I recently had the opportunity to work with a client who were facing some trouble with their overall BI vision, because the data warehouse solution was not mature in the organization and the company’s new 3rd party applications for Call Center and CRM software brings an integrated BI stack with them.
Because of the introduction of the 3rd party applications (Call Center and CRM), the enterprise wide DW was not getting the traction it needed. And a lot of users preferred using the analytics that comes with these CRM tools. This meant the DW was not being used as the single source of truth for reporting and analysis.
The BI teams mission and vision was to drive all reporting needs from the DW. Unfortunately with the introduction of Sales force for CRM and some 3rd party applications which provided analytics capability of their own, the users of these system were comfortable using the out of the box solutions that these software offered.
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It became increasingly difficult to drive operational reporting from DW. Thought the company adopted Agile BI methodologies for DW solution and was fairly quick to respond to changes to the DW, they were not able to cope up with the ever increasing demand for an integrated approach towards DW. Each department in the enterprise had their own BI technology stack and wanted faster delivery.
Speed vs Fragmentation
The major hurdle the company faced was that, each department had their own BI stack which created too many fragmented data sets. This inturn makes it very difficult for identifying the System of Records and keeping track of the changes in the data different systems while bringing them into the DW.
It turns out that speed of delivery is indirectly proposition to fragmentation of data sets. As speed of delivery decreases the data fragmentation in the organization increases.
Solution – Adapting the BI vision
They wanted to turn the DW into a consumption layer and increase usage through the Analytics tool. After all the analysis was completed, the enterprise BI team came to the realization that they might not be able to be a true consumption layer where all the analytics would be consumed from. They decided to let the CRM and 3rd party application handle all the operational reports and push all the historical and cross functional analytics to DW. So the Enterprise BI team focus was narrowed to working on only functional reporting capabilities and not deal with day to day operational reporting. After all the DW strength lies in the cross functional analytics and not consuming the day to day reporting from the DW.
I had the notion that goals are to be met at any cost. But when change is the only this that is constant, changing goals and visions are not a bad thing. The BI team adapted to the changing needs and the reality of the organization while also making sure they delivered on the promises made and provide cross functional data for broader enterprise wide insights, all at the cost of aligning to a more realistic BI strategy.