noventum Business Intelligence – Spotlight on Current Topics

// Business Intelligence

Data management,  consolidation and integration of  operations and scheduling systems

novum: Mr. Schmidt, let‘s start with one of the biggest challenges, data management in a Business Intelligence context. How are you positioned for this?

Schmidt: At noventum, we have always addressed the two service categories Business Intelligence and Data Integration. These are closely intertwined and intersect in numerous areas. However, the subject of Data Integration must not be restricted to just the data warehouse since for this issue, the operations processes and systems must also be reviewed holistically. At our customers, we see that Data Governance is holding a significant position. We were ahead of the times with our solution expertise, since we placed emphasis on the data perspective early on with an independent service.

novum: In your opinion, is the focus on the data view a central issue?

Schmidt: Yes, very much. Today, each and every project in a reporting, analysis and controlling context necessarily has the data view at its focus, and not just for short-term requirements, but as a sustainable CIO topic. Enterprise-wide Data Governance is a decisive factor for long-term success.

novum: What exactly do you mean by Data Governance?

Schmidt: All aspects of data management itself as well as the processes surrounding data management. Today, data management is a topic of cross-departmental significance. Companies need Data Governance, taking into consideration the most diverse perspectives - e. g., data policies, data ownership, organisational structures, master data management, etc. need to be addressed. Data and/or information quality must be assured for all IT systems - which also includes operations systems - and BI projects profit from that. As early as 2002, noventum pushed for a more comprehensive understanding of data management such as it is common everywhere these days. And together with our customers we are aware that such a data view provides for sustainable savings.

novum: Which other challenges for dealing with BI do you perceive at present?

Schmidt: The continuous consolidation of BI systems. We have always strived for the Enterprise Data Warehouse as „single point of truth“ and are saddened by the compartmentalised island solutions created due to operational pressures. The second wave of BI projects therefore are typically more complex consolidation projects. It is therefore important to become familiar and deal with the topics of BI strategy, BI governance, BI architecture and BI technology to not run into the same problems again down the line.

novum: What‘s your suggestion for avoiding the creation of island solutions?

Schmidt: In my opinion, avoiding them is impossible. From experience we know that each department, when not served quickly enough and sufficiently individualised, will create its own island solution. If the new solution does not provide for cross section functions (secondary business processes) and is instead limited to control tasks limited to a single organisational unit (primary business processes), then sovereignty for such endeavours will even remain decentralised. It is important to find solutions that do not bedevil the creation of new islands but rather channel them. How do I create a framework and/or a guideline with which I can assure a high degree of flexibility as well as a necessary degree of standardisation in a cost efficient way?

novum: What‘s your suggestion?

Schmidt: I am, for example, thinking of designing BI services in the spirit of IT service management which are offered by the central organisational unit for Business Intelligence with IT and departmental expertise (in professional literature often called a BI Competence Center - BICC).
These services are aligned such that even absolutely necessary island solutions in specific departments are created in compliance with the enterprise-wide central BI strategy. Which means: In addition to the classic project and solutions expertise, the BICC provides methods and technologies that counteract a wild growth. Imagine, for instance, an architecture consulting service. The intellectual contribution of the BICC without exclusively focussing on the Enterprise DWH therefore, for example, allows for the partial utilisation of consolidated data stores or existing infrastructures and over the long-term, an integration into the central solution which then can also be operation more efficiently for the specific department.
As a result, we achieve a „central thread“ in the BI architecture, the continuous consolidation: better information quality, integrability and cost effectiveness without impeding the flexibility needed.

novum: Let‘s switch topics. Why is there talk about the distinction between analytical and transactional system becoming blurrier and blurrier?

Schmidt: A short example of this is Business Performance Management, also called Corporate Performance Management. The functionalities of BPM do not exclusively relate to a pure analysis of data. Here, planning functionalities are necessary to allow for optimal control of the company based on comparison of objectives against performance. The replay - meaning the playback - of data into operational systems and the triggering of operational functionalities, e. g. the triggering of an order once a volume threshold has not been achieved, are examples of the two worlds getting closer together. In addition, there is an ever-increasing dynamic in data management: in a lot of cases, in addition to a daily and/or hourly extraction, data are available in real-time in a DWH to allow for timely analyses such as Business Activity Monitoring.

novum: Thank you very much for the interview.


noventum consulting

Thorsten Schmidt



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