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BI Standardization and Consolidation

In many conversations I hear people use the words standardization and consolidation interchangeably.  I believe they are different. To me BI standardization is the process of establishing a preferred vendor among competing market offerings that will be used unless it can be shown that the preferred vendor offering can not fulfill particular business needs.


While BI consolidation is the process of reducing the number of vendor tools used across the enterprise. While many companies have standardized or begun the process of determining a preferred BI vendor, few have tackled the harder process of developing a strategy and roadmap for consolidation. It requires companies to inventory what tools are being used in different parts of the organization, assess technology requirements to support business needs and objectively map out phases and timelines for consolidation.


And then there are the behavioral/political barriers to consolidation. People get attached to their particular BI tool of choice, and convincing them to give it up for another tool is often a hard sell. Mergers and acquisitions complicate the consolidation process because groups feel like its one more example of losing autonomy.


However, now may be one of the best opportunities for BI consolidation, because a weak economy makes it easier to implement unpopular changes. Executives are already looking for ways to save money, streamline operations, and reduce the number of suppliers. And they are more likely to support consolidation if you build a good business case showing the short term migration costs are outweighed by the long term savings that come from changing the IT infrastructure.

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  • Sorry for using Oracle analogy on SAP site, but if a customer is using Oracle Sales Analyzer and Brio (now Oracle Hyperion) and Siebel Analytics (now Oracle Answers), is it standardization because all tools are marketed by Oracle? 😉
    • If the company decides that all three products are unique and differentiated in their functionality then it would be standardization. My personal opinion is that there is overlapping functionality and the company should evaluate their long term strategy regarding ERP, CRM, DW/BI.

      •Are they going to stay with E-Business Suite and Siebel CRM or are they considering other ERP/CRM options?

      •Are E-Business Suite and Siebel the only applications they want to get data from?

      •Is Oracle Express their long term strategy for OLAP or do they want to move to Essbase?

      •Are the Siebel data marts sufficient in the long term or do they want to move in the direction of an enterprise data warehouse?

      I'm sure there are other questions they should be asking themselves but this gives you an idea of my thoughts on the subjects.

      Thanks for the comment,