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BI Strategy – part 4 BI Vision

Part 4 – BI Vision – yes now for the fun part.  What does BI do for your company – where do you want to take BI at your company

1.    BI Vision

Information availability and consumption are in a constant state of evolution.  The role that BI plays within an organization also evolves as the organization matures and adapts.  The BI vision will provide a long-term view that articulates YOUR COMPANY’s strategy to manage, deploy and govern information assets.

1.1    Target Audience

Business Intelligence provides information which is valuable by being relevant, timely, accurate, and consistent, and presented in a format well adapted to the context in which it is used.

In order to achieve the goal of relevancy, it must be ensured that high quality business requirements define and steer the development of BI applications. This requires that dedicated resources from within each area of the business are provided for and trained in the task of specifying business requirements for a BI environment.

1.1.1    Global Business Intelligence

The Global BI platform will form a central information repository for YOUR COMPANY’s corporate view and is in line with the mission statement “One Company One Way”. The Global BI Layer will be characterized as follows:

–          It will be strongly geared towards corporate management and the global Line of Business management.

–          Global BI will be the provider of consolidated information to enable the analysis of cross region and cross Line of Business (LOB) information.

–          It will support more Strategic, Global Management and Corporate Financial Reporting type applications.

–          This layer is less granular than the Country Specific BI Layer.

–          It will be highly standardized to meet the corporate data standards.

–          The data will have linkage and ability to get to the detail level e.g. Local or Transactional wherever possible in order to allow corporate users to do further investigative reporting on the global BI data.

–          In the majority of cases the data feed will come from operational or country specific BI.

–          Global BI can be a logical (virtual) or a physical view based on country specific BI.

1.1.2    Country Specific Business Intelligence

Country specific BI will be characterised by the following

–          Components dealing with local regulatory requirements

–          Source of data for the Global BI

–          Key Users for this being regional management in the LOB’s

–          Drill through capability from Global BI to Local BI.

–          Adhere to Global Data Structure defined for the LOB, and Cross LOB

1.1.3    Operational Business Intelligence (Integration/Staging Layer)

This layer of the BI will be characterised by:

–          Audience: This will be employees involved in operational activities, contact Center agents as well as technical personnel in the field.

–          Low/Zero Latency, near real time reporting capabilities: Operational data changes very frequently and therefore to make right decisions these need to be made in matter of seconds. To support this, wherever possible, near real-time abilities will be required (ie Finance month-end)

–          High levels of Granularity: Operational data is analysed on a daily basis and the nature of reporting and analysis will be small volume high granularity. That means that an Analyst will be looking at a small slice of data. However for this subset an extreme level of detail is required.

1.1.4    External Business Intelligence (Extended Enterprise)

Controlled access to published BI information can be made available to external users e.g. Regulators and Customers wherever required. The nature of the data will be in the form of fixed web reports and stringent security measures will be in place to avoid any unauthorized access to YOUR COMPANY’s data.

1.2    BI Components

1.2.1    Architecture components

The checklist provided below will be addressed within the technical architecture section of the document:

–          BI System Architecture: Illustrated in Chapter 4, delivers the Global template and data model guidelines and principles

–          Frontend reporting and NetWeaver integration: Illustrated in chapter 5, provides a comprehensive view of the user community reporting needs, associated tools, and frontend integration best practices with NetWeaver 7.0 (Dashboard, Ad-hoc Reporting, and Enterprise Formatted analysis)

–          User Interface : Web (portals) or/and Excel

–          BI Roadmap. Illustrated in Chapter 4 including Implementation guidelines

–          ETL Tools (loading of legacy data and future data) 

–          System Performance and Load Balancing Tools and Technology

–          Backup and archiving strategy

–          Availability – 24 X 7

–          RDBMS/OS and Hardware.

–          Multi Lingual Support (Unicode)

The recommended BI Architecture has to be flexible enough to enable reporting and analysis of information consolidated from multi sources regardless of source system. Despite the fact that the tools and technology bias will be towards SAP offerings, the data reported could be extracted from several sources both SAP and NON-SAP (Flat file, Legacy systems, Custom RDBMS applications…)    Delivery

BusinessObjects will deliver BI content through a single portal.  The delivery of BI content will be web and excel based enabling information broadcasting and scheduling.

The BI landscape will cater to all categories of users’ given abilities to not only run pre-formatted reports but also give the super users the flexibility to generate their own custom reports. Controls and guidelines will be developed to ensure the stability of the environment is maintained.    Data Warehousing Layers

There will be multiple data marts or cubes by major subject areas for both global and divisional reporting. The data marts will share a common master data structure which will enable the cross referencing of information from multiple subject areas.    Atomic Layer (Operational)

An atomic data warehouse layer will be used to store the most granular data as extracted from the ERP and other systems. This layer will provide the data for the data marts as well as support drill down reporting for detailed analysis.    Extract, Transform, and Load (ETL)

The delivered SAP extractors will be leveraged where possible for all subject areas. The “to be determined” Information Services platform will include an ETL tool for delivering non-SAP and legacy data warehouse data. The BI architecture will leverage the same ETL toolset. The ETLs can be scheduled via the enterprise scheduling tools. The selection of the scheduling toolset is not in the scope of the BI Strategy.    Master Data Reporting

This describes the source, target and flow of master data.  This can be achieved with ease in the SAP BI NetWeaver platform. SAP BI allows for reporting and analysis on master data objects called InfoObjects. These data structures are tabular in nature but the reporting capabilities within SAP BI allow them to be treated like a multi-dimensional object. Refer to Chapter4 Master Data Design and Strategy.    Federated Architecture

The delivery, navigation and presentation for cross platform and integrated data will be provided through the same single BusinessObjects portal. The integration of data will be achieved by virtual and physical designs as appropriate.

1.2.2    Support Organization (BI COE)

The final organization will include a Global BI Center of Excellence (COE) which will ensure sufficient SAP BI knowledge and in-house ownership of the business intelligence applications.

1.3    Goals

The primary goal of the YOUR COMPANY Global BI architecture is to create a best-of-class environment that enables the “one company one way” vision, is consistent with today’s leading warehouse and BI technologies and techniques, while complying with the established and future state standards of YOUR COMPANY.

The goals are categorized as follows:

1.3.1    Governance

–          Provide a single version of the truth for YOUR COMPANY’s User Communities (UCs).

–          Ensure information integrity, security and quality (for example accuracy and completeness) by implementation of formal data governance.

–          Maintain data architecture adherence to established standards which are set across Lines of Business (LOB)

–          Protect and foster the corporate business information asset

–          Effective monitoring of other information-centric projects within YOUR COMPANY

–          Ensure data definitions and designs are consistent across applications

–          The Data Governance Strategy is to be owned, developed and implemented by the Data Architecture team. However the BI Center of Excellence will interact with the Data Governance Team to ensure that the BI applications are developed and run in accordance with the YOUR COMPANY Corporate Global Data Governance Standards*

–          Data Integrity Checks and Reconciliation Layer (see section in chapter (see Appendix F)

–          Workbench Administration Maintenance Tasks (see section in chapter (see Appendix F)

–          Master Data Governance (see section in chapter 4 and 6)

–          Load Process Governance (Master Data/Transactional Data – see section in chapter 6)

1.3.2    Tools

–          Standardize business intelligence applications on a SAP-centric platform which allow for lower total cost of ownership

–          Standardize ETL for non-SAP sources

–          Leverage the Data Architecture toolset

1.3.3    Data Modelling/Data Flows

–          Drive the development and adherence to the proposed Enterprise Data Model and Master Data Management (MDM) framework

–          Leverage the Master Data standardization efforts

–          Leverage the SAP pre-defined data models and standards

1.3.4    Business Intelligence Organisation (BI COE)

–          Create a Business Intelligence Center of Excellence.

–          Ensure ongoing support for any implemented BI initiatives

–          Engage with customers to understand their information needs and data usage requirements.

–          Move towards global procurement, licensing and support agreements

–          Communicate within IT and business the evolving role of BI and its impact on the business opportunities and risks

–          Identify data stewards in the lines of business.

–          Leverage the proposed data governance organization for the BI applications

1.3.5    Principles for BI Design/Build Initiatives

–          Deliver intuitive, self-service, analytical applications

–          Design the entire architecture, data and technical, based on proven, engineered techniques

–          Design the architecture for flexibility and adaptability to meet changing business requirements and landscape, including future acquisitions and/or divestitures.

–          Design for high query performance

–          Develop a strategy for archiving from the BI environment

–          Review the global dashboard and corporate scorecard capabilities, SAP licensing agreement and enhance as needed

–          The program schedule and plan milestones should reflect the integral dependencies BI has with the source systems that it supports

–          Closely align BI initiatives with the data governance and MDM strategies



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      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Nice topic. But we still have lot of new clients coming up with multiple BW instances due to regional/country reporting requirements and legal compulsions.

      For consolidation, BPC has been a good bet.

      How do you consider this model in today's BW with HANA world?
      Is this still worth spending money on Multi-instance BW box with separate source systems?