Our recent blog post revealed the first three out of ten questions that CIOs must answer before deciding whether to implement an Agile BI system. These questions are: “Can you continuously react in time to constantly changing business requirements?” “Are you tired of hearing that every new BI requirement results in changes to multiple programs and other components?” and “Have your business analysts, developers and DBAs been stuck in meetings for months seeking new enterprise data models?” Now let’s continue our series with the following four essential questions:
4. Has your data become so complicated and disparate that your developers have suggested building a new and specialised data mart for all cases?
Whether you are a wholesaler, a distributor, a retailer or a manufacturer, your company may suffer from having dissimilar data from thousands of products or parts. For example, an office chair with numerous wheels, a pencil with different lead types or a calculator that can be either scientific or financial. This is even more complicated for manufacturers for which no items share common descriptive elements. In order to solve this challenge of complexity and differences in data requirements, it is vital to build specialised data marts so as to separately address reporting and analysis requirements for each dissimilar data type.
5. Are constant BI changes in the front office causing you headaches?
Although back-office applications are as important and complicated as front-office ones, their BI requirements for finance and HR departments are clearly defined and stable most of the time. Moreover, the attributes of financial transactions and human resources share many commonalities in terms of geography, time, business units and GL codes. The front office (sales, marketing) is another story. For instance, a new competitive threat requires an immediate response, with very limited to no time to plan, prioritise, rationalise, re-architect or re-design the new set of analysis and data.
6. Do your employees still prefer spreadsheets despite your effort to carry out multiple enterprise BI solutions?
Did you proactively fight against the domination of spreadsheets in financial planning, budgeting and forecasting? Did you put effort into bringing out an enterprise BI platform and applications? Has your strategy helped remove spreadsheets from your business operations? Unlikely not! Have you asked yourself why? Read on to find out.
7. If the answer is yes, why is this case, and what are your BI applications missing?
Are your BI applications missing some plug-in features required for self-service, such as a zero-training-required user interface? Or are your BI applications perhaps lacking personal workspaces or analytical sandboxes where users can proceed without various production environment constraints?
Is something missing that you did not foresee?
Recently, Forrester, a car manufacturer, put much effort into investigating the possible causes for recent battery failures, and accidentally figured out a certain type of alternator to be the reason, rather than any dependent or related parts they were looking at. As this cause-and-effect relationship between alternators and batteries was not anticipated, the data model was built without a proper entity-and-attribute relationship; similarly, the traditional BI application will not necessarily reveal the root cause of the defect in question.
This is the second part of our series “Is it time to add Agile BI capabilities? 10 questions for CIOs” Stay tuned to find out the last three key questions in the next post!
Now: next parts