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Three Attributes of an Agile BI System

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In an earlier blog post I wrote that Agile BI was much more than just applying agile SDLC processes to traditional BI systems.  That is, Agile BI systems need to support business agility.   To support business agility, BI systems should address three main attributes:

  1. Usable and Extensible –  In a recent TDWI webinar on business enablement, Claudia Imholf said “Nothing is more agile than a business user creating their own report.”   I could not agree more, with Ms. Imholf’s comments.   Actually, I would go farther.  Today’s BI tools allow users to create and publish all types of BI content like dashboards, and scorecards.  They allow power users to conduct analysis and then storyboard, annotate, and interpret the results.   Agile BI systems allow power users to publish content to portals, web-browsers, and mobile devices.  Finally, Agile BI systems do not confine users to data published in a data warehouse, but allow users to augment IT published data with “user” data contained in spreadsheets and text files. 
  2. Easily Changeable – Agile BI systems should be easily changeable. Furthermore, they should support incremental development so that each iterative delivery cycle produces visible end-user value.  This requires architecture and tools that do not require a lot of analysis and modeling to implement.  Most data discovery tools allow IT to publish data for end-user consumption without a lot of analysis or up-front design.   This is not to say that data modeling and analysis are not needed in modern agile BI systems, however, an Agile BI system should allow for small, iterative analysis and modeling efforts.
  3. Jointly Governed – Agile BI systems are jointly governed by IT and business stakeholders.  Decisions about what data governance and quality activities should be applied to different data entities and attributes must be driven by the business.  User classes should be established that distinguish between business content creators and BI consumers.  This will enable IT to focus governance efforts on those actually developing dashboards and reports.  With IT not developing as much BI content it is freed to concentrate on driving adoption of BI tools, publishing data for business consumption, and enhancing data quality.

If you are interested in learning more about Agile BI, I will be hosting a webinar titled “Agile BI: How to Deliver More Value in Less Time, ”  where I will be covering these 3 aspects of Agile BI in more depth.  The webinar is October 15, at 2pm Eastern Time.  You can sign up for the webinar at: .

Jim Miller

Mr. Miller is an IBM certified and accomplished Senior Project Leader and Application/System Architect-Developer with over 30 years of extensive applications and system design and development experience. His current role is National FPM Practice Leader. His experience includes BI, Web architecture & design, systems analysis, GUI design and testing, Database modeling and systems analysis, design, and development of Client/Server, Web and Mainframe applications and systems utilizing: Applix TM1 (including TM1 rules, TI, TM1Web and Planning Manager), dynaSight - ArcPlan, ASP, DHTML, XML, IIS, MS Visual Basic and VBA, Visual Studio, PERL, Websuite, MS SQL Server, ORACLE, SYBASE SQL Server, etc. His Responsibilities have included all aspects of Windows and SQL solution development and design including: analysis; GUI (and Web site) design; data modeling; table, screen/form and script development; SQL (and remote stored procedures and triggers) development and testing; test preparation and management and training of programming staff. Other experience includes development of ETL infrastructure such as data transfer automation between mainframe (DB2, Lawson, Great Plains, etc.) systems and client/server SQL server and Web based applications and integration of enterprise applications and data sources. In addition, Mr. Miller has acted as Internet Applications Development Manager responsible for the design, development, QA and delivery of multiple Web Sites including online trading applications, warehouse process control and scheduling systems and administrative and control applications. Mr. Miller also was responsible for the design, development and administration of a Web based financial reporting system for a 450 million dollar organization, reporting directly to the CFO and his executive team. Mr. Miller has also been responsible for managing and directing multiple resources in various management roles including project and team leader, lead developer and applications development director. Specialties Include: Cognos/TM1 Design and Development, Cognos Planning, IBM SPSS and Modeler, OLAP, Visual Basic, SQL Server, Forecasting and Planning; International Application Development, Business Intelligence, Project Development. IBM Certified Developer - Cognos TM1 (perfect score 100% on exam) IBM Certified Business Analyst - Cognos TM1

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