need to make good decisions.

It makes a little knowledge a powerful rather than dangerous thing by quietly translating your human question into an unambiguous data query that a data machine can respond to accurately.

Take for example products by supplier, rather than just returning a list, the universe will ask whether you mean available products, previously stocked products or previously sold products. The universe is semantically dynamic – the results are dependent on the meaning. While the lists may be similar they will probably be slightly different, which could be the difference in determining which supplier to award a contract to.

If you want product in stock and products sold it will ensure that one value isn’t multiplied by the other. Which these data machines will do if you don’t talk them right.

It lets you roam through time, space, products, customers, suppliers and the other dimensions of your business.

It presents numbers as you expect to see them: costs summed by material, inventory counted by product, headcount averaged over time.

It ensures that Fran from Finance and Oliver of Operations share a common vocabulary of clearly defined business terms.

Love is a strong word for a piece of technology you can’t touch or feel and certainly can never love you back, but the universe does its job of bridging the gap between people and data really, really well.

To quote Flight of the Concords in ‘The Robots’, “a little understanding could make things better.”

Written by Angus Menter, BI Practice Manager, DSCallards - The Business Objects People