Personally I am very fascinated by the word ‘Functional’, may be just like that. I always had this lack of clarity when I thought whether BI is a Technical or a Functional solution provided by SAP. I take this blog as the one to initiate discussions, doubts, debates, thoughts among all the fellow BIians
SAP BI can be used to create InfoCubes, DSOs, etc. to hold data using which we develop a warehouse, which makes it more technical but eventually that information is used to take business decisions, analysis and such other purposes, which shows the business side of BI. Also, a question keeps on ticking on my mind what makes a practitioner working in SAP BI more technical or functional. I would want to raise this query in general arena to have inputs from all irrespective of their roles and responsibilities in SAP BI.
BI, at a high level, is viewed as a set of processes/execution steps for extraction, transferring, transformation, loading, query & reporting. Definitely this may not cover every subtask we may perform such as monitoring, data load, data validation with source system, standard content installation etc. Let us keep a high level vision to every aspect (Till we are justified). For any BI implementation, it usually starts with requirement gathering, feasibility study, blueprinting, data model design, data modeling, data loading, query designing, validation/testing, roll-out. There stands the root of my thoughts getting heavily mixed up. If a person, knows ‘how’ to make an InfoCube and may not know ‘why’ is he creating the same, is he Technical? On the other hand, if a person knows ‘what’ the users want, what is the business sense behind and why such a report is being created, is he Functional? And if one knows who to increase the performance of the report by designing an ideal InfoCube, with which he knows ‘why’ is the report is being developed, is he Techno-Functional?
There are huge SAP BI Implementation/Support/Maintenance teams where there are people just to understand the change, some to just understand the impact, some to know the effort, some to know how to change, some to know how to test. Is there a clear distinct line drawn between these people involved in SAP BI? If ‘Yes’, can we say that a person who tests the change, is not concerned with ‘why’, ‘what’ and ‘how’ of the change. Can we say he is Technical in SAP BI. Or rather for him, is BI just the technical series of steps to load data, resolve (determined) issues if any, check the data load and notify? The person gathering requirements from the end-user/client functional team knows what BI is capable of doing, and helps achieve for the end-user some powerful activities supplementing his daily tasks. But is he really involved/concerned about the slightest technical detail of how to achieve this requirement taking shape? I understand that a clear distinction between some (not all) members of a SAP BI implementation/support team can be made as Technical/Functional/Techno-Functional based upon the tasks performed by each of the individual. So do we say, BI may fall under any of these categories depending on the perspective of the individual working in BI? But that does not give an answer to whether SAP BI as a solution is Technical/Functional/Techno-Functional.
SAP BI provides some great capabilities that allow a vast range of audience (users) to use it in their area of business in an analytical or reporting manner. Hence, to achieve the optimal use of the service provided by the solution, a number of people are involved to understand, design, manage and control to fulfill the ultimate goal of satisfying user requirements. Can we distinguish or find our answer using some of the quoted words (why, how, what) used above? Or does it remain un-answered..