Business Objects Voyager allows business analysts to explore OLAP data using a tool designed specifically for them. Users can access the full range of OLAP data sources available within your organization and share results using a simple, intuitive web interface.
Voyager delivers a full range of functions for the analysis of multi-dimensional data sets. Users are able to quickly answer business questions and then share their analysis and workspace with others, spreading knowledge beyond the confines of a single department or group.
Built with the analysts needs in mind, Voyager enables analysts to discover trends, outliers, and details stored in their systems without the help of a database administrator.
It is our understanding that a new and more powerful OLAP client will be released by SAP going forward.
The Role of the BI Architect
The BI Architect must understand the BI vision and strategy and cause both to come to reality through the end to end BI system. The BI Architect achieves this through fastidious planning and designing pre-implementation, troubleshooting and mentoring during implementation, and governing and evangelising post implementation.
The most effective BI Architects know how to formulate Solution Architecture. They are able to hook together several different architectural disciplines to develop the solution. They will understand Business Architecture: Unless the organisation’s business processes and business requirements are understood how can a BI solution framework be proposed? They must of course be experienced with Data Architecture: Data is at the core of Business Intelligence and the best BI Architects will be experienced data modelers. Hand in hand with experience in data modeling BI Architects must also understand Information Architecture: The sources that the data will come from, it’s journey through the organisation, and how it will be consumed and by who. Experience with Application Architecture is critical for the full understanding of the selection of the BI platform, ETL software, BI tools etc. The most effective BI Architects will know how to size the BI/DW system, understand licensing and pricing and work closely with Infrastructure Architects to understand any required integration and procure the relevant hardware, web application servers, load balancers etc. Finally SLA’s should be considered within the Service Architecture: When must data be available by and how quickly must software execute etc.?
To enable all these things to happen successfully the BI Architect must have a clear understanding of the business process areas as well as a high technical level of expertise in the full BI platform. The BI Architect should have knowledge of the potential BI tools, knowing what they can do, how they integrate with other components and their current development road map. Understanding the development road map enables the BI System to be as future-proof as possible and the BI Architect to advise on the future as well as the now. Poorly informed decisions made today can prove very costly tomorrow. This thorough understanding of the BI tools and components, along with BI processes enables the BI Architect to deliver a BI system that constitutes best practice and exhibits high performance.
When powerful Business Intelligence tools such as SAP BusinessObjects are implemented there must exist the BI function of BI governance. Once the BI System has been developed the best place for governance to be rolled out is through a core BICC and the BI Architect should be central to this activity. For example, consider Self-service BI. When a user interacts with the BI System the user is not simply executing a piece of code within a single application such as Microsoft Excel; several different applications will be interacting together across functional areas. These applications are interdependent and so called ‘stress points’ will occur. In Self-service BI hundreds and even thousands of users can hit the BI System simultaneously. If governance is not applied to these ‘stress points’ they may become ‘breakpoints’. The BI Architect should be familiar with these ‘stress points’ and in practising End to End BI apply governance to ensure that they do become breakpoints.
Not least required is the ability to evangelise the end user community through clear articulation of the BI processes and demonstrations of the benefits of the selected BI tools. In order to gain end user adoption of the BI System it is paramount to give the very best impression of the BI tool set to the end users. End users need to perceive that they are getting more benefits with the new tools than they previously had. New tools may lead to different ways of working and improved process, this in itself requires some change management. The knowledge and skills of the BI Architect make for an effective evangelist. An internal marketing campaign may be designed to ensure that positive communications about the benefits of the BI system are being transmitted and not lost or watered down in the change adoption process.
Business Intelligence software, once the exclusive realm of the billion dollar multi-nationals, is changing. The biggest and best Business Intelligence software providers have realised that small companies grow to midsize companies, and midsize companies grow to large companies and in making this journey there is a real business need for Business Intelligence software. However, developing organisations don’t start with a million dollar IT budget. So when you look across the table at your potential BI solution suppliers make sure that they really can help you gain the maximum return on your investment.
To achieve Business Intelligence you will need to install a version of Business Intelligence software such as SAP BusinessObjects. SAP BusinessObjects provides a mid-market Business Intelligence platform known as SAP BusinessObjects Edge BI. This is a fully featured BI platform that delivers many benefits to small and midsize companies at an affordable price. The BI platform also allows numerous SAP BusinessObjects tools to be plugged in. Tools such as Web Intelligence for ad hoc queries, Crystal Reports for heavy duty reports such as legal and financial documents, and Crystal Xcelsius to provide interactive dashboarding for managers and executives.
Of course there is more to a BI system than just installing software and if the implementation is expertly planned it can lead to a Total Cost of Ownership Reduction. Having realised cost efficiencies it’s important that your solution should be as future-proof as possible so as to minimise the risk of escalating costs when you want to grow and expand your BI system. Critically for companies that are growing like yours you need to implement a scalable BI solution. A scalable solution is one that grows with you horizontally and vertically.
Horizontal scaling allows organisations to add different business process areas to their solution. For example, you may have decided that sales and marketing is the area in which you will first start to utilise Business Intelligence. You implement BI and increase sales, you have a bigger budget, now you want to add supply chain, finance, HR… A horizontally scalable solution will allow this growth whilst minimising the ubiquitous risk of creating BI stove pipes.
A vertical scaling solution on the other hand allows you to roll up your data into summary metrics such as KPIs and present them on dashboards. It will also allow you to drill down as deep as you need to go in to the detail and analyze the individual data values. You need both horizontal and vertical scaling.
We refer to our end to end BI methodology as our Cornerstone Solutions®.
Start your project on the right foot. Use our Contact Page if you would like to open discussion with us on Business Intelligence, our approach and the scalable solutions that we offer.