This series has to date been looking at various options that exist for implementing your Business Intelligence solution. Today we look at some insights on which type of solution is best.
For Business Intelligence which type of solution is best will ultimately depend on individual business circumstances. The solution type assessment that has been discussed in this series of articles will aid that decision.
We are in the age of careful spending. So companies need to know that each dollar spent is going to provide business value. It is important to develop a consolidated global view irrespective of operational software used. Consolidating data into a common platform is not always easy. The Data Warehouse must always be the single source of the truth for corporate information. This must be based on an open and flexible architecture that is extendible. To be clear, whether the data warehouse database is a bespoke design or implements a packaged solution there is still a large amount of work to be completed. There will always be the need to build a project team and acquire data for the data warehouse.
When ready made solutions provide best results
Generally ready-made solutions provide best results when they offer a high degree of integration for existing operational applications. If using a corporate-wide ERP or CRM solution that provides the backbone tying all corporate applications together then it is possible to utilise the associated data warehouse as the corporate Business Intelligence backbone. The preference for a pre-built database can be strengthened if all of the applications identified can be provided by the same vendor.
Ready-made solutions are becoming increasingly complex as the solution providers learn and adapt their data models based on real business scenarios, these will continue to evolve into the future.
What custom solutions can provide
Custom-made data warehouses are capable of supporting any application that is required to run against it. The primary concern will always be the amount of time necessary to develop any solution. Even where packaged Analytic applications are to be used is it generally necessary to tweak the metadata to enable them to function smoothly against the database. Often these Analytic applications can best be supported through a custom data mart, fed by the data warehouse – the single source of truth.
When custom solutions provide best results
Custom solutions provide the best results when there is a high degree of complexity in the corporate legacy architecture, even if there is an intention trim and simplify the architecture. Custom solutions are also best when the solution itself is likely to be unique in nature, e.g. when your corporation is genuinely the only corporation in the world doing this – however this situation is increasingly rare in today’s business climate.
Five years ago the combination of complex business processes and a complex architecture guaranteed that customised solutions were necessary. Today this is less clear cut. look at some industry models and see whether it is possible to adapt them before making the final decision.
Leveraging the Solution Type Assessment
In the earlier articles the author talked about a Solution Type Assessment. Through this process it is possible to build a score based on firstly mission criticality, and secondly the complexity rating for your organisation. These will act as a weighting factor for the importance of each item covered in the decision process.the weighting factor should be agreed before starting the assessment. In weighting there is a tendency for business to show a low weighting factor for IT issues, this MUST be avoided as the technical obstacles do need to be considered.
The Complexity to Provide column relates to the ability of the current data processing facilities to provide such data in a succinct and meaningful way. It becomes complex if data is stored in many different systems across the world, and in different languages. It is also complex if many types of data storage system are used (e.g. non-relational data stores and relational data bases can provide parts of the data).
Overall taking a solution type assessment will ensure the necessary due diligence considerations are covered. Of course capability has to assessed alongside the overall project costs. Customised solutions can be implemented over a longer period of time whereas ready-made solutions will generally be implemented altogether, even if some data comes on-line at a later date.
This series will be taking a break for a few weeks, but when it returns the next article will focus on: “Staffing your BI Solution”
Tags: Business Intelligence, Cost Effectiveness, Data Warehouse, Due Diligence, Strategy