Every day in the BI world you are fighting against opposing goals. Users who want a super flexible reporting system that can answer any question they can dream up without interaction with IT in real time and policies that require security, formal approvals, processes and system stability. Basically how can you let users do whatever they want and keep the system stable.
Well simplest answer is you can’t. Like most things in life it requires balance, compromise and moderation.
From an architect or administrator perspective it’s a lot of give and take. Finding the right process and tool combination that gives you stability and security in the most flexible way possible. It can be a tough balancing act, especially if you have to contend with licensing and overall cost of ownership of BI in addition to what seem be reasonable but are not the easiest to achieve user expectations.
So what’s BI Zen? BI Zen is that sweet spot specific to your organization’s structure, user base and politics where you are able to provide the users what they actual want from the BI system while still maintaining control from a security and data integrity perspective. Sounds more like nirvana but it’s absolutely attainable.
First is your data foundation. If your data is a mess, it doesn’t really matter how fancy the rest of your BI practice is as the old saying goes garbage in, garbage out. Start out with a data integrity or quality program where you have not only clearly defined data definitions but validation rules in place. This practice also extends to your HANA and universe development. In order to use the tools in the “drag & drop” manner the users expect, you have to have the data model set up in a logical way that will support tools like Webi, Lumira and Design Studio (which prefers it’s data served up). Ten thousand object universes with multiple classes with the same object names are not going to promote self-service. Keep it simple!
Thanks for reading, remember keep it simple and communicate!
Part 2 coming soon.
I look forward to your thoughts, ideas or comments.