Business Intelligence (BI) / Data Warehouse (DW) Insider

BI Maturity Model Level 1 – Operational Reports

Business Intelligence, Posts Dec 16, 2010 No Comments

Overview of Operational Reports

Operational reports are pre-designed business reports that focus on listings of data at the detailed level with data presented within a highly-structured format.  Also known as “canned reports”, operational reports enable organizations to present data in a logical format and are designed to support the day-to-day activities of an organization at the transaction level. They are typically developed by information technology (IT) departments and/or advanced report users that have a good understanding of reporting tools, business rules, and database concepts.  In addition, operational reports can be scheduled, refreshed, and distributed on a regular basis.  Fundamentally operational reports are used by people with the responsibility for improving their organization’s operations.

Sample Operational Report

Sample Operational Report

The tools provide task-oriented line-item information on individual transactions at the granular level of detail.  Operational reports are ideal for printing and displaying lists of detailed records or transactions in richly-formatted manner.

Characteristics of Operational Reports

•  Presents data in a logical format
•  Data is distributed in a highly-formatted manner
•  Reports can be published on a regular schedule
•  Distribution of organized listings of data
•  Enables users to understand transactional and/or detail level data
•  Typically developed by information technology (IT) personnel and/or knowledgeable power users

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BI Maturity Model Level 0 – Spreadsheets

Business Intelligence, Posts Dec 15, 2010 No Comments

Overview of Spreadsheets

A spreadsheet is a computer application that simulates a paper, accounting worksheet. It displays multiple cells that together make up a grid consisting of rows and columns, each cell containing alphanumeric text, numeric values or formulas.  Because spreadsheets are easy to work with and are widely available, many businesses rely on them to take the place of a more sophisticated business intelligence tool.  Instead of providing a consistent view of the organizational data, spreadsheets have decentralized views of limited amounts of data. In addition, spreadsheets are typically developed by an individual user, consist of little or no organizational standards, and encompass limited system analysis and quality assurance before being used as an official reporting source.

Example Spreadsheet

Example Spreadsheet

It is typically up to the spreadsheet developer to decide what metrics are important, what data needs to be included, how the data is formatted, and what level of aggregation is necessary.  Spreadsheets become isolated and inconsistent data silos, and are difficult for analysts to extract, transform and load data into a central database to be interpreted at an enterprise level.

Characteristics of Spreadsheets

•  Widely used personal desktop application / available on most user workstations
•  Reporting of data conducted in rows and columns
•  High degree of individual use and high degree of inaccuracy and variability
•  Limited security and limited collaboration capabilities built into software environments

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Sample Charter for a BI Center of Excellence (BI COE)

Business Intelligence, Center of Excellence, Posts Dec 09, 2010 No Comments
Sample BI Center of Excellence (BI COE)

Sample BI Center of Excellence (BI COE)

In order to ensure a predictable and repeatable usage of Business Intelligence (BI) services across organization X, and to maximize the value of licensing cost, organization X’s information technology department has adopted the formation of a Business Intelligence Center of Excellence (BI COE). This BI COE performs at an enterprise level and serves as a cross-functional team with a permanent, formal organization structure. The team includes defined tasks, roles, responsibilities and processes for supporting and promoting the effective use of business intelligence across the organization.

SAP BusinessObjects Logo

In addition, organization X has chosen to standardize on an organization-wide reporting and decision support platform from SAP Business Objects to provide analysts and decision-makers across the enterprise with easy and flexible access to critical data. While Business Objects is being made available to the users through-out the enterprise, there is a need to establish and uphold best practices, guidelines, policies, standards and training to ensure the usability, sustainability and maintainability of the environment.

Fundamentally, the BI COE at organization X has three major responsibilities:

1. Application/security administration of Business Objects environment
2. Management and support of Business Objects application infrastructure
• Web Intelligence
• InfoView
• Crystal Reports
• Xcelsius Dashboards
3. Oversight, development, and implementation of enterprise business intelligence projects

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Data Warehouse Concept

Data Warehousing, Posts Dec 02, 2010 No Comments
Data Warehouse Concept

Data Warehouse Concept

Data Warehouses (DW) are read-only, integrated databases designed to provide insight into past organizational performance and project future results.  Further, they can be defined as highly-optimized data repositories that include data sourced from numerous transactional, legacy, external systems, applications, data feeds, and data files that exist throughout an organization.

In practice, the data warehouse is designed, organized, and optimized for retrieval and analysis of data while providing managers, executives, and other decision makers with a single and complete view of the truth.  Moreover, the data warehouse is a data repository completely designed for decision-support, analytical-reporting, managing performance, and the conversion of raw data into information. The data warehouse is constructed with a focus on data retrieval and the data warehouse enables complex queries to be performed without any impact on the systems that support the business’ primary transactions (i.e. transactional, operational, and mainframe applications).  In contrast to its source databases, the data warehouse is a collection of data designed to support management decision making and contains a wide variety of data that business personnel can use to gain a better understanding of business conditions.

Fundamentally, a data warehouse is unique database in which data is collected for analysis and to support management decision making.  A data warehouse is defined by its purpose and it comprises data that is subject-oriented, integrated, time-variant, and non-volatile.  This means the data warehouse is focused on a business concept like sales, orders, fulfillments, as opposed to a specific business process.

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2010 SAP Business Objects User Conference

Business Objects, Events, Posts Nov 23, 2010 1 Comment

ASUG SAP BusinessObjects User Conference

On October 7, 2010, Adam Getz presented a “Managing a Business Intelligence Center of Excellence (BI COE) with Business Objects – A Case Study at Amtrak” to an audience of 100 professionals at the National SAP Business Objects User Conference in Orlando, FL.   Open Presentation “Managing a Business Intelligence Center of Excellence (BI COE) with Business Objects – A Case Study at Amtrak”

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Definition of Business Intelligence Center of Excellence (BI COE)

Business Intelligence, Center of Excellence, Front Page, Posts Nov 20, 2010 No Comments
BI Center of Excellence (BI COE)

BI Center of Excellence (BI COE)

Business Intelligence Centers of Excellence (BI COE) enable the design, development, and implementation of strategic, enterprise, department, and tactical Business Intelligence solutions from one centrally managed team within a corporation or organization. In practice, the BI COE allows for a single or set of business intelligence products to become an enterprise standard, and the BI COE group becomes the primary team for conducting implementations, management, and support of BI solutions across an organization. Read more »

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