Tag Archives: Planning and Forecasting

Slowing Down, and Other Counter-Intuitive Steps to Agile BI

Are BI managers and professionals sometimes too eager to please the business? Are centralized BI efforts slowing down progress? Should BI teams address requirements before the business even asks for them? These questions may seem counter-intuitive, but Wayne Eckerson, director of research for TDWI, says that the best intentions for BI efforts in many organizations may actually result in sluggish projects, duplication of effort, and misaligned priorities between BI teams and the business. (more…)

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Your 2008 Data Integration Plans, Part 5:Adding Real-Time Business Intelligence to your Information Portfolio

There are two things I hate in discussions about real-time business intelligence.

First, pundits cite great examples of the business need for real-time BI, but then go overboard by assuming that every report and analysis needs to be done using real-time data.

The reality is most analysis is done looking at specific timeframes (daily, weekly or monthly), trending (YTD) or period over period analysis. Up-to-the minute data would be discarded or create “noise” in analysis. The cost both to load and then to filter out the irrelevant real-time data for analysis is much greater than most enterprises are willing or able to spend. And it just makes things too complex.

The second area that riles me is that people, even high powered architects who should know better, oversimplify real-time BI. As I mentioned when I discussed SOA, too often real-time BI is seen as solely accessing data rather than involving more complex data integration. Other than accessing very limited data such as data related to an individual customer, much reporting and analysis involves gathering and transforming data from many locations. This requires data integration rather than just data access.

Too many times enterprises do something because it’s technically possible rather than because the business needs it. Technology implemented in the absence of business value is NOT a project you want to deliver in 2008.

So what should you deliver in 2008 in relation to real-time BI? The two key ingredients to success:

1. Design your architecture to match real-time data with who needs it rather than burdening everyone with real-time data. Most of them don’t need it.

2. Incorporate real-time data integration to support your real-time BI processes.

Note: data integration is not just a batch, ETL function. You can implement data integration with ETL, EAI, EII or via SOA. Real-time BI needs data integration so you should use your data integration suite to implement what your BI and business users’ needs are regardless of whether they need yesterday’s data or what happened a few seconds ago.

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Are You Prepared for the Q4 Push?

Now that you’re back “mentally” from the summer it’s time to focus on your fall activities to prepare you for the Q4 push. But before you get to the Q4 fire drills there is one big task ahead of you – planning for next year and getting your budget approved.

We talked last time about connecting your data projects with business initiatives and I’d like to review the process in relation to getting your budget submission completed and approved.

It’s really a simple process, of course with a lot of politics thrown in. (Sorry, but you’ll have to handle those yourself!) To play the game you have got to understand what the business is planning both strategically and tactically, as well as what programs or projects are being planned and funded to those objectives. You’ve got to have a queue of projects that you feel need to get done along with others that you keep hoping there will be time and resources for someday. The time is now.

First, learn about the business strategy and the initiatives (programs and projects) planned to support them. Second, think about your data-integration and enterprise data-management projects in that business light.

What DI or EDM projects would help various business initiatives succeed? After all, most of these business initiatives need data, data integration and some form of performance management in order to succeed. The business may not have made that connection, but it’s up to IT management to “connect the dots” and link the business initiatives with the EDM projects.

Once the business is linked to the EDM projects it is up to the business to push the EDM plan along with all the other components of their initiative. IT management becomes a partner, but it’s the business that’s driving the business initiative bus. What better way to get not only funding, but also business commitment and participation in your data-governance and ICC programs?

After that’s done and you’ve got next year’s plans in place, it’s time to get back to the Q4 fire-drills.

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Enterprise Data Management – It’s not just for finance any more

When we discuss Enterprise Data Management (EDM) we’re almost always talking about how it applies to finance. It’s no wonder. Finance is where EDM has made the biggest inroads and the biggest impact so far. With governmental regulations such as Sarbanes-Oxley and intense pressure from stakeholders, such as investors, the CFO has to seriously look at effectively managing data. EDM has enabled organizations large and small to give up their data shadow system habit and get on the “single version of the truth” bandwagon.

A long-term benefit for companies implementing EDM would be the establishment of an end-to-end data integration framework as a shared service model. Developed once, and reused throughout your enterprise to satisfy the data needs of business units around the globe, this data- integration service transforms cost fundamentals for IT investments, as well as accelerates deployment once in place. It becomes the data-integration “plug and play” that enables business people to tap into their data when needed. (more…)

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