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Vol ume 24 Bes t pr actices in Busines s intelligence and data warehousing

IN enterprise business intelligence



Enterprise Business Intelligence

Search BI
Open Source BI
Data Governance
Performance Management
Predictive Analytics


The Myth of Self-Service BI

Wayne W. Eckerson, TDWI Research
An exploration into the myths and realities
of managing your own data warehouse.
pAgE 2


Challenges to Operational BI
pAgE 36

Issues that Influence BI Solutions

for SAP
pAgE 48
VolumE 24

Letter from the Editorial Director IN enterprise business intelligence

TDWI is proud to offer you our new, topically focused What Works in Enterprise Busi-
ness Intelligence. This collection of customer success stories and expert perspectives
provides a resource for better understanding the tools, technologies, and methods that
are central to enterprise business intelligence. To help you make your way through the www.tdwi.org
many powerful case studies and lessons from the experts articles, we have arranged
general manager Rich Zbylut
them into specific categories: enterprise business intelligence, search BI, open source director of research Wayne Eckerson
BI, data governance, performance management, and predictive analytics. director of marketing Michelle Johnson
art director Deirdre Hoffman
Whats inside? editorial director Denelle Hanlon
production manager Jennifer Agee
production editor Susan Stoddard
case studies
graphic designer Bill Grimmer
The goal of What Works is to provide snapshots of the most innovative business intel-
ligence and data warehousing implementations in the industry today. The case studies
included in this volume demonstrate the power of enterprise business intelligence
technologies and solutions for industries ranging from banking to pharmaceuticals to
president & ceo Neal Vitale
online ticket sales.
cFo Richard Vitale
executive Vice president Michael J. Valenti
lessons from the experts resources
What Works also includes articles from leading experts in the services, software, and managing director Dick Blouin
hardware vendor communities. These lessons feature perspectives about enterprise managing director Ellen Romanow

business intelligence best practices and trends. Vp, Financial William H. Burgin
planning & analysis
Vp, Finance & Christopher M. Coates
q&a with the experts administration

Our Q&A section provides answers from these same experts to the enterprise business Vp, audience marketing Abraham Langer
& web operations
intelligence questions they hear most often, complemented by insight from an inde-
Vp, information Erik Lindgren
pendent consultant. technology
Vp, print & online Mary Ann Paniccia
feature article
chairman of the Board Jeffrey S. Klein
Our feature article comes from Wayne Eckerson of TDWI Research. In The Myth of
Self-Service BI, he explores the myths and realities of managing your own data ware-
Reaching the staff: Editors can be reached via e-mail, telephone,
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tdwi research Renton office: 425.277.9126 Fax: 425.687.2842

1201 Monster Rd SW, Ste. 250, Renton, WA 98057
Theres more from TDWI Research. What Works includes excerpts from TDWIs recent
Corporate office: 818.834.1520; Fax 818.734.1528
best practices reports: Best Practices in Operational BI, from Wayne Eckerson, and 9121 Oakdale Ave. Ste. 101, Chatsworth, CA 91311
Business Intelligence Solutions for SAP, TDWIs latest report from Philip Russom. Sponsorship Opportunities: Denelle Hanlon, 425.277.9130,

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Table of Contents

OpEn sOurcE Bi
42 open source Bi: does it fit into Your Bi environment?
2 The myth of Self-Service BI
Wayne W. Eckerson, Director, TDWI Research 43 enterprise Business intelligence: making the case and Keeping
the promise
An exploration into the myths and realities of
managing your own data warehouse. 44 why open source was the Bi suite of choice for Ziprealty

45 pleasant surprises: commercial open source Bi


D ata g O v E r n a n c E
46 mortgage company drives compliance with data Governance
5 enterprise Bi categories defined
47 Getting started with data Governance
EntErprisE BusinEss intElligEncE
6 stubhub scales to explosive Growth pErfOrmancE managEmEnt
52 Kelley Blue Book improves data analysis and reporting with
8 transitioning from successful Bi projects to enterprise Bi Business intelligence solution
9 u.s. defense commissary agency enriches edw with 53 the Bi tipping point
integration of xml data from point-of-sale systems
54 operational performance reporting applications help mfs
11 redefining edw: data integration requirements for enterprise improve regulatory compliance, enhance productivity, and
data warehousing expand Global operations
12 alpharma pharmaceuticals llc: improving pharmaceutical 55 spreadsheets in the next Generation
sales and marketing effectiveness
56 rohm and haas: one company, one measure
13 solving the cio dilemma: Breaking the reporting Backlog
with a new formula for self-service 57 corporate performance management: departmental
or corporate?
14 pitney Bowes improves total cost of ownership with enterprise
Business intelligence
p r E D i c t i v E a n a ly t i c s
15 todays enterprise Business intelligence
58 innovative analytics for improved performance and consistent
16 information as a service delivers consistent information for decision processes
Business intelligence
59 You cant offer a solution if You dont Know the problem
17 dynamic warehousing: the next evolution of data
60 cablecom reduces churn with the help of predictive analytics
61 enhance enterprise Bi to drive Business Growth with
25 direct marketing company Gets it done faster with the
predictive analytics
right tool
62 top retail Bank more than doubles campaign profitability
26 when enterprise etl slows down speed it up
using latest uplift modeling techniques
28 large-scale retailer Gains easy access to historical data for
Big-picture analysis
29 creating a true enterprise data warehouse with Grid-enabled
dw appliances 36 challenges to operational Bi

30 alvion scales data analytics and distribution 48 issues that influence Bi solutions for sap

31 the analytics server: powering on-demand analytics from the

32 Bi at tata teleservices ltd. 18 q&a with the experts

33 cpm implementation challenges and lessons learned 63 Best practices awards 2007

34 hospital finds cure for information overload syndrome 69 solution providers

76 about tdwi
sEarch Bi
77 tdwi partner members
40 university of utah, university health care: Bi tips that drive
user adoption and increase roi

WHAT WORKS in enterprise bi Volume 24 1

f E at u r E

The myth of Self-Service BI

By Wayne W. Eckerson, Director, TDWI Research

liberating it? business users create their own custom reports using end userori-
Remember D-Day? That was the day in June 1944 when Allied ented query and reporting tools running against a data warehouse.
troops stormed the beaches of Normandy to liberate Europe from IT steps aside as an intermediary between users and the data and
the Nazi occupation. But there is another D-Day, one that is less gives users what theyve demanded for years: complete and unfet-
well known but yet significant in its own right. That was the day tered access to data without IT interference. All that IT needs to do
in 1990 that data warehousing came to life. This is the day that is set up the data warehouse and provide query and reporting tools.
information technology (IT) managers celebrate with gratitude and It can then focus on more value-added activities, such as develop-
fondness. (Or at least they should!) ing new applications.

At the time, data warehouses promised to liberate IT from the Data warehousing created a win-win situation in which business
drudgery of creating custom reports. Previously, the IT department users gained direct access to data and IT managers eliminated the
was swamped. It couldnt keep pace with the demand for custom need to create custom reportsor at least that was how it was sup-
development and was slowly drowning in a backlog of requests, a posed to work.
good portion of which were for custom versions of corporate reports.
(Alas, things havent changed much for some organizations where IT downsides of self-service Bi
groups are still bogged down with requests for custom reports.) Unfortunately, as many organizations have discovered the hard
way, self-service BI is a myth and doesnt translate well to reality.
Admittedly, IT was cautious at first about creating redundant Although the concept is valid, implementation is misguided. The
data storesa data warehousing prerequisite and a long-time IT result is reporting chaos.
taboo emanating from the days of expensive disk storage. Once IT
realized it could offload a huge portion of its work to end users, One cause of the chaos is that organizations, keen to empower
however, it began to evangelize the benefits of data warehousing to users with data warehouses and BI tools, go overboard. They give
the business. Soon enough, data warehousing and its successor, users too much responsibility for generating the information and
business intelligence, became a clarion call for IT and a booming reports they need to do their jobs. In reality, most users dont want
career opportunity as well. this responsibility, and its not part of their job descriptions. It takes
too much time, and users often make mistakes and get frustrated.
The heart and soul of data warehousing, at least to an IT profes- If they do get training, users usually forget how to use the tool by
sional, is the notion of self-service reporting or self-service BI. Here, the time they need to create a report. Consequently, they either stop

2 WHAT WORKS in enterprise bi Volume 24

f E at u r E

Report Report Design Tools / SQL

20% Business Analyst OLAP / Excel / Data Mining / Visualization

Information Producers
(Self-Service) Super / Power User Report Authoring Tools

80% Executives / Managers Dashboards / Briefing Books

Information Consumers
(Custom Delivery) Casual Users Interactive Reports

Customers / Suppliers

Figure 1. This diagram is one way to map user segments to BI tools.

using the tool or call IT to create the report for them. The organiza- tations of self-service BI. Rather than ricochet back to the days of
tion then finds itself exactly where it was before it spent hundreds of canned reporting, most organizations seek to balance self-service
thousands, if not millions, of dollars on its DW/BI program. BI with tailored delivery of information to casual users.

For example, the human resources department in one large organi- mapping Users to Tools. In order to achieve this balance, orga-
zation I worked with discovered that it had 26,000 different reports nizations realize they need to better understand the information
serving 450 active users out of a potential of 3,500. Most of the requirements of their users and provide them with tools and reports
reports were variations on a couple of themes, and most hadnt that are optimally suited to their needs. In essence, they need to
been used in months or years, but they were still sucking up disk investigate what users want to achieve from a business perspec-
space and cluttering report folders. The majority of the 3,500 tive before they ask what kind of information or tool they need.
employees who could benefit from the BI infrastructure found the Are they trying to reduce supply chain costs while increasing qual-
tools difficult to use or couldnt find the right report in the directory. ity by implementing a supplier rating program? Are they trying to
maximize call center productivity by tracking call times and sales
There is another, more deleterious, downside to reporting chaos volumes? Knowing their ultimate business goals focuses the discus-
than lack of usage and BI tool shelfware. It occurs when the small sion of BI tools on the right level.
percentage of users who do employ the new tools dont define key
metrics, accounts, and terms in a consistent fashion. This makes After such investigation, most organizations discover that 80
it impossible for executives to get a harmonious view of business percent of their users consume reports or information views cre-
activity, and they may unwittingly make critical decisions based on ated by the remaining 20 percent. The 80 percent of information
inaccurate information. consumersor casual users, as I call themconsist of execu-
tives, managers, front-line workers, customers, and suppliers. The
Another problem is that overambitious business users may submit remaining 20 percent are information producers, comprising busi-
costly, long-running queries, which bog down query performance ness analysts, power users, and IT developers. (See Figure 1.)
for all other users. When result sets take a painfully long time to
return, business users accustomed to split-second response times There are numerous subcategories within each of these groups,
for Google queries stop using the BI tools altogether. Whats ironic varying from one organization to the next depending on the makeup
is that most of these network-clogging, runaway queries are usually of their user populations. Once organizations segment their user
unnecessary; users typically need only a fraction of the data that base, they can map each segment to one or more BI tools that
they include in their queries. meet their information requirements. This type of evaluation helps
maximize BI usage and minimize BI shelfware.
the pendulum swings
When organizations first deploy data warehouses and BI tools, they Be aware, however, that individuals often play multiple roles. A
embrace BI self-service with an exuberance bordering on delirium. power user who creates custom views for colleagues in the mar-
Once afflicted with report chaos, however, they recognize the limi- keting department may be a casual user when viewing human

WHAT WORKS in enterprise bi Volume 24 3

f E at u r E

resources information or corporate financial data. Typically, you comprising a representative group of business users and IT profes-
need to arm users with a variety of tools or logins to access differ- sionals from a single domain or multiple domains (depending on
ent reports and sets of BI functionality. the organizational structure and DW architecture), reviews requests
for new reports or modifications. The committee determines
Tools Selection Process. As simple as it sounds, many organiza- whether any of the existing reports can meet the need or if an
tions skip the step of mapping users to tools. What usually happens extension or new report is required.
is that information producers hijack the tool selection process and
pick BI products that are suited to them but not to the majority of Effecting Change. Of course, you dont want to kill requests by
users. To avoid this problem, populate the BI tools selection team committee, so before you implement the governance process, you
with a cross-section of users from multiple areas and listen carefully need to work hard and fast to develop the standard interactive
to their feedback. Remember, there is no tool that meets the needs reports so that 80 percent of the users can get 80 percent of the
of all users, so youll need to invest in a suite of tools. Fortunately, information they need from them. Then, you need to shut down the
the BI market has matured to the point where leading BI vendors older, ad hoc reporting systems. This can be politically sensitive, so
now offer a comprehensive suite of integrated BI tools built largely you must be cautious.
on a single, integrated architecture (or so they claim).
Some organizations are fortunate enough to have a CEO or CFO
it-driven standard reports issue a mandate that the new standard reports will be the basis for
Once you catalog users and assign tools, you need to create a lim- all future decisions. If youre really lucky, theyll enforce this man-
ited set of standard, interactive reports. These reports are geared date by using the reports themselves and scolding subordinates
to information consumers, the 80 percent of your employees who who present information created in ad hoc, nonstandard ways. Less
require periodic access to information. The remaining 20 percent fortunate organizations need to tread carefully, persuading groups
of business analysts, power users, and developers can continue and managers that the new reports contain more accurate and
to use their ad hoc tools to perform deep analysis and exploration comprehensive data than their existing reporting solutions. While
of data. many groups will convert, others will hold out for a long time, even
if the BI team refuses to support the system with upgrades, plat-
A well-designed interactive report can replace dozens, if not form support, or help desk services.
hundreds, of existing reports. Each report typically focuses on a
specific domain and contains about 20 dimensions and 12 metrics. Power Users. Remember, exceptions are the rule. Give information
These standard reports are broad without being overwhelming producers unfettered access to data and allow them to acquire
because they present a simple, intuitive interface that makes it easy the BI tools they wantbecause theyll acquire what they want
for users to apply filters to navigate and analyze the predefined data whether you allow them to or not. In other words, self-service BI
set. Once users navigate to a particularly useful view of information, makes sense for power users, but not for everyone else. Make sure
they can subscribe to that view so its available with fresh data the the power users create reports only for themselves, not the general
next time they open their reporting tool. audience. If they come up with a view of data that can help execu-
tives and managers make better decisions, then that viewalong
These standard interactive reports usually take the form of a dash- with data set and information tools required to produce itneeds to
board, scorecard, or parameterized report that enables users to be adopted by the report governance committee and moved into a
change a predefined view by selecting filters from a pick list or global report library for all to access.
other graphical mechanism. As a result, these reports often give
users the impression that they performing ad hoc queries against conclusion
all the data when, in reality, their access is circumscribed by a In adolescence, we swing wildly from one passion to another, car-
predefined set of metrics, attributes, and filters. The BI team needs ried away by the newness and potential of our object of interest. In
to monitor usage and examine which elements are being used and adulthood, we learn that there is a price to pay for our excesses,
which arent and perform periodic selective pruning to keep the and we seek to find balance amidst the extremes.
reports relevant and fresh.
In the world of BI, organizations often are carried away with the
Report Governance. Guess who needs to create these standard notion of self-service empowerment and fall prey to reporting
interactive reports? Yes, its the IT department or its successor in chaos. To remedy this situation, organizations need to achieve bal-
this space, the BI team. But unlike in the days of old, the BI team ance between self-service BI for a select few and tailored delivery
does not serve as a custom report development shop. Its role is of information for the majority. This will give organizations a stronger
to examine global requirements, create a library of standard inter- foundation upon which to leverage information for insights and
active reports, and establish a governance process for adding, business gain.
deleting, and modifying the reports. A governance committee,

4 WHAT WORKS in enterprise bi Volume 24

Enterprise Business Intelligence
Categories Defined

To help you make your way through EntErprisE BusinEss pErfOrmancE managEmEnt
the many powerful case studies intElligEncE pages 5257
pages 617, 2535
and lessons from the experts Performance management uses business
articles in What Works in Enterprise business intelligence involves intelligence tools to monitor and manage prog-
deploying query, reporting, and analysis ress toward achieving strategic objectives and
Enterprise Business Intelligence, capabilities to all employees who can goals represented in budgets and other plans.
we have arranged them into specific benefit from them as well as to customers
and suppliers.
categories: Enterprise Business p r E D i c t i v E a n a ly t i c s
Intelligence, Search BI, Open pages 5862
sEarch Bi
Source BI, Data Governance, pages 4041 Predictive analytics uses analytical models
Performance management, and based on statistical and machine-learning
BI search applies keyword search capabilities algorithms to describe or predict patterns
Predictive Analytics. What do to structured data and BI reports, making it within large volumes of data to help companies
these terms mean, and how do possible for users to find reports, generate better anticipate events and behavior.
queries, and find related analyses with a
they apply to your organization? simplified user interface.

OpEn sOurcE Bi
pages 4245

Open source BI consists of query, reporting,

and analysis tools built on an open source
foundation; in other words, they are free to
download and use.

D ata g O v E r n a n c E
pages 4647

Data governance describes the people,

processes, and technology needed to ensure
consistent definitions and rules for commonly
used data elements.

WHAT WORKS in enterprise bi Volume 24 5

EntErprisE BusinEss intElligEncE

c a s E s t u Dy

StubHub Scales to
Explosive Growth
Commentary by Rob Singer
Director of Business Intelligence, StubHub and no visibility into the dynamics of its Web meet the objectives and stretch investment
site. (It had no Web analytics function.) in the initiative. Combining open source
technology with best-of-breed software tools
summary Because of the two-gigabyte storage limit from Business Objects, Oracle, Omniture,
StubHub, a rapidly growing online market- for Access databases, StubHub constantly and SAS, StubHub used a phased approach
place, had limited visibility into current data, pruned the database to make room for new to deploy an extensible BI/DW infrastructure,
customers, and business drivers, which data, reducing the richness of its data in the leading to the following measurable results:
threatened the long-term survival of the busi- process. By June 2005, StubHub devoted
ness. The root of these problems was an an average of 16 hours a week to loading the 1. By moving from Access and Excel to
inadequate technology infrastructure, but data warehouse, refreshing the pivot tables, Oracle and Business Objects, StubHub
StubHub did not have the resources to make and notifying employees via e-mail when migrated to a best practices model for
an expensive overhaul to address its IT needs. refreshed reports were ready. With delayed data warehousing and report distribution
and static reporting, StubHub had minimal that reduced data latency and switched
Faced with these challenges, StubHub understanding of its customers, it competi- from a manual, weekly data refresh to an
invested in a business intelligence (BI) and tors, or its key business drivers, and decision automated nightly data refresh. Migrating
data warehouse (DW) initiative, using limited making was based on gut feel instead of to the automated environment, StubHub
resources. The StubHub BI/DW initiative being data driven. Clearly, it had to make cut costs through staff reduction, result-
emphasized investing in specific technologies significant changesfast. ing in $150,000 in annual savings.
to empower end users and to free up existing 2. Creating a marketing allocation report
staff resources, reusing existing technology StubHub assembled a steering committee (called NORAD) that calculates key mar-
investments, and employing open source and a business intelligence team to assess keting performance metrics, such as cost
technologies where possible. requirements, evaluate options, and ulti- per order (CPO). NORAD merges trans-
mately build a scalable BI/DW infrastructure actional data with several external data
With a total budget of $750,000 (42 percent that could support StubHubs explosive feeds to associate transactions with the
staff, 42 percent new licenses, and 16 per- growth and contribute to business value. marketing channels that drove them. The
cent training), and ongoing maintenance of Composed of executives, BI professionals, report enables StubHub to understand
less than $100,000, StubHub realized $22.4 and end users from different disciplines at the dynamics of its numerous marketing
million in savings in 2006directly attrib- StubHub, the steering committee established channels and enables the marketing team
uted to returns from improved processes key goals, which included: to optimize its marketing spend on a daily
and reduced staff. Additional savings sprang basis. In 2006, NORAD reduced CPO by
from enhanced reporting capabilities, giving 1. Creating a scalable and extensible IT 33 percenta savings of $15.6 million.
StubHub executives and end users invaluable infrastructure to enable dynamic report- 3. The new infrastructure permitted the
insight into current data, customer behavior, ing, provide access to rich current and development of a daily report that tracks
and key business drivers. historical data, and reduce data latency. each StubHub sellers dropped-order
2. Providing actionable customer insights, to rate. These dropped orderswhere a
Business impact include defining key customer segments, seller is unable to provide the purchased
StubHub is an online marketplace where fans quantifying customer lifetime value, and ticketsnegatively affect customer sat-
buy and sell tickets for live events. Since its creating customer behavioral profiles. isfaction and increase operational costs
founding in 2000, it experienced triple-digit 3. Providing tools to maximize site conver- by creating significant customer service
year-over-year growth, becoming a market sion rates, marketing effectiveness, and activity. Reducing StubHubs overall
leader and putting strains on its existing customer loyalty. dropped-order rate was a key strategic
information management infrastructure. 4. Identifying key business drivers and priority for 2006. Using the daily report,
defining key company metrics. which includes alerts to the customer
Through mid-2005, StubHubs business intelli- service team, enabled StubHub to work
gence function relied entirely upon a Microsoft The team also needed to accomplish these proactively with sellers to improve their
Access databasethe source for about 40 goals using creative approaches and leverag- performance, and resulted in a decrease
Microsoft Excel pivot tables residing in a ing existing resources wherever possible. It in its dropped-order rate by 31 percent
shared network file directory. The company developed a detailed roadmap and project saving $600,000 in costs. Using the
had minimal insight into customer behavior plan with clear, measurable milestones to report to monitor dropped orders and

6 WHAT WORKS in enterprise bi Volume 24

EntErprisE BusinEss intElligEncE

alerting the customer service team to that enables dynamic reporting and provides milestones with minimal external depen-
potential problem areas has enabled rapid access to current and historical performance dencies (to maximize success rates)
problem resolution and, ultimately, a sig- data. StubHub now has a 360-degree view of Using an ROI-driven approach for project
nificant increase in customer satisfaction the customer, company-wide dissemination prioritization
4. StubHub continually monitors Web site of critical company data, and the quantifica- Running in parallel environments until
activity using Omniture. With its real-time tion and monitoring of key company metrics. core functionality and reports are fully
reporting capabilities, Omniture enables migrated and fully tested
StubHub to make ongoing changes The new database and reporting environment Adhering to industry-standard best
to its Web site, which increased the was developed and deployed in eight months practices, including using a traditional
site-conversion rate of 8.5 percent in (six months of coding, two months of parallel star-schema data model, a software
2006resulting in $5.4 million in addi- testing). StubHub completed phases one and development lifecycle methodology, and
tional revenue. two of its enterprise reporting goals, migrat- data quality techniques
5. StubHub moved from an exclusively ing key Excel pivot tables to Business Objects Delivering quick wins with key reports
push-based reporting environment, reports, delivering sandboxes for scalability, to demonstrate and reinforce value to the
where BI analysts developed all the and producing value-added reports, such as organization
reports, to a push-pull environment, the marketing allocation report. Another key Adhering to a 12-month rollout and three-
where end users are more empow- achievement was StubHubs standardization of year strategic plan for implementation
ered. End users, including marketing, terms, including the definition of all metrics.
business development, finance, and innovation
customer service, now access more StubHub now continuously maintains a rolling StubHub, like many midmarket companies, is
than 300 customizable standard two-year roadmap to build on the platform focused on keeping costs as low as possible,
reports. Further, StubHub established and continue driving business value through and the team needed to find innovative ways
sandboxeshighly interactive subject- actionable intelligence. The next phases to achieve an enterprise-class implementa-
area reportsthat business owners include the deployment of Business Objects tion on a limited budget. The team used
use to tailor reports to fit their own Dashboard Manager to monitor StubHubs key novel approaches to that goal, including:
business needs. Because StubHubs performance indicators. The dashboards will
business users can answer their own give executives focused, efficient delivery of Using open-source, on-demand, and
questions, StubHubs BI analysts could mission-critical data. The long-term roadmap free/bundled software for its commodity
focus on answering strategic business includes enhancing operational reporting technology needs so that it could focus
questions. In 2006, they were able to capabilities; StubHub is building the founda- its limited software expenditures on
quantify customer lifetime value, identify tion for providing business activity monitoring, value-added and best-of-breed tools
key customer segments, and develop balanced scorecards, and predictive analytics. Extensive use of sandboxes, minimizing
high-impact reports like NORAD and the BI headcount and enabling the BI team to
dropped-order report. relevance focus on delivering value-added projects
6. Executives and business users now have StubHub leveraged industry best practices Repurposing hardware to reduce capital
visibility into key company drivers. They that can be adopted easily by similar organi- expenditures further
are engaged with the data and constantly zations. These practices include: Collaborating with partner groups to
respond to customer and competitive create new reports and functionality to
activity. With greater understanding of cus- Obtaining executive buy-in upfront by ensure that the BI team does not build
tomer buying patterns, StubHub is able to securing an executive sponsor and imple- anything that goes to waste. All partici-
anticipate demand and deploy changes to menting a proof of concept pants understand the value of what is
its marketplace in near real time to accom- Assembling a cross-functional team to built and are taught how to use it, result-
modate market-changing events. ensure full organizational buy-in and to ing in organizational buy-in and a high
provide an appropriate enterprisewide adoption rate. l
maturity perspective that aligns deliverables with
StubHub achieved all objectives of its BI business goals StubHubs innovative solution received a 2007
Best Practices Award from TDWI (see page 63).
initiative: It successfully replaced its failing Developing a detailed project plan that
Access database with a stable, scalable, includes a phased approach and clear
and extensible data warehouse environment

WHAT WORKS in enterprise bi Volume 24 7

EntErprisE BusinEss intElligEncE

lEssOn frOm thE ExpErts

Transitioning from ENTERPRISE BI

Figure 1. moving from a series
of successful BI projects to
Successful BI Projects enterprisewide BI deployments
involves changing some of the

to Enterprise BI habits that made the initial

Business Value
projects successful. In particular,
By Timo Elliott organizations must consciously
Senior Director, Strategic Marketing, invest in wider, simpler access
Business Objects
for the other 85%the non-
expert users.
Its hard to think of an IT initiative that has BI Projects
as much potential to add value to todays
information-rich organizations as enter-
prise business intelligence (BI). Although Limit the number of self-service users Making information actionable by embed-
individual BI projects typically are very suc- ding BI directly into operational systems
cessful, many organizations stumble on Moving from a series of successful BI at the point of decision
their journey from initial project successes projects to enterprisewide BI deployments
to enterprisewide deployments. According involves changing some of the habits that This information infrastructure approach
to a recent Economist study, fewer than one made the initial projects successful. In par- puts the right framework in place for a
in 10 executives consider that they receive ticular, organizations must consciously invest culture of information use and fact-based
information when they need it, and fully 56 in wider, simpler access for the other 85 decision making. It fosters a spiral of
percent are concerned about making poor percentthe nonexpert users. increasing numbers of employees accessing,
choices because of faulty, inaccurate, or analyzing, and sharing dataand improving
incomplete data. Todays organizations should look to the operational performance.
success of Web 2.0-inspired initiatives
enterprise Bi success requires collaborative, Web-based communities such Supporting this information infrastructure
relearning some Key skills as Flickr, MySpace, and Facebook. Rather typically requires organizational and technol-
Just as Tiger Woods decided that he needed than focusing on advanced functionality, ogy changes. Some form of BI competency
to relearn his swing in order to take his these organizations start out with simple, center is essential, tasked with the optimal
game to the next level, organizations must useful functionalitymaking it easy to sign use of information across the organization as
reconsider some of the basics of their BI up, participate, and collaborate within the whole. One key task of the BI competency
deployments in order to move to enterprise community. Only after these organizations center is to standardize the BI products used
BI. In BI, just as in golf, some of the skills establish a community comfortable with the in the organizationfavoring easy-to-use,
and approaches typically associated with ini- basics do they implement more sophisticated Web-based systems that have the openness,
tial individual successes may actually hinder features and applications. breadth, and integration necessary to support
success at the enterprise BI level. the variety of environments, applications, and
implementing an information profiles that exist throughout the organization.
Individual BI projects typically focus on infrastructure
expert users who work with high-value infor- Enterprise BI success requires an approach conclusion
mation. This is a great place to start, but similar to the easy-to-use Web 2.0 models. Enterprise BI projects often fail because the
its easy to overdeliver to a small number of After several key successful projects are in majority of business users have little or no
vocal, technical users (generally estimated to place, progressive companies start filling in a connection with the BI system. Organizations
be 15 percent of the potential user popula- broad foundation of information use through- should invest in an information infrastruc-
tion), and miss the greater value of a broad out their organizations with the following ture that provides simple access to basic
deployment to less technically savvy users. elements: information for all usersnot just the BI
If experts are the only people using your BI expertsbefore attempting to implement
system, the temptation is to: A systems approach to data quality more complex systems. l
and monitoring
Fix problems such as data quality in a For free white papers on this topic, download
The Benefits of Business Intelligence
patchwork, ad hoc way Simpler data access for a broader range of
Standardization or Making a Strategic
users (and greater investment in training) Business Intelligence ChoiceA Checklist,
Tolerate poor ease of use and a confusing or click here for more information about
Business Objects.
variety of different systems An emphasis on collaboration and discus-
sion around data

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U.S. Defense
Commissary Agency
Enriches EDW with
Integration of XML
Data from Point-of-
Sale Systems
Commentary by Stan Ferguson
Chief, Data Management Division, DeCA

the Business In late 2006, DeCA began rolling out the first Be rapidly adapted to seamlessly inte-
The Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA) phase of a two-year, $200 million upgrade to grate XML/XSD and complex flat file data
supplies more than 12 million U.S. military POS systems at its 263 commissaries. Aging
customers with groceries, meats, and pro- NCR-based POS terminals and supporting Simultaneously integrate disparate data
duce at 263 commissaries around the world. software would be replaced by an IBM hard- from both legacy and new POS systems
Based in Fort Lee, Virginia, with more than ware and software package that DeCA called
18,000 employees, DeCA sold $5.41 billion CARTS (Commissary Advanced Resale Trans- Support greater load frequency and
in goods in 2006 at a 5 percent surcharge action System). The CARTS system offers reduce commissary restock time
over cost, saving customers more than 30 touch-screen and self-service checkout, as
percent over commercial prices. DeCA takes well as greater efficiency and reliability. the solution
customer satisfaction seriously, as dem- DeCA first selected PowerCenter in 2000 for
onstrated by a 4.61 satisfaction rating by CARTS also introduced a challenge for the its near-universal access to data, codeless
customers on a five-point scale. data integration processes that drove POS development environment, and flexibility for
information to the EDW. DeCA would need to future growth. By implementing PowerCenter
the challenge adapt its warehouse integration architecture for data warehousing, DeCA IT personnel
An enterprise data warehouse (EDW) is to accommodate XML/XSD data from the new and data integration experts from Claraview,
central to DeCAs strategic objective of cost- POS systems, while simultaneously integrating a Virginia-based consultancy specializing in
effective customer service. Throughout the flat file data from legacy POS systems. business intelligence, were knowledgeable
2000s, DeCA has expanded the warehouse in its capabilities. After due diligence, DeCA
that it uses to collect and track data gener- In the past, PowerCenter had sourced and decided that PowerCenter was ideally suited
ated by point-of-sale (POS) systems from delivered uncomplicated flat files generated to help it transition to the XML/XSD and com-
commissaries in the U.S. and around the by the POS terminals to the EDW. CARTS plex flat file processing required by CARTS.
world. DeCA uses the Informatica Power would use complex XML files based on an
Center platform to source POS data and industry standard XSD (XML Schema Defi- Initially, we had concerns over the data
channel it to a Teradata-based EDW. nition) as well as complex flat files derived integration challenges that arose as we
from the transaction data files. Naturally, looked at phasing in our new POS system,
With the EDW, hundreds of DeCA regional, this introduced new complications and chal- said Stan Ferguson, chief, data manage-
zone, and store managers have improved lenges on how the data would be integrated ment division, DeCA. But Informatica
customer service and product offerings into the warehouse. PowerCenter has let us quickly adapt our
by analyzing sales by time and geography, infrastructure to handle complex file data
promotion effectiveness, product affin- In addition, DeCA envisioned moving to a integration with our EDW with no disruption
ity, checkout time, and other dimensions. more real-time system by which POS data to our core business processes.
Importantly, the EDW also supplies data to loads to the warehouse would occur incre-
DeCAs computer-assisted ordering system mentally throughout the day, rather than PowerCenters support for complex files such
to help ensure that products customers want once a night. DeCA needed a data integra- as XML/XSD and complex flat files meant
are in stock. tion solution that could: that DeCA could readily access and integrate
continued on page 10

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continued from page 9

the new CARTS data, and would not need to data is due in large part to PowerCenters and a homegrown business intelligence tool
identify, test, and purchase a second integra- capacity to reuse source and target data called COMS (Commissary Operating Man-
tion platform, nor would it need to look at definition objects across multiple systems. agement System) enable DeCA managers
custom-coding alternatives that would have The reusability, along with PowerCenters to analyze customer satisfaction, product
been exponentially more costly, time-con- drag-and-drop ease of use, has dramati- performance and promotions, seasonal sales
suming, and prone to error. PowerCenters cally reduced the time otherwise required to fluctuation, and other characteristics.
platform-neutral architecture has enabled develop, test, and implement mappings.
development at a higher level of abstraction EnhAncE DATA AccuRAcy AnD TRuST In
by removing physical ties to data and allowed The reusability is very beneficial, said DEcISIon mAkIng
DeCA to adapt to different source types with- Griffith. Once someone builds a mapping, The core mission of DeCAs EDW team is to
out affecting business logic. you just save it and can reuse it elsewhere be the trusted historical central repository for
with some minimal tweaks. DeCA also data analysis. PowerCenter has helped the
With Informatica, we had a tool already in leverages reusable mappings to create and team build that trust with data quality tech-
place that could read the XML files, and then validate XML files from data in the Teradata nologies designed to ensure that warehouse
validate those XML files so we can import warehouse and send that information data is accurate and reliable. DeCA takes
data out of sources and targets, said Carol to CARTS. advantage of PowerCenter error handling
Griffith, EDW system manager. Compared capabilities to screen data being loaded
to other alternatives, it gives us a quick into the warehouse and deliver alerts on
Informatica gives us the ability to
turnaround. We dont have to invest in any attempted duplicate data entries and other
other software or integration platform, or get run the two heterogeneous POS anomalies. By avoiding the garbage in, gar-
resources trained in a new technology. bage out phenomenon, DeCAs warehouse
systems in parallel at the same
team has given business users confidence in
A team of four Claraview developers, already time by dramatically reducing the the integrity of POS data.
skilled in PowerCenter technology, was able
effort needed to adapt to the new
to rapidly adapt DeCAs existing PowerCenter ExTEnD EDW ATop A plATfoRm-nEuTRAl
solution to handle XML-based source data, data definitions. It also allowed us InTEgRATIon ARchITEcTuRE
as well as complex flat files. The XML/XSD In DeCAs pipeline is an initiative to extend
to move to a more real-time model
source systems went live in November 2006. the EDWs reach by using PowerCenter to
thus improving service to our integrate data from eight disparate instances
Once completed in 2008, CARTS will be of a 1982-vintage legacy application covering
servicemen and women.
deployed at each of DeCAs 263 commis- ordering, receiving, and inventory. This would
saries and PowerCenter adapted to integrate Stan Ferguson, DeCA give DeCA an on-demand enterprise view of
the XML/XSD and complex flat file data and core business activities, rather than manu-
deliver it to the EDW, which stores two years ally building a large workfile of data from the
of POS information, or about 4 TB of data ImpRoVE RESTockIng AnD cuSTomER eight instances to answer basic business
(with 7.5 TB of capacity). A full six years of SATISfAcTIon WITh RIghT-TImE DATA questions. From a broader perspective,
historical POS data is archived in storage. InTEgRATIon PowerCenters platform-neutral architecture
By updating POS data every 10 to 60 plays a key role in enabling DeCA to comply
PowerCenters performance in loading up minutes rather than nightly, PowerCenter with the Department of Defenses Business
to 15 million rows of XML/XSD data in 30 enhances the business value that DeCA real- Management Modernization Program, in part
minutes is well within DeCAs acceptable izes from its EDW by accelerating ordering with an open platform to replace or comple-
timeframes and achieved without the benefit and restock processes, particularly important ment aging, proprietary legacy systems. Also
of performance tuning and optimization. for perishable items. The accelerated load in the works are Power Center-based meta-
frequency can reduce by a day the time data services to enable users to easily search
the results required by DeCAs computer-assisted order- warehouse data and the establishment of a
SAVE DEVElopmEnT TImE AnD REDucE ing system to restock commissary shelves data management office. l
oVERAll coSTS with products that customers want and is an
DeCAs rapid adaptation of an existing data important step in DeCAs mission of maximiz-
integration solution to integrate CARTS POS ing customer satisfaction. The warehouse

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Redefining EDW:
Data Integration
Requirements for
Enterprise Data
applications in a flexible manner as part accelerates the time to market for new
Warehousing of a service-oriented architecture (SOA). projects, at lower implementation costs
EDW must also provide relevant business and risk.
By Judy Ko
Senior Director, Product Management, context for the data, so that the consum-
Informatica Corporation ers of the data are able to interpret it in a architectural considerations
meaningful way. One of the critical considerations for deploy-
ing EDW is creating an architecture that can
Data warehousing was once a siloed activ- TRuSTED, cERTIfIABly AccuRATE DATA support the data requirements of all types
ity dedicated to business intelligence and EDW must equip organizations to manage of applications. To succeed in achieving
reporting at a departmental or business unit data quality in a metric-driven, program- enterprisewide visibility, businesses need a
level. Over the last five years, however, the matic fashion. Maintaining data integrity seamless mechanism for users to access
brisk pace of change coupled with grow- and security across extended teams operational data in various transactional sys-
ing regulatory requirements has forced data throughout the data integration lifecycle tems and analytic data in data warehousing
warehousing into a mission-critical, opera- is required to meet regulatory compliance environments through a single abstraction
tional role. Meanwhile, technologies have and governance objectives. To ensure layer. This mechanism is data services.
matured to the point where they can support confidence in the validity of enterprise
these enterprise requirements. data, information as well as data flows By taking a service-oriented approach, IT is
and relationships must be auditable able to reuse data access, transformation,
Data warehousing has now evolved into a and traceable. and quality logic across multiple environ-
strategic, enterprisewide initiative that sup- ments, reducing the time to implement new
ports multiple business applications. An analytics functionality. IT is also able to lever-
To live up to its potential, enterprise
enterprise data warehouse is a common data age this same infrastructure to make the
foundation that provides any and all data for data warehousing must function data in warehouses relevant and available for
business needs across applications and divi- operational purposes, such as single-view
atop a data integration platform
sions. Enterprise data warehousing (EDW) is applications for improved customer service.
the process of designing, building, and man- that powers an ongoing lifecycle
aging an enterprise data warehouse to meet Finally, the data services infrastructure is
of data access, discovery, quality,
the requirements of consuming applications. able to support users who require data at
integration, and delivery from varying levels of latencybatch, real time,
Key capabilities of enterprise data virtually any system. and near real time. As business processes
warehousing evolve and businesses move from traditional
To live up to its potential, enterprise data decision-support systems to more operational
warehousing must function atop a data EnTERpRISE-clASS DEploymEnT READInESS decision making that requires operational
integration platform that powers an ongoing EDW must enable organizations to deliver business intelligence, the ability to support
lifecycle of data access, discovery, quality, data with scalability and high perfor- these varying latencies through an enterprise
integration, and delivery from virtually any mance, matched to the varying needs of data warehouse environment built on a data
system. Key capabilities that characterize an each business application. Adaptability services infrastructure has become a critical
enterprise data warehouse include: and flexibility in selecting appropriate factor for success. l
data integration methods within the EDW
BuSInESS RElEVAnT DATA AcRoSS is also critical to optimizing performance For free white papers on this topic, download
Redefining Enterprise Data Warehousing
ThE EnTERpRISE and costs. Real-time availability of data
(EDW): The Imperative for Taking Your Data
EDW must allow organizations to access, to front-line staff as well as executives Warehousing Practice Enterprise-Wide or
discover, and integrate data from virtually increases operational agility and on-the- Making Data Work: Addressing Data Quality
at the Enterprise Level, or click here for more
any business system, in any format. It ground intelligence. Finally, gathering
information about Informatica.
should deliver data throughout an enter- skilled resources and best practices
prise via data services to support multiple within an Integration competency center

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cal and ad hoc reporting capabilities needed
LLC: Improving to meet reporting needs. We also were
unable to track the sales performance of the reporting capabilities against this data.
Pharmaceutical companys flagship products and other sales Biltmore provides this hosted Web-based
initiatives efficiently. The Alpharma Pharma- solution to Alpharma, enabling the phar-
Sales and Marketing ceuticals sales group was unable to target maceutical company to analyze pre- and
the right prescribers or measure the impact post-marketing campaign data, prescribing
Effectiveness of our marketing initiatives in a timely fash- habits of target doctors, sales representative
ion. Alpharma Pharmaceuticals also wanted effectiveness, and product performance.
Commentary by Freddie Hannibal
Director of Sales Operations, Alpharma pharmaceutical data to be made available
Pharmaceuticals LLC more quickly to our user community. With the Biltmore-MicroStrategy solu-
tion, Alpharma Pharmaceuticals receives
We chose Biltmores BI solution a monthly briefing book that includes a
Alpharma Inc. is a global specialty pharma- wide variety of valuable reports customized
ceutical company with leadership positions
My Vital Signs Rx, anchored by the for each user across the organization. For
in products for humans and animals in more MicroStrategy platform, to provide example, an analyst accesses a report that
than 60 countries. Alpharma Inc., through lists prescribers and alerts decision makers
ad hoc query and reporting capabilities.
its subsidiary Alpharma Pharmaceuticals of upward or downward prescribing patterns.
LLC, has a growing, branded pharmaceutical With the Biltmore-MicroStrategy The vice president of sales accesses execu-
franchise in the chronic pain market with its solution, more than 200 users are tive dashboards that provide a pulse of the
morphine-based extended release Kadian business with one click to follow new product
product. In addition, Alpharma Inc. is among able to access dashboards, perform introductions and sales trends of existing
the worlds leading producers of several spe- analytics, and run intuitive reports, products. A district manager analyzes the
cialty pharmaceutical-grade bulk antibiotics success of a marketing campaign and learns
thereby improving Alpharmas sales
and is internationally recognized as a leading who is performing above or below goal.
provider of pharmaceutical products for poul- and marketing effectiveness.
try and livestock. Field users receive personalized briefing
Freddie Hannibal, Alpharma Pharmaceuticals LLC
books containing information about their
Biltmore Technologies offers My Vital Signs specific geography. Internal users receive
Rx, a hosted sales and marketing data Alpharma Pharmaceuticals conducted an personalized briefing books and can also
warehouse solution designed specifically for extensive review of pharmaceutical report- access and execute ad hoc queries via a
small to midsize pharmaceutical and bio- ing applications and found that Biltmore robust reporting library.
tech companies that lack the business and Technologies solution exceeded all of our
technical expertise to support their own data user requirements. We chose Biltmores BI results
warehouses. With My Vital Signs Rx, which solution, My Vital Signs Rx, anchored by the Alpharma Pharmaceuticals LLC has a single
is anchored by MicroStrategys business MicroStrategy platform, to provide ad hoc data source for all sales and marketing
intelligence software, pharmaceutical and query and reporting capabilities to the field business-critical reporting to support key
biotech companies are able to monitor new sales force, sales operations, sales and mar- business strategies, including the manage-
product introductions and track the sales keting managers, market research analysts, ment of its continued business growth. Users
performance of existing products, analyze the and executives. With the Biltmore-MicroStrat- are empowered with easier access to consis-
success of marketing campaigns, and deter- egy solution, more than 200 users are able tent and accurate data in a more complete
mine sales force and targeting effectiveness. to access dashboards, perform analytics, and and timely fashion, with the MicroStrategy
run intuitive reports, thereby improving Alp- platform enabling greater ad hoc querying
challenge harmas sales and marketing effectiveness. and analytical capabilities. Users can analyze
Alpharma Pharmaceuticals LLC was chal- data directly against the data warehouse for
lenged with finding a better BI reporting solution analysis and decision making that was not
solution and empowering the sales represen- Biltmore integrated Alpharma Pharma- possible before. The result: more precise
tatives in the field with the right information ceuticals sales force automation data and analysis of prescriber targets, more effective
at the right time. Our previous BI solution its syndicated data and partnered with call plans, and more focused sales and
lacked the robust and sophisticated analyti- MicroStrategy to leverage its analytical and marketing campaigns. l

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Solving the CIO

Dilemma: Breaking
the Reporting Backlog
with a New Formula
for Self-Service
By Mark LaRow
Vice President, Products, MicroStrategy

Every CIO who has invested in a data mart limited success. The subtleties of report like bookmarking a useful Web site, and can
or data warehouse faces a daunting problem design and the mechanics of design inter- then access it directly in the future. In this
of report development backlog. Even though faces limit this solution to only power users. way, users can create new report designs as
BI projects start off with modest report- Even then, 1,000 power users would need a natural part of their investigative process
ing requirements of 20 reports for the HR to create 1,900 reports each to satisfy all without ever having to learn how to design a
department and 15 reports for Finance, the realistic demands. report. Whats more, users can share those
report requests quickly balloon well beyond newly created report designs with other
this initial set. It seems as if every report The more practical answer lies in a lesson people without fear of exposing inappropriate
inspires the user to request two more related learned from the Internet where almost one data, because the ROLAP system automati-
reports to help answer questions raised in billion people browse and find information cally applies personalized security filters to
the original report. without becoming Internet programmers. every report regardless of how that report
While HTTP, search, and browsing works for was created or by whom.
To provide an idea of how serious this prob- Internet documents, a different technology
lem is, consider the vast number of reports is needed for surfing through the data ware- With ROLAP enabled self-service report-
that can be generated from even a modest house. That technology is relational online ing capabilities, such as object prompting
size data mart. Imagine a data mart with analytical processing (ROLAP). ROLAP and drill anywhere, users are empowered to
the following: allows a handful of reports to deliver the design their own reports exactly to their spec-
same analytic range as thousands of tradi- ifications. Streamlining the reporting process
5 dimensions tional reports using two powerful features enables any business user, not just power
unique to ROLAP: object prompting and users, to efficiently access the data they need
10 attributes per dimension drill anywhere. to manage their area of the business. l

10 metric areas Object prompting allows users to freely select For a free white paper on this topic, download
Enterprise Business Intelligence: Improving
any attributes and metrics to appear on a
Corporate Performance Through Integrated
20 specific metrics in each area report each time they run the report. Once Reporting, Analysis, and Monitoring, or click here
a user selects initial attributes and metrics for more information about MicroStrategy.
If we assume that all users will only ask for and runs the report, he or she can drill down
one simple uniform report structure con- anywhere within the multi-dimensionally
taining two attributes and two metrics, and modeled warehouse and, thus, successively
consider all the potential combinations and surf through combinations of data using
variations of data in the data mart, it would simple right mouse click actions.
require a staggering 1.9 million different
reports to show all the useful combinations of In this unique model of self-service, users
the data. (This even assumes that not all attri- see new combinations of data that might
butes need to be combined with all metrics.) have never been explicitly designed before,
because the ROLAP system can dynami-
The traditional response to this problem cally assemble any combination of attributes
proffered by BI vendors is to encourage on the fly. Once a user finds a useful new
users to design their own reports using self- combination of data, they can save that
service. However, this strategy has only had combination as a newly created report, just

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Pitney Bowes
Improves Total Cost
of Ownership with
Enterprise Business
Commentary by William Duffy
Data Warehouse Project Manager, Pitney Bowes Inc.
to a salesperson, need a repair on a piece of helping us deliver the best possible service
equipment, or need to talk to someone about said Duffy.
Pitney Bowes is a mailstream technology a bill, Duffy said. Managing all that informa-
company that helps organizations worldwide tion is a huge challenge. So Pitney Bowes Oracle business intelligence provides laser-
manage the flow of information, mail, docu- sought continuity and compatibility with its like visibility into the performance of every
ments, and packages through its integrated CRM solution and broader IT infrastructure, sales rep, Duffy said. We can better under-
mail, messaging, and document manage- which includes several Oracle databases in stand how agents are spending their time
ment solutions. Its 35,000 employees deliver its data warehouse environment. Oracle is and whats not working. Oracles business
technology, service, and innovation to more our primary database platform, with well over intelligence is key to our success in manag-
than two million customers worldwide. It 600 different production databases installed. ing key performance indicators in call center
operates four call centers and employs 1,250 We are running Oracle Real Application productivity, field service organization, and
sales associates and 1,500 field service rep- Clusters in some of our high availability envi- effective campaigns.
resentatives in North America alone. ronments, Duffy said.
On the marketing side, Duffy noted, Our
Pitney Bowes turned to Oracle for a compre- biggest challenge was creating campaigns
With Oracles business intelligence
hensive business intelligence (BI) solution and using the data effectively to understand
that not only brought cohesiveness and solution, we were able to deliver the buying and service behaviors of the cus-
greater analytical capabilities to its sales and tomer. Now analytic dashboards drive every
more than 400 reports to a large
marketing operations, but would also work in important customer retention campaign,
the context of Pitney Bowes multifaceted IT organization with just one person including identifying and targeting customers
infrastructure. Our technology requirement with expiring leases. By enabling marketing
now thats cost effective.
spans more than 10 legacy systems deployed to segment customers, we can ensure that
on different technologies, said William Duffy, William Duffy, Pitney Bowes Inc. we call the right customers at the right time
data warehouse project manager at Pitney so we can retain those customers and gener-
Bowes Inc. Oracle Business Intelligence ate new business.
Enterprise Edition was one of the few BI tools Pitney Bowes needed to enable its sales
capable of meeting the challenge. representatives to associate each customer Taking advantage of the prebuilt Oracle BI
inquiry with a type of accountlarge or applications, Pitney Bowes was able to reduce
Over the past few years, Pitney Bowes has smallto ensure they were providing the the total cost of ownership of its BI infrastruc-
been on a nonstop growth trajectory, fueled appropriate level of service. Its Oracle solu- ture and also integrate BI into its business
by a string of acquisitions and a worldwide tion now allows each representative to processes. Because the solution is based on
push to expand its service operations. To immediately access all information on a hot-pluggable architecture, the company
ensure that all customersnew or oldre- each customer. can get insight from its legacy systems and
ceive fast, appropriate services and offerings, third-party solutions and analyze information
the company launched a program called We needed a business intelligence solu- from historical and real-time data sources.
The Power of One in 2002, which sought tion that would provide all customer-facing
to provide customers with a consistent expe- associates with the same customer informa- Other benefits achieved include enhanced
rience across all business units. tion in real time so they understand who the sales productivity through better customer
customer isregardless of the customers insight, increased responsiveness of sales
Pitney Bowes receives approximately 30,000 location, history, and time with Pitney Bowes. associates, leading to greater customer satis-
customer calls daily. On any given day, each We also wanted to be able to analyze pro- faction, and improved marketing effectiveness
of those customers has the potential to speak ductivity and performance, which is key to with better segmentation and targeting. l

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Todays Enterprise
Business Intelligence
By Jos Villacs
Director, Business Intelligence Product Marketing,
Oracle Corporation

Business intelligence (BI) continues to evolve Thats why were embedding BI technology information technology, desktop operation
and become even more strategic, both within in the processes that our employees use all and maintenance, center communications,
organizations systems infrastructure and as the time. Our strategy involves delivering BI test utility operations, environmental safety,
part of the daily working tools used by decision information at the point of contactideally industrial health, and quality assurance,
makers. One of the main characteristics of at the exact moment that its needed. (See among other performance indicators.
enterprise BI today is greater, all-encompass- Radiating Intelligence, David Baum, Oracle
ing insight into business operations and the Magazine, March/April 2007.) British Telecom is one of the worlds largest
individual contribution of business processes providers of telecommunications solutions,
in the overall performance of the business. The concept of providing employees with a with operations in 170 countries. More
complete view of their investors is not new; than 10,000 users in various divisions rely
This concept of pervasive BI is marked by the but its easier said than done if youre not on Oracle technology to analyze customer
delivery of intuitive, role-based intelligence to using state-of-the-art BI technology. behavior, develop customer demand, and
senior management and front-line employees streamline financial planning processes by
alike, not only providing insight about their Enterprise BI technology is adopting an enterprise approach to measur-
functional area, but also about the organiza- ing performance.
tions performance and how they contribute marked by its capability to integrate
to it. This is based on a set of uniform defini- with diverse and dispersed sources Enterprise BI technology is also marked by
tions recognized and agreed upon throughout its capability to integrate with diverse and
the organization and also used by a variety of of information throughout the dispersed sources of information through-
financial and operational systems leveraging organization. out the organization. This is referred to as
service-oriented architectures (SOA). hot-pluggable, meaning that BI imple-
mentations must be open and modular.
Consider TIAA-CREF, a national financial Its not just about sales metrics or service The goal is to allow companies to use and
services organization with more than $414 metrics, Zimmer continues. Its also about easily leverage their existing data sources,
billion in combined assets under manage- cause and effect. When you can connect middleware technologies, and other systems
ment (3/31/07) and the leading provider marketing, service, and sales, you start to see regardless of environments and state of
of retirement services in the academic, relationships that werent obvious before. implementation maturity.
research, medical, and cultural fields. It has
more than 1,500 call center agents serving Another characteristic of todays enterprise BI In summary, the three key characteristics of
3.2 million individual investors, and 600 field is organizations recognition that the technol- enterprise BI today are: 1) it should provide
agents serving institutional investors. ogy goes beyond a particular type of query, a comprehensive view of enterprise perfor-
reporting, or analytics tool typically delivering mance; 2) it should be pervasive; and 3) it
TIAA-CREF embeds Oracle BI capabilities siloed information. Enterprise BI is a compre- should help extend the value of existing tech-
within its customer relationship management hensive portfolio of technologies, involving nological investments. l
(CRM) applications to improve front-line financial performance management, opera-
sales, support, and case management. This tional intelligence, transactional applications, For a free white paper on this topic, download
Business Intelligence and Service Oriented
way it enables call center agents to quickly and data repositories.
Architectures, or click here for more
identify particular situations, notify key people information about Oracle.
to take action, and trigger workflows that start For example, at the Arnold Air Force Base,
or change a related business process. Arnold Engineering Development Centerthe
nations largest complex of flight simulation
Most people dont have time to search test facilitiesuses Oracle BI technology
for problems and opportunities by look- to help monitor center-wide activities. This
ing through daily reports, explains Kurt includes operational maintenance of a wide
Zimmer, vice president of CRM Delivery. variety of unique aerospace test facilities,

WHAT WORKS in enterprise bi Volume 24 15

EntErprisE BusinEss intElligEncE

c a s E s t u Dy

Information as a
Service Delivers
Consistent Information
for Business versions of key reference, customer, and initiative and enables them to respond more
vendor information. Executives worried that quickly to market needs and more rapidly
Intelligence the lack of consistent data could affect certifi- identify new opportunities.
cation and legal reporting processes as well as
Commentary by Sean T. Crowley
Market Management, IBM Information Integration the overall accuracy of decision making based For example, with IBM Information Server
Solutions, IBM Software Group on their business intelligence applications. software, the IT staff has created more than
100 reusable integration objects and inter-
information as a service faces to enable the collection, integration,
For any retailer, sustaining growth requires To enable change and gain greater value and transformation of data. These compo-
ongoing innovation. At one of North Ameri- from its raw business data, company execu- nents can be plugged into new applications
cas largest retailers, enriching category and tives focused their IT teams on creating to enable them to share information with any
item planning and streamlining product intro- information services that could be readily of the companys database subsystems and
ductions help the company get new products available to any process, person, and appli- existing applications.
to market more quickly. Real-time visibility to cation as needed.
sales and order status, in-store kiosks, and As a result, the company has been able to
service desk enhancements help improve the reduce the time and cost of developing new
The retailer has been able to
customer experience and further differenti- applications and take advantage of existing
ate their brand. New efficiencies in managing reduce its application development legacy applications when creating new Web-
stock and collaborative forecasting and based services.
time dedicated to integration by
replenishment help ensure that the products
customers want are readily available on store up to 85 percent, with integration- cost-effective delivery of accurate,
shelves. In order to succeed in these efforts,
related development requiring timely information
they needed a solid foundation that provides Through the use of IBM Information on
accurate information wherever and whenever between 3 percent and 6 percent Demand technology, the company can now
its needed. deliver information as a service, making it
of developers time.
available to those who need it, when they
complexity hampers progress need it.
However, with multiple disparate applications In order to achieve its desired result, the
and multiple platforms, databases, data entry company leveraged a service-oriented On the IT side, application development and
points, and transaction processing protocols, architecture upon which applications would integration at this company is dramatically
business and IT staff were concerned with be autonomous from information sources faster than the industry average. The retailer
the accessibility and accuracy of information. and would not share any database directly. has been able to reduce its application devel-
Knowledge of interconnections would be opment time dedicated to integration by up
For each new application, developers had removed from both the source application to 85 percent, with integration-related devel-
to write code to share information between and the target data source and would be opment requiring between 3 percent and 6
applications and supporting data sources. stored centrally. percent of developers time.
Even off-the-shelf applications often needed
to be customized. And each time application By looking at information as a service and On the business side, faster development
changes were made or new software versions decoupling it from the actual applications, means faster time to market with new ser-
released, the code would need to be rewritten. the company could simplify operations, more vices and more time available to focus on
These processes were time-consuming and quickly adapt to change, and better leverage higher-value tasks. Additionally, with access
expensive and slowed the companys ability to their existing investments. to real-time data, business staff can gain
sense and respond to market opportunities. greater insight from existing information and
increased responsiveness with reduce the risks that come with using out-
Additionally, different applications often information on demand of-date, inconsistent, or bad information for
pulled and updated data to and from different IBM Information Integration software is at decision making and reporting. l
sources. It meant the existence of multiple the heart of this companys information

16 WHAT WORKS in enterprise bi Volume 24

EntErprisE BusinEss intElligEncE

lEssOn frOm thE ExpErts

Dynamic Warehousing: People, Processes,


The Next Evolution of

Data Warehousing PROCESS SEARCH & TEXT
Senior Product Marketing Manager, IBM Information
Platform & Solutions INDUSTRY ENTERPRISE
Traditional data warehouses are increasingly
being challenged by demands for real-time
data access, analysis of structured and
unstructured data, and the need to synchro-
nize core customer and product information
across operational systems to create a single Figure 1. A dynamic warehouse has an extended infrastructure that leverages metadata to extend the
view of the enterprise. These changes are the data warehouse to operational systems as well as traditional business intelligence applications.
result of new business requirements to lever-
age enterprise information more effectively in ness insights by integrating, transforming, Monitor and analyze data sources for
order to: harvesting, and analyzing insights from struc- structure and content to ensure the
tured and unstructured information. Capable best data is being accessed for each
Identify new opportunities and deliver of processing large amounts of information, application
new products to market faster a dynamic warehousing infrastructure can Provide tools that enable business
Optimize business processes through enable organizations to respond on demand users and IT staff to collaborate on data
real-time information and analytics to unscheduled analysis requests, and requirements and definitions
Provide increased visibility to business as events trigger the need for information Deliver impact analysis and data lineage
performance throughout the day. reports to coordinate changes and pro-
Meet industry compliance standards for vide visibility to critical data flows
reporting A key component of a dynamic warehouse Deliver data that has been cleansed and
environment is the data warehouse platform. harmonized to the warehouse regardless
Yet most long-standing data warehouses are To implement a dynamic warehouse, the of volume or latency requirements
designed to support a relatively small number platform should be able to: Synchronize master data for key business
of users who access information to support entities across operational systems
strategic decisions, financial planning, and Process transactions and analytical
the production of standard reports that track requests Combining the right warehouse platform, a
performance. Today, many more users need Handle varying service level agreements comprehensive industry data model with a
to access information in context and in-line (SLA) unified platform for data integration that all
so that critical functions are optimized to run Scale easily as the number of applica- share business concepts, transformation rules,
efficiently. Information about customers tions grows and metadata will enable the deep collabora-
both structured and unstructuredmust be Analyze structured as well as unstruc- tion between business analysts and IT that is
analyzed and delivered wherever it is needed. tured data required to deliver information on demand.
Key performance indicators (KPIs) should Provide real-time analytics that can be
also be available at all times to monitor per- embedded in business processes By creating a roadmap for a truly dynamic
formance. In short, business intelligence is Support advanced analytics such as data warehouse, organizations can meet their
becoming embedded in key business pro- mining within the data warehouse most pressing needs for business intelligence
cesses. today, while ensuring a data warehouse envi-
The requirements for dynamic warehous- ronment that can help support rapid growth,
To create a true enterprise view of informa- ing go well beyond having the right data significant change and increasing demand for
tion that supports strategic and operational warehouse platform, however. A dynamic real-time information. l
functions, enterprise data warehouses must warehouse requires an extended infrastruc- For a free white paper on this topic, download
be reinvented as a dynamic source of cur- ture (see Figure 1) to: The Dynamic Warehouse Infrastructure:
rent and historical information. Dynamic Establishing a New Foundation to Meet New
Information Requirements, or click here for
warehousing is an approach that enables Implement changes to the business more information about IBM Corporation.
organizations to deliver more dynamic busi- model without affecting usage

WHAT WORKS in enterprise bi Volume 24 17

Q& A with the Experts Actuate Business Objects

A business intelligence or data

warehouse implementation can be
Q how can i accomplish true Q our company has seen sizable
spreadsheet automation? growth in our internet sales
a formidable undertaking. In these channel over the past few years,
pages, leading business intelligence
A Eliminate common problems at their but we know very little about the
source so that the data is correct, com- customers who useor dont
and data warehousing solution plete, and secure, the formulas and design usethis channel. how can we
structure of the document are sturdy and optimize even more sales and
providers share their answers
accurate, and the process is repeatable and profitability through this channel?
to the questions they hear often reliable. Focus on:
from industry professionals.
The data. Eliminate manual entry, A Integrate customer segmentation data
copy and paste, and .CSV importing from a third-party source with your
mark Hammond, an independent as much as possible; instead, manage transactional data from your Web site to
queries through an enterprise metadata target customers who are not yet using
consultant, provides his analyst
layer to ensure accuracy and security. this channel or who abandon a pur-
viewpoint for each Q&A. The design. Use a blueprint-based chase before completion. An online ticket
design approach and tools specifically broker recently did this and gained greater
meant to improve design practices. understanding of customer buying pat-
The distribution. Automate with a terns. Now it can anticipate demand and
server-centric architecture that manu- deploy changes to its marketplace in near
factures pure Excel documents and does real time to accommodate market-chang-
not require an Office plug-in to pull ing events.
data in order to refresh the document.
A nA ly s t V i e w p oi n t
A nA ly s t V i e w p oi n t Third-party demographic data that matches
Despite glitzier BI applications, spreadsheets the identity of customers who have pur-
remain a highly popular data analysis tool. chased from your Web site can provide a
Loyal users have been willing to tolerate the huge advantage in building out profiles by
risk of errors introduced through manual data age, gender, location, and buying patterns.
entry, as well as the time required to load and Look to capture as much information as pos-
manipulate data. The business as a whole, sible about buyers during your e-commerce
of course, is more risk-averse and frowns on transaction processes (short, unobtrusive
unrepeatable processes, redundancy, and surveys can be effective). Close analysis of
duplication of spreadmarts. Spreadsheet Web site traffic patterns can pay off with
automation can offer a significant improve- revealing trends showing how surfers got to
ment by centralizing spreadsheet creation your site, and where they go next. Over time,
and distribution in a consistent framework. you can build a foundation of segmented
Adopters should take pains to implement customer information that is ripe for BI anal-
appropriate access and security mechanisms, ysis to determine sales channel effectiveness
and some organizations will want to examine and customer preferences and to support
spreadsheet automation from a compliance targeted marketing campaigns with special
perspective to ensure verifiable data integrity. offers, e-newsletters, and the like.

18 WHAT WORKS in enterprise bi Volume 24

Q&a with thE ExpErts

Collaborative DataFlux DATAllegro

Q we have an existing data Q whats the best way to start Q we would like to encrypt
warehouse that was built to a data governance program? our data warehouse in order
support the business, but usage to be compliant with recent
is lower than expected. how can A Any data governance program will cover legislation, but we are
we foster adoption? three elements: people, policies, and tech- concerned about performance.
nology. To begin any effort, companies is it possible to encrypt data
A The answer is simple, but the challenge should assess their level of maturity across but not affect data load and
is not. Give the business what it needs, each of those elements. For the people data query performance?
not what you think it needs, or what they component, organizations can measure
ask for the first time out. It is difficult what level of support the governance A Absolutely. Many data warehouse admin-
for users to articulate exactly what they effort has (executive, director) as well istrators assume that data encryption is
want before they see it for the first time. as the number of resources devoted to expensive, difficult to administer, and will
Low adoption or waning adoption is not data stewardship. Policies refers to the create a significant degradation to perfor-
uncommon once the initial enthusiasm number and complexity of business rules mance. This is because most encryption
wears off and the limitations become and controls that the company can imple- schemes rely on software-based encryp-
apparent. Revisiting the business purpose ment within the IT environment. Finally, tion, or they try to employ encryption
and applicability frequently with the users technology refers to the data profiling, of data in flight. With hardware-based
is key to success. Continually ask the data quality, and data monitoring capa- encryption for data at rest, a dedicated
question, What purpose does the data bilities available to enhance and maintain encryption engine sits between the data-
warehouse serve for the business, and how the value of corporate information. base and the disk storage used by each
well is it serving that purpose? server. Since all data is decrypted before
the database software starts processing
A nA ly s t V i e w p oi n t
it, all queries and loads work the same
A nA ly s t V i e w p oi n t The short answerkeep it simple! Start as before, with no significant impact on
To increase the adoption and value from a your data governance program by using performance.
data warehouse, its essential to first under- a framework of the six basic questions of
stand why usage is lower than expected. who, what, where, when, why, and how. A nA ly s t V i e w p oi n t
Survey the user population on what they like This clearly defined structure can bring Identifying and implementing an ideal
and what they dont. Identify the pain points focus to your efforts and plainly delineate encryption solution can be nearly as
that users experience. Assemble a focus challenges, objectives, and roadmaps for a complex as encrypted data itself. The
group that drives collaboration between diverse group of stakeholders. Organizations choices typically involve trade-offs in price,
business and IT. Training sessions provide need to be sensitive to the risk of a data performance, and degrees of security. Hard-
an opportunity to hear user concerns and governance program spiraling into unneces- ware-based solutions can sidestep the load
communicate the DW value proposition. sary complexity and contradictory concepts and query performance penalty inevitable
Recognize that force-feeding new technolo- from the start. By starting simply, you can with database-level encryption by offloading
gies often generates resistance and subpar build a readily understood foundation that encryption to a dedicated machine; however,
adoption. If your users are reluctant to progressively matures as participants master some of these systems can be expensive
abandon Excel, look into Excel add-ons that the nuances and details typical to data gov- and introduce an additional layer of inter-
interface with your data warehouse to help ernance. Naturally, organizations will benefit faces to manage. Despite the management
incrementally boost usage. by researching best practices and lessons overhead that both software- and hardware-
learned from companies that have adopted based encryption can impose, encryption
data governance programs. offers the ultimate in data security and is
attracting increased attention from organiza-
tions with a need to protect sensitive data.

WHAT WORKS in enterprise bi Volume 24 19

Q&a with thE ExpErts


Q Gis seems to be deployed Q what exactly is ad hoc query Q how important is metadata
departmentally; can it be a and reporting and how can i for successful data
strategic enterprise resource? use it to improve adoption of my warehousing projects?
Bi solution?
A ESRI has developed its products based A Extremely important. A centralized
on open standards, ensuring a high level A Ad hoc tools allow users to spontane- metadata repository for information
of interoperability across platforms, ously browse, slice and dice, and discover integrationone that supports analysis
databases, development languages, and aggregate intelligence and detail evidence. and active sharing of metadata artifacts
applications. ESRIs GIS applications are This contrasts with more static BI models across a full range of integration activities
engineered to be an integral part of an where subscribers receive reports predeter- and user rolesincreases the trust and
organizations strategic IT infrastructure. mined by power users. understanding of the information. These
Our use of Web standards such as XML, To provide such an application, rel- artifacts include: technical metadata
SOAP, UDDI and WSDL has led to suc- evant datastores (e.g., a data warehouse or about the various sources of informa-
cessful enterprise SOA implementations internal/external sources) are connected to tion; business metadata that describes
where specific location services such as a data cleansing, text analytics, and high- the business meaning and usage of infor-
geocoding, are being used throughout the performance index and query engine. On mation; and operational metadata that
organization. Our support of standard this platform, one or more ad hoc entry describes what happens within the inte-
developer environments including VB, points can be provided (keyword query- gration process. As companies seek to
C++, .NET, and Java has led to integra- ing, dynamically built drill-down trees, gain a more comprehensive viewpoint
tions with all major BI platforms. etc.) to access real-time aggregates and of their information, they need a way to
distribution charts. keep track of how these different sources
With an ad hoc reporting tool, indi- are related and how information is being
A nA ly s t V i e w p oi n t
viduals can view the facts and figures pulled together and presented in report-
To date, most GIS deployments in main- relevant to their tasks, thereby increas- ing and analysis tools.
stream business (outside of specialized ing their performance and effectiveness.
utilities and energy systems, for instance) The combined intuitive simplicity and
A nA ly s t V i e w p oi n t
have focused on specific issues such as direct feedback are proven to dramatically
increase user adoption of BI tools. The need for regulatory compliance is a
store location, customer clustering, and
high-profile business driver that is prompt-
logistics. Lately, however, spatial data is
ing organizations to pay more attention to
increasingly featured in BI dashboards and A nA ly s t V i e w p oi n t
the management of metadata in data ware-
provides business users with a visual means Theoretically, ad hoc query and reporting
housing and operational systems. Leading
of understanding and analyzing information empowers enterprising business users to
metadata management tools feature robust
in a location-based context. Giving users explore data by drilling down, slicing and
lineage tracking, change analysis, and audit-
an opportunity to explore the capabilities of dicing, and conducting what-if analysis. The
ability features that can help organizations
GIS in dashboards is a good way to further dividends can be huge if a user discovers
better account for the iterations and lifecycle
adoption across the enterprise. Partnerships an unrecognized relationship that bears on
of enterprise information at a granular meta-
between GIS and BI vendors have made efficiency or the bottom line. On the other
data level. However, organizations need to
spatial analysis an option for many organiza- hand, organizations need to recognize that
be wary of the risk of architecting metadata
tions, and, interestingly, Web 2.0 sites such extending ad hoc query across a broad user
silos and should strive towards standards-
as frappr.com are helping to put spatial data base can mean that some users will waste
based, extensible metadata models that
more squarely on the map. hours running queries of little business
reduce, rather than add to, complexity in the
value, sometimes merely to satisfy intellec-
data management infrastructure.
tual curiosity. Organizations will profit by a
judicious allocation of ad hoc query capabili-
ties and by monitoring the usage and overall
effectiveness of these analytic tools.

20 WHAT WORKS in enterprise bi Volume 24

Q&a with thE ExpErts

Informatica Information Builders Microsoft

Q what is the role of data Q use of business intelligence and Q how does microsoft plan
integration for enterprise analytics is not new. how have to democratize performance
data warehousing? customers requirements for management?
these decision-support solutions
A A critical consideration for deploying changed in the last few years? A Traditional inhibitors to the broad adop-
enterprise data warehousing is creating tion of performance management have
an architecture that can support the data A The change occurs in two areas: people been high costs associated with implemen-
requirements of all types of applications. and data. Organizations access and ana- tations, complex tools and user interfaces
This is a departure from traditional lyze less than 20 percent of the data they that require costly and time-consuming
thinking, in which the data warehouse collect from their business processes and training for employees, and confusion
was built to support a relatively limited systems. The nontechnical managers, over disparate systems and tools for the
set of reports and analytics, and was operational employees, business partners, various capabilities, including planning,
tightly coupled to the business intelli- and customers demand it, and we have budgeting, forecasting, analytics and
gence application. an opportunity to address the demands scorecarding. Performance management
In contrast, the enterprise data of masses of users. The interface for BI is tools and processes traditionally have
warehousing (EDW) process must func- no longer a complex tool or a manually also been siloed or stovepiped, mean-
tion atop a data integration platform generated spreadsheet; instead, it takes ing that they sit outside the day-to-day
that powers the ongoing lifecycle of data the form of custom applications, dash- business processes of most employees.
access, discovery, quality, integration, and boards, operational scorecards, maps, Office PerformancePoint Server 2007
delivery via data services that can support and data visualization elements. Data was designed to address and eliminate
multiple applications as part of a service- architectures for BI must go beyond the these inhibitors, enabling performance
oriented architecture (SOA). traditional data warehouse and incorpo- management across the enterprise, not
rate operational and third-party data, as just for the CFO and financial analyst.
well as new types of data.
A nA ly s t V i e w p oi n t
Because it spans multiple divisions and A nA ly s t V i e w p oi n t
geographic locations and is aimed at improv- A nA ly s t V i e w p oi n t Giving lower-level employees tools that
Over the past few years, broadened BI encourage contributions to enterprise per-
ing enterprise performance, enterprise data
adoption has given organizations a good formance is a sound idea. The concept of
warehousing puts an even greater premium
read on the insights and value that may be democratizing performance management,
on the quality, consistency, and accuracy of
generated by an effective BI deployment. a key theme in Microsofts rollout of its
data. As a result, the data integration pro-
Now customers are looking to build on PerformancePoint CPM solution, will prompt
cesses that support EDW are arguably the
success in several key areas, including: customer organizations to ask what per-
most important element in the EDW equa-
1) enhancing the business relevance of formance management means for a CFO
tion. Perfecting data integration technologies
data; 2) enabling more proactive decision- versus a call center rep versus other user
and processes for EDW can be a significant
making; 3) tightening real-time BI integration roles. Organizations that extend greater
challenge given the breadth and complexity
with business processes; and 4) improving performance management to lower-level
of enterprise data and the range of disparate
end-user trust in data accuracy. To achieve employees will need to safeguard informa-
source systems. However, organizations that
those objectives, customers are looking for tion access to ensure security of sensitive
sidestep this critical element introduce the
standards-based solutions that integrate in sales, productivity, and other performance-
significant risk of the garbage in, garbage
an SOA and reduce the complexity of siloed related information.
out phenomenon and can undermine the
BI deployments, transitioning towards holistic
value that EDW offers.
enterprise BI systems.

WHAT WORKS in enterprise bi Volume 24 21

Q&a with thE ExpErts

MicroStrategy Oracle Pentaho

Q whats the best way for Q what can my organization Q what can Bi vendors do to
executives to consume all of gain by integrating business become more customer-centric?
the data needed to manage intelligence technologies with
their businesses? service-oriented architectures A Given the increasing adoption and stra-
(soa)? tegic importance of BI, customers are
A Every day, executives and managers are now expecting greater transparency from
faced with the challenge of reviewing vol- A First, it can gain an understanding of their BI vendors. In many instances,
umes of data to make important business the business performance impact of busi- customers and prospects want access to
decisions. Traditionally, managers would ness processes. Improving business results product documentation, product road-
have to find, run, and review dozens of requires detailed business insight. With- maps, and unfiltered feedback from other
reports and piece together similar data out enough insight into the impact and users, or even trial software for products
among those reports. With the new breed contribution of a business process on over- that they have not purchased. Customers
of dynamic dashboards, information from all performance and goals, it is difficult to shouldnt be afraid to ask for any of these,
a dozen or more reports can be compressed determine what changes should be made and vendors shouldnt hesitate to provide
into one expressive dashboard. Intuitive to improve business performance. them. BI licensing is another area that
on-dashboard controls allow users to flip Second, facilitate business users needs more transparency. Customers hate
rapidly through interrelated information taking actions as a result of insight. When repurchasing products or paying enable-
views without changing focus or context. business users gain insights that flag a ment fees for products they thought they
The dashboard buttons and selectors are business performance issue, the resulting already had paid for.
easy to use, so users dont need training. corrective actions often require invok-
Managers can now find all of the inter- ing a business process. These processes
A nA ly s t V i e w p oi n t
related data in a single dashboard. could now be started directly from the BI
dashboards used to analyze performance, Steady growth in the availability and func-
thereby improving efficiency and agility. tionality of open source BI software is
A nA ly s t V i e w p oi n t
beginning to drive greater customer-centric-
Dashboards and scorecards have emerged
ity in the BI market. Traditional BI vendors
as preferred ways for many executives to A nA ly s t V i e w p oi n t
are having to rethink licensing terms, free
Business intelligence is a natural fit for the
view performance information and quickly
trials, upgrade cycles, and source docu-
service-oriented architecture (SOA). Prop-
find, analyze, and explore the data they
mentation as the number of open source
erly implemented, an SOA can provide a
need to perform their jobs. Which solution
BI providers grows and more enterprises
loosely coupled and extensible environment
is selected will depend on business needs,
explore open source BI as a lower-cost,
in which previously siloed BI applica-
and its worthwhile to understand the subtle
quick-hit alternative to traditional solutions.
tions can interoperatean important step
distinction between the two. Dashboards are
On the technology side, commercial vendors
towards realizing the ideal of enterprise data
geared to inform users what the organization
are challenged to answer increased cus-
warehousing and enterprise performance
is doing. Scorecards emphasize how well
tomer demand for highly flexible, SOA-ready
management. Query and reporting can be
they are doing it by tracking progress against
applications based on open standards that
rendered as services (executing in concert
metrics. Clarifying business objectives for
can be readily embedded in existing sys-
with requisite data integration services)
a dashboard (management) or scorecard
tems. As open source BI continues to evolve,
that readily extend the functional reach
(monitoring) at the start will help your
transparency and flexibility in meeting cus-
of analytics across a broader number of
organization select and deploy the optimal
tomer expectations will be key.
source systems. Start with small, quick-hit
solution for executives to consume and react
projects that deliver high value and build a
to business information.
foundation of modular components and best
practices that can be incrementally extended
across your infrastructure.

22 WHAT WORKS in enterprise bi Volume 24

Q&a with thE ExpErts


Q why is it important to empower Q how can i extract intelligence Q how can i increase user
business users to own and from textual data? scalability in a distributed
manage cpm solutions? analytics environment?
A Text is very different from the conven-
A Businesses change continuously. IT tional, structured data held in customer A A Sybase IQ multiplex configuration pro-
doesnt understand nuances of the data warehouses, but it is rich in con- vides virtually unlimited user scalability.
changes, and the business users cant text. You can mine text (for example, To increase the number of users, add a
implement them. As a result, systems are call center notes or responses to survey Sybase IQ node running on an additional
months behind business requirements. questions) to extract conceptsthe server. Each node can support different
It is important that business users are most important and relevant words and users or manage different reporting or
empowered to react to change and imple- phrases. These concepts, along with query workloads. Nodes can also parti-
ment the changes on their own. This is information on how they are linked tion the user base by service quality, so
most critical for corporate performance to each other and the sentiment (posi- that higher performing nodes can support
management (CPM) solutions. With bud- tive/negative) associated with them, are high value users or applications.
geting or variance analysis reporting, or a effectively structured data. They can Multiplexing enables Sybase IQ to
strategy review, needs of users dynamic be merged with behavioral, descriptive, optimize workloads across multiple serv-
and often ad hoc; it is essential that busi- and attitudinal data to build a holistic ers within a single environment. With one
ness users model and implement changes. customer view for predictive analytics. writer node and multiple reader nodes,
CPM offerings enable the business user to adding additional applications and users
own, model, and maintain the solutions. to a database can be solved simply by
A nA ly s t V i e w p oi n t
This, along with the advantage of integra- adding reader nodes. The impact is mini-
tion with ERP and built-in governance, Vendors have made significant strides in the mal, as nodes do not depend upon or
risk, and compliance (GRC), can help sophistication and functionality of text ana- interfere with each other.
business users implement changes without lytics software in recent years. The how
depending on IT. of text mining will vary by product, but the A nA ly s t V i e w p oi n t
why is common across many organiza- Grid computing environments are gaining
A nA ly s t V i e w p oi n t tions: unstructured and semistructured data attention as viable platforms to enhance
The desirability of business owners using and is necessary for organizations that want to scalability for large-scale data warehousing
managing corporate performance manage- achieve a fully mature view of enterprise as RDBMS, BI, and data integration vendors
ment solutions (CPM) reflects a broader trend performance. TDWI research shows that increasingly add native functionality to take
towards greater business-side involvement in organizations use of unstructured data advantage of multi-node clusters. These
and management of BI systems. Organizations in data warehouses is on the rise, while platforms will feature load balancing algo-
are gravitating toward a more user-centric BI vendors and data warehousing profession- rithms to distribute queries across nodes
model and away from the IT-led, systems-ori- als are working to refine techniques and based on resource utilization (e.g., CPU
ented data management practices of the past. technologies needed to transform it into usage, memory, disk speed), and enable
Achieving this ideal requires greater collabora- structures meaningful to a warehouse or administrators to prioritize task execution
tion between business and IT, with tech-savvy to a reporting tool. based on user role, time of day, short- and
business sponsors who can bridge the gap long-running queries, and other criteria.
between corporate objectives and support- Naturally, diligent trial-and-error application
ing technology. CPM systems are an obvious of performance tuning techniques, partition-
target for business ownership because they ing, and parallel processing can also pay
are near the top of the BI food chain and are significant scalability dividends. Apart from
expected to enable game-changing insights scalability, grid systems offer an opportunity
by putting useful performance management to build in high availability and failover to
information in the hands of executives better ensure system continuity.
and managers.

WHAT WORKS in enterprise bi Volume 24 23

Q&a with thE ExpErts

Syncsort TCS

Q as data volumes continue to Q how do we enhance the level

grow, uploading data to the data of end-user confidence in the
warehouse has become much data warehouse?
too time-consuming. is there a
way to speed this process? A To increase end users confidence in the
data warehouse, it is imperative to build
A Uploading data can be simplified by using a transparent audit process using busi-
a data management solution with changed ness controls for the data integration.
data capture (CDC). Also known as delta Business controls are essentially sets of
processing, the technique compares old data elements at the higher levels of grain
and new files to identify changes. Only that determine the business performance,
the changed data is updated in the master e.g., sales revenue or number of new busi-
file, reducing the amount of data uploaded ness acquired. It is essential to establish
to a data warehouse, thus improving per- an automated balancing control process
formance. through alternate data flows and to estab-
In a simple example, create a join lish a baseline for correctness. Approaches
using yesterdays transaction file as one such as general ledger balancing for finan-
source and todays transaction file as the cial metrics also help.
other. Next, define the join key from yes-
terdays data to be the entire record, and
A nA ly s t V i e w p oi n t
define the join key from todays transac-
tion file to be todays entire record. Keep Its essential first to gauge the degree of
matched records, unmatched records from end-user confidence in a data warehouse,
yesterdays data, and unmatched records and to pinpoint specific issues that may be
from todays data. Create three conditions undermining user confidence (and causing
(Added, Deleted, and Updated) using underutilization of the system). Depending
a tool such as Syncsorts DMExpress.
on the gravity of the situation, this effort
Finally, add a target file and partition the
data by these three conditions, creating could be either an informal survey and
one output file for each condition. follow-up, or a structured program that
spans multiple divisions and extends for
several months. By assessing end-user
A nA ly s t V i e w p oi n t
confidence in such areas as data quality,
Though not new, changed data capture
data timeliness, ease of use, and query/
(CDC) has found its sweet spot with the
reporting effectiveness, organizations can
advent of the real-time data warehouse.
build a roadmap to attack problem areas
Available as a built-in or optional component
and continually enhance the business value
in leading ETL tools, CDC can drastically
of DW systems.
reduce the volume of data to be moved into
a warehouse. Reducing data loads by 85
percent can reduce load times at a similar
rate, making multiple intraday loads practical.
The additional benefits of minimizing impact
on operational applications, bandwidth, and
I/O make CDC worth considering by any orga-
nization that wants to freshen its warehouse
data to enhance its business value.

24 WHAT WORKS in enterprise bi Volume 24

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Direct Marketing
Company Gets It
Done Faster with
the Right Tool
Commentary by Lia Szep
Senior Technical Analyst, Syncsort Incorporated

Background Direct Marketing Company Shaves shaves

Days Off ofdays
direct marketing company off ofTime with DMExpress
processing time with dmexpress
In todays complex marketing environment,
most marketers have an abundance of data
and good ideas but lack an efficient way
to merge the two. For more than 30 years,
one direct marketing company, which we
will call DMC, Inc., has been building and
managing customer databases for Fortune
1000 corporations, providing the necessary
framework for organizations to aggressively
apply database marketing strategies to their
marketing programs.

DMCs client base includes major corpora- old process DmExpress old process DmExpress
tions, many of which have databases that Project1:1:processing
project Processing 240240
GB ofgBdata
data Project
project 2: Processing data
2: processing data on
ona mainframe
a mainframe
house data on nearly every individual in the
United States. They store between 250 and
300 million names, addresses, and other being processed, I can strip off the model the development team receives the files on
demographic items, so extracting demo- scores and finish the decile and percentile a Tuesday, and theyre completely done by
graphic data, analytics, profiles, and model processing in less time than it would have Thursday. In addition, DMC benefited from
scores for processing can be a cumbersome taken to get the model scores. With a 98 the products ease of use and Syncsorts
and time-consuming task. percent decrease in elapsed time, DMC technical support. The ease of use has
determined that DMExpress would provide been a tremendous benefit, the senior
the challenge major performance benefits not only here, database developer comments, adding that
With model scores for every individual in but across many other projects. people can proficiently use the application
their system, DMC wanted to run decile and without needing three weeks of training. Also,
percentile processing at both a state and In another project, DMC was processing Syncsorts tech support has been outstand-
national level. With their previous process, data on the mainframe. The project involved ing. From the very startfrom the POCup
after extracting the 240 gigabytes of data importing data to the mainframe, scheduling to my weekly chats, I dont think Ive worked
from their system, it would take another three the job, running the processing, and sending with a technical support group that has been
days to process it. the data to a flat file. All of this would occur as attentive and provided the level of answers
while other processes were running on the that this group has. They are just fantastic. l
the solution mainframe. Because of this overload, the
Syncsort provided DMC with a free proof entire job would take two to three days to
of concept (POC) to demonstrate the ben- complete. Using DMExpress, DMC was able
efits that DMExpress could provide. Using to completely remove the mainframe from the
DMExpress, DMC was able to significantly process and complete the job in 20 minutes.
decrease the elapsed time. We extracted
240 gigabytes of data, stripped off the model conclusion
scores, and ran the processing within 10 Prior to DMExpress, DMC was unable to
hours, explains the senior database devel- run weekly reports because the processing
oper. Now, while names and addresses are itself would take five business days. Now,

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When Enterprise
ETL Slows Down
Speed It Up
By Lia Szep
Senior Technical Analyst, Syncsort Incorporated

Many of your BI applications rely on data dont go all out high-performance Join
gathered from your Web site. With 5 giga- Code tweaks are not likely to speed your pro- High-performance join significantly improves
bytes of new Web logs a day, youve been cessing, and new hardware can be a costly the efficiency of preprocessing, retrieval, and
tasked with developing an application for Band-Aid that will eventually fall off. Even updating in a dimensional data warehouse.
Web log processing. Youve done all your costlier would be a complete rip-and-replace. With high-performance join, you can:
homework, chosen the latest and great- Instead, find a cost-effective solution that
est tools, and made your recommendation improves the performance of your current Optimize data preparation
to management. The tools are bought, the tool rather than replaces itjust make sure
development is done, and the project is in it fits the bill. In addition to finding a solution Improve query performance
production; it seems youve made the right that works with your existing ETL, consider
decision. Unfortunately, as hundreds of the following objectives. Reduce the quantity of data that must be
thousands of records turn into millions, and processed in response to a query
then billions, the system grows sluggish and performance
reporting deadlines begin to pass unmet. Perhaps the most important objective will be Speed lookups and application matching
Typically, the next phase of the project to minimize the run time of an application.
begins with the head-scratching ques- No matter what the other aspects of your Retrieve and summarize information more
tion, What was I thinking? and ends with system might be, unless you can minimize efficiently
managements directive to make it work. the time it takes to complete a job, you have
The last thing you want to do is start from no chance of meeting reporting deadlines. Minimize storage and throughput require-
scratchso dont. The key to minimizing run time is a solution ments
that offers powerful aggregation and join
growing pains tools. Reduce elapsed time of changed data
The most likely reason for a processing melt- capture/delta processing
down is exponential data growth. The more high-performance aggregation
successful a company becomes, the more Aggregates are the best way to speed scalability
data it generates. As companies continue to warehouse queries. A query answered from The solution must also be scalable. As com-
be bogged down by data growth, performance base-level data can take hours and involve panies go from gigabytes to terabytes and
bottlenecks create pain points throughout the millions of data records and millions of cal- ultimately petabytes, scalability becomes a
organization. A popular Web site can create culations. With precalculated aggregates, the necessary tool in managing exponential data
billions of clickstream records in a single day. same query can be answered in seconds growth. Other things to consider are ease of
High-volume sales drill down to detailed finan- with just a few records and calculations. use and vendor reputation. If a product is
cial records, increased customer data, and easy to use, it can help control the cost and
additional marketing demographics. High-performance aggregation simplifies time of training staff members. If the solution
the creation, administration, and execution is from a reputable vendor, it is more likely to
Then theres legacy, inventory, billing, etc. of aggregation jobs. It summarizes data have been proven reliable.
This wealth of data often translates to much faster than other aggregation methods
longer processing times, increased costs, such as C programs, SQL statements, or testing
and missed reporting deadlines. When an third-party, multipurpose data warehouse Finally, whatever other options you may be
enterprisewide extract, transform, load (ETL) packages. It provides the flexibility necessary considering, testing the product in your own
solution begins to slow down, the impact is to select the best aggregates for optimizing environment, with your own data, is abso-
felt in everything from daily business transac- query performance. lutely the only way to determine a products
tions to high-level business analytics. performance. Not only must the solution be

26 WHAT WORKS in enterprise bi Volume 24

People, Process,
Applications EntErprisE BusinEss intElligEncE



performance pain points global communications company dramatically reduces
processing time

Weekly Monthly
Sales by Sales by 7 days
Rep Product



Payroll 4 days
ETL Process

Detailed Historical
Legacy Transactions
Application DATA MINING

Other 1 day
old process DmExpress

the bestit must be the best for you. This is to be shut downfor seven days. This meant closed for an extensive period of time to
also the only way to truly tell if a solution will that every hour could cost the company mil- accommodate the project.
work with your current tools. lions of dollars in lost revenue.
real-life example Using the high-performance solution, the Ripping out a sophisticated, undoubtedly
Our customers are often surprised to learn company was able to speed the sorting, expensive, system may not be the solution to
that, rather than replacing their existing ETL, summarization, joining for lookups, and your performance problems. In your search
they can reap more value from it simply by conditional processing and transformation of for a fix, remember that performance is the
supplementing it with a high-performance the data. Five major input files were created, bottom line. Minimized elapsed time, com-
solution. In one instance, a top telecommu- two for a phone number inventory scheme bined with scalability and ease of use, add up
nications company needed to convert and (CTN), and three for a phone inventory to increased performance. Also, in evaluating a
migrate more than one terabyte of telephone scheme (ESM). High-performance join was solutions performance, be sure you can do so
numbers, phone inventory data, and activa- used for the lookups, after which the data in your own environment. This is the only way
tion records from its existing system to a new was processed and transformed to meet the to determine the best solution for you and for
one. This data needed to be converted and companys requirements. your current system.
normalized in the old system first, imple-
menting complex business rules, so that it While the company still used Informatica, If you find the right tool to complement your
could be efficiently used in the new environ- the high-speed solution was able to replace current system, the light at the end of the
ment, consisting of an HP9000 800 Series many of the slow-running processes, which tunnel may end up even brighter than you
with 8 CPUs. cut the overall elapsed time by 88 percent. first expected. l
As a result, the project, which the company
After several dry runs of the more than 100 had anticipated would take one week to
For free white papers on this topic, download
processes using Informatica and C++ to complete with just Informatica and C++, Speeding ETL Processing in Data Warehouses
convert the data to the new application, the was finished in less than 20 hours. Without or Mitigate Business Intelligence Project Risks
company estimated the project would take having to replace their existing system, the with Rule-Based Audits and Proof-of-Concepts,
or click here for more information about
a week to complete. The time factor was of company was saved from a potentially heavy Syncsort Incorporated.
critical importance: during the conversion/ loss of revenue, something that certainly
migration process, all retail stores would have would have happened if the stores had been

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Large-Scale Retailer
Gains Easy Access to
Historical Data for Big-
Picture Analysis
Commentary by Jesse Fountain
Vice President, Product Marketing, DATAllegro

Background system architecture

A large retailer with U.S. and international
subsidiaries approached DATAllegro as part
of its search for a solution to data warehous-
ing challenges. As of early 2006, the retailer
operated several thousand full-line retail
stores and more than a thousand specialty
retail stores in the U.S., as well as several
hundred full-line and specialty retail stores
internationally. The company also offered its
products through its Web sites.

Business challenge
A recent merger resulted in the company
owning two Teradata systems, each holding
50 terabytes of data. The retailer was strug-
gling to analyze its data across the entire The retailer decided to run benchmarks DATAllegros partitioning, its ability to modify
enterprise. Both systems used Teradata to with a number of leading vendors. For the DSQL to tune highly complex queries, the
support operational workload and traditional proof of concept, the company selected B25 backup unit, and the flexibility of the
data warehousing ad hoc usage. Upgrad- DATAllegro, another data warehouse overall system configuration.
ing Teradata to accommodate the data from (DW) appliance vendor, and two other
both chains into one system was prohibitively well-known, traditional data warehouse In addition, DATAllegros price was less than
expensive. In addition, the high cost of stor- technology vendors to participate. half that of the other vendors, discounts
ing historical data on each system prevented included, without any sacrifice in performance.
analysts from getting a complete picture of the Benchmark
the business. The retailer gave each vendor one years The company can now reduce the amount of
worth of sample data and tasked them with history on Teradata to one or two years and
While the customer didnt feel it was nec- expanding the data to 10 terabytes (enough keep full history (five years or more) on the
essary to merge all the data into one for 24 years of data). Vendors had two DATAllegro DW appliance.
data warehouse, it did need to obtain an weeks to prepare and load the data into their
enterprisewide view of its customer and point- product offerings before the retailer began By purchasing DATAllegro, the customer
of-sale transaction data. Business needs running a broad range of query types, includ- will save hundreds of thousands of dollars
would also benefit from the ability to store ing ad hoc, complex, and long-running. in annual maintenance costs and have a
and query five or more years of data. The more comprehensive view of its current and
company had to decide if it could afford to tangible Benefits future business. l
upgrade Teradata in order to accommodate After analyzing the query speeds, capacities,
all the data it wanted to store in one data and costs of the offerings from each vendor,
warehouse (up to 80 terabytes over time), or the customer selected DATAllegro, believing
if there was a less expensive option that would it would best support its current and future
still provide the necessary performance. needs. Particular areas of strength were

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Creating a True
Enterprise Data
Warehouse with
highly specialized grid of servers being pulled Leveraging the grid concept, DATAllegro
Grid-Enabled together to collectively form a DW appliance. could provide a multi-temperature system that
balances performance and cost across the
DW Appliances Taking this view, it is a small step to think periods for which data must be stored. For
of a connected set of DATAllegro systems example, assume that the data warehouse
By Stuart Frost
CEO, DATAllegro as both a grid of appliances and a grid of must store seven years of data for compliance
nodes. Moving or loading data could be done purposes. The most recent quarter (and most
directly between nodes in different appli- frequently requested data) would be placed
Data warehouse installations at large com- ances to maximize parallelism and overall on a very high-performance appliance. Data
panies generally fall into three architectural transfer speeds. from three to 12 months could be stored on
categories: a standard DATAllegro appliance with very
good performance, and data older than one
Leveraging the grid concept,
Centralized enterprise data year would be stored on one of DATAllegros
warehouses (EDW) DATAllegro could provide a multi- archive appliances offering up to 200 TB of
user data storage per rack.
temperature system that balances
Decentralized collections of data
marts (DM) performance and cost across the As fresh data is loaded, older data would be
automatically aged (moved) across the grid.
various periods for which data
Attempts at hub-and-spoke architectures Incoming queries would be automatically
that combine the two must be stored. broken down into the relevant date ranges and
the responses from the appliances collated
While many organizations have obtained into a single result set before being sent back
significant value from their data warehouse solving the hub-and-spoke challenge to the user.
installations, few have been entirely success- Imagine a fairly large appliance acting as the
ful at implementing full-scale enterprise data hub of a set of data mart appliances. The disaster recovery
warehouses. Centralized EDW installations hub would hold detailed data (near real-time The grid concept could also be extended
tend to be extremely expensive and inflex- or batch-loaded) for a number of business across multiple data centers to provide a
ible. Consequently, business units become units or perhaps the entire enterprise. ETL highly effective disaster recovery strategy.
frustrated because the EDW wont meet their tools such as Informatica or SQL scripts Individual appliances could be replicated on
needs at sensible cost and within a reason- could create star schemas. The star schemas a second site and automatically synchronized
able timeframe. Decentralized data marts could then be transferred to the appropriate with node-to-node replication.
often result in many versions of the same data mart(s) via the grid at more than a tera-
data that are difficult to keep consistent byte per minute, depending on the number summary
across the enterprise. While a true hub-and- of nodes in each target appliance. A high-performance hub-and-spoke architec-
spoke architecture would address many of ture that is easily managed and cost effective
these issues, technical limitations with cur- Users would connect to the independent on an enterprise scale is now a practical
rent data warehouse infrastructures have DM appliances as usual for running queries. reality with DATAllegros grid technology.
made them difficult to implement. Each DM would be tuned according to busi- Added benefits include support for multi-
ness needs and sized to handle the required temperature and disaster recovery integrated
a grid of appliances level of performance and concurrency. into the grid. l
DATAllegros DW appliances are generally
used as a data warehousing black box with multi-temperature data warehousing For a free white paper on this topic, download
Using Grid Technology to Build a Hub-and-Spoke
data access from a single point (the control Data warehouse managers are under increas-
Data Warehouse Architecture, or click here for
node). However, the nodes within a ing pressure to store large amounts of more information about DATAllegro.
DATAllegro appliance are actually self-con- historical data at the same time as improv-
tained Ingres database servers. Therefore, ing general query response timeswithout
a DATAllegro appliance could be viewed as a exceeding tight budgets.

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Alvion Scales Data

Analytics and
Commentary by Bojan Belovic
Database Administrator, Alvion Technologies

Alvion Technologies, Inc. provides out- End users of this data typically run queries to 7,500one-third of which are highly
sourced data management services to some and counts to determine optimal selec- complexwhile the number of registered
of the largest marketing data list owners in tion criteria for specific direct marketing users has jumped from 12,000 to 50,000.
the worldnames such as Axiom, Equifax, programs. This means that a typical user The system has scaled easily to these new
Experian, and Dun & Bradstreet. Alvion sits session includes numerous queries, run with levels, thanks to Sybase IQ, which has also
squarely in the crossroads of e-commerce slight variations, to find the strongest candi- supported the overall tremendous growth in
and business intelligence, leveraging their dates for final data selection. As the number data volume via its unique data compression
exclusive technologies, extensive very large of queries a user makes increases, so does capability. With Sybase IQ, disk space sav-
data warehousing (VLDW) expertise, and the need for speed. ings add value, especially considering the
marketing know-how to provide customers cost of the large, high-speed drives required
with fast, reliable marketing data. We use IQ in production because its big- for high-use VLDWs. Plus, the extra drives
gest strength as far as we are concerned are typically used to tune-up database perfor-
Business intelligence is the lifeblood of Alvion those really, really fast counts, said Bojan mance were not needed.
and companies like it. The data they collect, Belovic, database administrator for the
often from multiple sources, must be aggre- Alvion system. The response time is abso- Until now, Alvion divided its data warehouse
gated and analyzed if it is to provide value. lutely the number one reason we are using tasks between queries and order fulfillment.
That requires data warehousing and analytics Sybase IQ. We are talking about an order of Alvion is looking to consolidate all operations
solutions that ensure: magnitude difference. in a single environment, which will mean
increasing the size of the production data-
The capacity to handle increased query base by roughly 100 percent. Amazingly,
Our fast query times are what
demand, especially for ad hoc queries Sybase IQ provides such effective compres-
Access to hundreds or thousands of defines us in this industry. We are sion that the new data will not affect the
simultaneous users systems performance or query speed. How-
building in more complexity with
Reduced data latency, sometimes provid- ever, this change will dramatically improve
ing nearly real-time updating Sybase IQ as the backbone, while Alvions competitive advantage by shortening
The ability to grow with increasing data fulfillment times while maintaining the
maintaining lightning-fast response
data volumes trademark query speeds so appreciated by
Lower hardware, administration and times. Thats going to take us a its customers.
maintenance costs
long way.
No downtime Belovic believes that Sybase IQ is up to that
High levels of security Bojan Belovic, Alvion Technologies task, too.

Alvions customers datasets range up to 190 Our fast query times are what defines us in
million records and 200 attributes. Com- Alvions success in recent years has trans- this industry. We are building in more com-
bined, Alvion manages about a terabyte of lated into significant growth: plexity with Sybase IQ as the backbone, while
data for customers as an outsourcing service. maintaining lightning-fast response times.
Individual customers submit anywhere from More data hosted from new customers Thats going to take us a long way. l
5,000 specialized records of information, Growth in existing customers record
to 120 gigabytes of data. Alvion then runs counts
customer-specific data transformations and Increasing user sophistication and query
uploads it to their production servers for complexity, and overall data mining goals
access by end userswidely distributed Four-fold end-user growth
customers of the original data owners. Data
update cycles vary from daily to annually. Throughout this period, the number of daily
ad hoc queries has increased from 2,000

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The Analytics Server:

Powering On-Demand
Analytics from the
Ground Up
By Phil Bowermaster
Worldwide Product Marketing Manager, Sybase IQ Another common approach is to use a data tables by column. This serves to index auto-
warehouse appliance. The typical appliance matically the entire database, because query
solution is designed for analytics, so it will selection criteria are defined by column.
When looking to design and implement offer a significant speed advantage over a This greatly reduces the amount of data that
a system that will meet their customers transactional database where individual que- needs to be read to respond to a query and
requirements, companies that provide data ries are concerned. dramatically speeds up response times.
analytics services face a number of signifi-
cant challenges. They need a solution with Companies that depend on fast, Because of these advantages, an analytics
the capacity to handle heavy and growing server supports extremely fast query speeds
query demand, especially for ad hoc queries. ad hoc query responses by many without limiting:
They need a solution that can be accessed users accessing large volumes
by hundreds or thousands of simultaneous The amount of data available for analytics
users without a significant impact on perfor- of data need a different kind of The number of concurrent users and
mance. They need to reduce data latency, solution, one thats built from the queries
sometimes providing updates at or near real The launching of new applications
time. Of course, they also need to minimize ground up to support on-demand The complexity of queries
downtime and maximize securityall while data analytics. This is where an The number of access windows to data
lowering hardware, administration, and main- Return on investment
tenance costs. analytics server comes in.
In addition to its edge in query response
These demands arent easy to achieve, times, an analytics server such as Sybase
and those who provide data analytics ser- Companies using this approach can run into IQ offers a far better return on investment
vices often run into roadblocks trying to difficulties, too. The fact that appliances run than other data warehousing and analytics
achieve them using traditional approaches on proprietary hardware limits a companys solutions. Because of its speed, it requires
to data warehousing. options in defining their own environment. fewer hardware resources than other options.
They may also find that the appliance Its column-based approach also reduces
For example, a company providing this type approach limits their ability to scale up to the need to pre-aggregate data and tune
of service will deploy a solution built on a support multiple users, and that multiple the database, saving significant administra-
standard relational database management queries from hundreds or thousands of users tion time. All of which goes to explain why,
system. Weve seen a number of instances can choke the system. To make matters increasingly, were seeing the leading play-
where companies find that, when implement- more difficult, database administrators are ers in data analytics services turning to the
ing an on-demand data analytics service often limited in the amount of tuning they analytics server as the platform of choice for
on a standard RDBMS, complex queries can do for specialized applications. delivering on-demand analytics solutions. l
on large volumes of data run very slowly.
This happens because standard relational Companies that depend on fast, ad hoc For a free white paper on this topic, download
Sybase Helps Customers Deliver Value-Added
database management system (RDBMS) query responses by many users accessing
Information on Demand, or click here for more
solutions are designed for transactional, large volumes of data need a different kind of information about Sybase.
rather than analytic, environments. They solution, one thats built from the ground up
store data in tables by row, where each row to support on-demand data analytics. This is
is effectively equivalent to a transaction. where an analytics server comes in.
Querying such a database means grinding
through many entire rows of data, when all An analytics server, such as Sybase IQ, takes
that the user is looking for is a few select a fundamentally different approach to data
items found in some of the columns. analytics. It stores and accesses data in

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BI at Tata
Teleservices Ltd.
Commentary by Ramanuj Rao
Senior Manager, Business Intelligence, Tata
Teleservices Ltd.

customer profile percent. Yet telecom market penetration is tangible Benefits

Tata Teleservices Ltd. (TTSL), operates still around 20 percent. BI is helping to improve TTSLs operational
Indias largest branded telecom retail chain. and business efficiency. TCS achieved this
TTSL, incorporated in 1996, was the first the challenge using various solutions such as subscriber
company in India to launch code division Stiff competition from several other private base management, loyalty management,
multiple access (CDMA) mobile services. players in Indias telecom industry presents OGB reduction program, revenue usage,
Together with Tata Teleservices (Maharash- TTSL with challenges. Measuring operational predictive churn, customer segmentation,
tra) Ltd., it pioneered the 3G1x technology efficiency and business performance is cru- TAT matrix, decay analysis, and zero balance
platform in India and offers services to more cial, along with developing highly focused depletion program, to name a few. All these
than 19 million customers covering 3,400 marketing strategies and financial planning. solutions give cluster and correlation across
towns. TTSL has partnered with Motorola, Business intelligence is the need of the hour. various business dimensions. Closed-loop
Ericsson, Lucent, and ECI Telecom to deploy BI was deployed in critical areas to facilitate
a reliable, technologically advanced network. We can transform millions of implementation of operational action plans.

TTSL offers an array of telecom services, daily transactions into intelligent We also put into place a loyalty manage-
including mobile services, wireless desktop information on the fly. This ment program using BIa classic example
phones, public booth telephony, and wire line of operational and business efficiency. This
services. Value-added services include voice information helps our business program revolves around subscriber aging,
portal, roaming, postpaid Internet, three-way functions for predictive and recharges, and demographic patterns.
conferencing, group calling, Wi-Fi Internet, It identifies subscribers per loyalty busi-
USB modem, data cards, calling card ser- proactive approach. It acts as an ness rule and mediates credit values to an
vices, and enterprise services. enabler for TTSL to acquire and Intelligent Network Platform using TIBCO
interface. Loyalty ROI is tracked in BI.
The company was the first service provider retain subscriber values.
in the country to launch an online outlet Ramanuj Rao, Tata Teleservices Ltd. Outgoing barred (OGB) reduction program
offering postpaid mobile connections. It also is a proactive approach for analyzing OGB
launched prepaid wireless desktop phones, customers to take corrective actions with an
public phone booths, new mobile handsets, solution objective to reduce churn. This focuses on
as well as new voice and data services such BI in alignment with business processes identifying key parameters on which OGB
as BREW games, picture messaging, and provides a single version of truth with agreed patterns can be monitored. Using closed
polyphonic ring tones. It also offers inter- definitions of key performance indicators and looping, business takes corrective action to
active applications such as news, cricket, standardization of reports using business achieve reduction in OGB as well as churn.
astrology, etc. metadata. TTSL has partnered with Tata
Consultancy Services (TCS) to develop and technology
on the radar maintain a BI environment. TCS has imple- OLAP and Reporting: Cognos 8.2.4
The formerly government-run telephone mented its telecom model, tBIDs, as the ETL: Oracle Warehouse Builder
system in India opened to private players in core solution. Current DW Size: 8 TB l
the 1990s. With liberalization and globaliza-
tion, the telecommunications business is A communication and awareness campaign For a free white paper on this topic, download
5ml of BI for Growing Organizations,
undergoing a major sea change. Telecom plays a major role in synchronizing BI with
or click here for more information about TCS.
activities are flourishing, enhancing the business, which is achieved through road
infrastructure and helping technology pen- shows, newsletters, etc. To meet this need,
etrate Indias diverse society. In the past business intelligence solutions are integrated
two decades, the number of telephone con- with BSS/OSS applications, which help get
nections in India has risen by more than 75 the cluster and correlation across the cap-
tured key performance indicators.

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CPM Implementation
Challenges and
Lessons Learned
Commentary by Abhijit Niyogi
and Rohit Shrivastav
Tata Consultancy Services external source system datasuch as human TEchnology
resources, revenue, etc.in the future. Thoroughly test and establish an
appropriate and scalable technology
client Business scenario Cognos Planning Solution extracts data from infrastructure
The client is a large publishing corporation the DW and other source systems to facilitate Design and test individual components of
with business interests in education, busi- driver-based detail budgeting and the monthly technology solution to ensure scalability
ness information, and the financial services estimation process, along with medium-range and performance
market. The organization is structured into planning. The Cognos planning system acts
multiple business entities serving different as a source for budget and estimate data to DESIgn AnD BuIlD
niche areas or geographical regions across the DW and existing ERP system. Ensure that design assumptions are
the globe. clearly communicated and reviewed by
Cognos 8 Business Intelligence works on top business owners
The corporations existing business informa- of DW for facilitating Web-based standard- Establish and follow best practices for
tion system is characterized by heavy use of ized reports, business entities, and provides businesses processes and technology
Excel, a stand-alone budgeting and report- ad hoc and self-reporting capabilities to solution
ing solution, no structured workflow for business users.
routing budgets for review and approval, and SuppoRT
a proliferation of reports and offline work- lessons learned Maintain a common pool of knowledge
sheets without any standardization across BuSInESS SponSoRShIp resources and establish a process for
business entities. Define clear vision and establish senior knowledge sharing among onsite and
management sponsorship offshore team
cpm program Create and strongly communicate project Ensure continuity by establishing a core
Primary business objectives of the corporate road map in the organization dedicated team for the project
performance management (CPM) program
are to: TEAm ouTcomES
Provide the right information to the right Include both business and technology Established a reliable foundation of
users at the right time to support better people in working project team, with core data, reporting, and planning
decision making clearly defined roles and responsibilities capabilities. This includes process
Establish a platform to support man- Empower team to make business and improvements, testing technology solu-
agement of metrics/scorecarding and technical decisions tion, and creating an environment within
analytical reporting the organization to leverage, use, and
Provide access to detail-level transac- pRocESS contribute to CPM solution.
tional data as well as integration with Establish business ownership of require- Established a transparent and integrated
other internal and external data sources ments and sign off driver-based budgeting and estimation
to increase the value of the information Manage user expectations and ensure system.
Increase transparency user engagement throughout project Standardized and automated budget
Standardize reporting and planning struc- cycle workflow and approval process.
tures where possible Prepare organization to adapt to business Designed and built a standard set of core
Utilize driver-based planning and budget- process changes and standardization financial reports that can be used across
ing models Create data source ownership and under- business entities.
stand business rules and cleansing logic Designed and deployed self-reporting
The CPM program was based on Cognos Solu- for all data sources capability that is based on preverified
tion on top of a core CPM data warehouse. All Plan for holistic design and staggered centralized data source.
key financial data, including actual, budget, rollout Established data set that can be lever-
and estimate, resides in the DW. The DW Plan for iterative approach for design and aged for developing dashboards and
is designed to integrate other internal and development designing KPIs. l

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Hospital Finds Cure for

Information Overload
Syndrome Todays hospitals maintain an immense An accountant by training, Mehyou is no
amount of information that must be carefully stranger to the demands for precise, audit-
Commentary by Morie Mehyou
Assistant Vice President of IM and Decision Support, stored, managed, analyzed, and exchanged. able information. Yet before WebFOCUS
Jefferson Regional Medical Center In addition to administrative data on hospital came on the scene in the late 1990s, he
operations, many types of patient information says getting information in a timely fashion
are entered and maintained electronically. was often a hit-and-miss prospect. Most
Hospitals must streamline the flow of infor- of the hospital information systems offered
mationboth internally and externallyeven standard reports, but it was difficult to obtain
as they comply with HIPAA requirements and precisely what each user needed. That
HL7 standards. meant lots of custom reporting, which domi-
nated the available hours of the IT staff.
Maximizing reimbursements, analyzing payer
mixes, tracking admissions trends, and About that time, executive vice president
OrGAnIzATIOn monitoring staff productivity are all functions Tom Harbuck asked Mehyou to develop an
Jefferson Regional Medical Center, a of having accurate information, delivered to internal reporting system through which his
the right place at the right time. Thats why staff could access information on demand
health services provider located in Pine
Jefferson Regional Medical Center depends without asking IT pros for assistance. Our
Bluff, Arkansas.
on business intelligence (BI) technology from managers wanted a better way to measure
THE CHAllEnGE Information Builders to streamline data man- productivity by department, recalls Harbuck.
agement and reporting activities throughout With WebFOCUS, we accepted that chal-
Enable clinicians and administrators to
the enterprise. lenge head-on.
hone in quickly on specific information
related to patients, reimbursements, payer The amount of information in your average resident in training
mixes, admissions trends, staff productivity, hospital can be overwhelming, admits Morie Mehyou had experience with Information
and dozens of other business functions. Mehyou, an assistant vice president of IM Builders FOCUS reporting environment
and decision support at Jefferson Regional on an AS/400 computer, so learning Web-
THE STrATEGy Medical Center. The challenge for clinicians FOCUS was easy. He began by creating
and administrators is to quickly hone in on reports for the finance department, including
Construct a self-service reporting environ-
specific information. departmental financial statements, income
ment that organizes reports into three
statements, accounts payable reports, bal-
primary groups: financial reports for the As the fourth largest hospital in Arkansas, ance sheets, and budget reports. He went
finance department, productivity reports for Jefferson Regional serves more than on to develop revenue, HR, and productivity-
department managers, and bed manage- 280,000 residents in 11 counties. Licensed benchmarking reportsmore than 150 in
ment reports for hospital administrators. for 471 beds and with an average daily all, most of which are now accessible via the
census of about 240 patients, the hospital corporate intranet.
THE rESulTS employs more than 2,000 people and offers
WebFOCUS has become an integral part a complete range of medical services. To give users maximum control over this
information, Jefferson Regional constructed a
of the hospitals daily management activi-
treating information management parameterized, self-service environment that
tiesboosting staff productivity, improving
ailments organizes reports into three primary groups:
physician deficiency rates, and cutting WebFOCUS has become an integral part of financial reports for the finance depart-
costs throughout the facility. the hospitals management activities, with 75 ment, productivity reports for department
departments now using the business intel- managers, and bed management reports for
ligence software on a daily basis. Virtually all hospital administrators and a few doctors.
InfOrMATIOn BuIlDErS SOluTIOn operational data from every departmentfrom Today, this reporting system is an integral
materials management to pharmaceuticals part of the hospitals daily management
is now accessible via a self-service reporting activities. We have leveraged WebFOCUS
environment, says Mehyou. for a huge number of BI projects, such as to

34 WHAT WORKS in enterprise bi Volume 24

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monitor physician deficiencies, for corporate Hospital personnel log into the WebFOCUS a clinical application system that is easy to
education test scoring, and as part of our environment through a secure Web portal sort and summarize with WebFOCUS. Now
open chart review process, Mehyou notes. accessible via any Web browser. Once they that we have the proper reporting tools, we
WebFOCUS helps us tabulate deficiencies, enter the correct department number, they can deliver information to our chief of staff
so physicians always know where they stand. are presented with a graphical environment with confidence.
For example, it tells us which patients are that directs them to the information they
missing documentation, for how long, and need. For example, department managers For example, the hospital uses an Eclipsys
in what areas. WebFOCUS has enabled us can review statements to make sure they Clinical Application System, which gathers
to provide a much more accurate and timely were charged for the correct supplies. Other many types of clinical information, such
report relating to deficiencies. basic information includes pay reports and as periodic vital signs. There are myriad
productivity reports. Users can drill down to data points on each admitted patient, says
Meanwhile, department managers have the details as required, or sort the informa- Mehyou. Ultimately, we hope to use
learned to use WebFOCUS to generate pro- tion by user, pay period, or charge level, WebFOCUS to mine this data.
ductivity reports, extending back several Mehyou says. Everything is protected by
years, which are useful for benchmarking user and role, and the system is fully com- WebFOCUS has paid for itself in measurable
and comparisons. Managers might want pliant with HIPAA requirements governing productivity gains. For example, the labor
to know, for example, how many hours it privacy of information. and delivery department was operating above
took to provide care for a certain number of the 50th percentile in cost-per-delivery, on a
patients, or how many tests they performed it Vital signs national basis. Careful analysis of spending
during a certain period, explains Mehyou. To create this user-friendly reporting envi- patterns helped the hospital reduce these
WebFOCUS allows them to summarize this ronment, Jefferson Regional integrated costs. Were now in the 36th percentile,
information over any time period. It is a very WebFOCUS with a McKesson HBOC clinical thanks to better knowledge of costs, Mehyou
flexible environment. information system on an AS/400 com- says. Thats a 28 percent improvement
puter. WebFOCUS accesses other AS/400 in productivity.
Other reports have been created for diagnosis- packages, such as Payroll, OR, and related
related groups (DRGs)the three-digit codes business functions. These packaged appli- In the face of numerous industry reports that
that describe patient conditions, from heart cations store data in a DB2/400 relational accuse health care organizations of runaway
attacks to hypertension. Reimbursement database, which WebFOCUS can access spending and rising costswith no notice-
rates are often set according to these codes, directly. Other critical information is stored able improvement in quality of carethese
and hospitals get paid a predefined amount in Microsoft SQL Server data marts. We like measurable performance gains are a source
for each DRG. Sometimes a number of the way WebFOCUS can easily combine two of pride for Jefferson Regional. Providing
procedures are bundled into one rate, and or more types of data into the same report, good care is our primary objective, but of
complicated formulas are used, Mehyou says. says Mehyou. For example, we might access course we want to do that within the bounds
Our hospital administrators need to make the AS/400 database to create a sum- of what is reasonable and financially respon-
sure each diagnosis is correct, the charges are mary report for the radiology department, sible, Mehyou concludes. WebFOCUS
justified, and that they are billing appropriately then compare that information to a national gives us the insight we need to create a more
to maximize reimbursements. benchmark, which is derived from a differ- efficient operation. For the amount of money
ent kind of database entirely. WebFOCUS we have spent to purchase and maintain the
Extensive data analysis is performed every combines information on the fly to create a softwareand the ease with which we can
month using many FOCUS and WebFOCUS cohesive presentation. create reportsit is one of the best technol-
reports. Everybody wants to see a different ogy investments the hospital has made. The
slice of the information, continues Mehyou. Eventually, Jefferson Regional would like to cost is minimal, and the return has been
Some people want to see test results. build BI dashboards for managers, senior phenomenal. l
Others are interested in your medical history. managers board members, and other
Still others need to know the length of your constituencies within the hospital. More For a free white paper on this topic, download
Worst Practices in Business Intelligence: Why
visit, review your bill, or perform statistical and more patient data is now maintained
BI Applications Succeed Where BI Tools Fail,
analysis. WebFOCUS makes it easy for these electronicallyeverything from vital signs to or click here for more information about
users to change parameters so they can medications to test results to billing informa- Information Builders.
obtain the information they need. tion, says Mehyou. Much of it is stored in

WHAT WORKS in enterprise bi Volume 24 35

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Best Practices in Operational BI

Challenges to Operational BI

By Wayne W. eckerson, director, tdWi research

Operational business intelligence (BI) represents a turning IS youR opERATIonAl BI EnVIRonmEnT ThE SAmE AS youR REgulAR
point in the evolution of BI. Traditionally, BI has been the BI EnVIRonmEnT?
province of technically savvy business analysts who spend
many hours with sophisticated tools analyzing trends and Not sure 10%
patterns in large volumes of historical data to improve the
effectiveness of strategic and tactical decisions. But operational
BI changes this equation: it moves BI out of the back room
No 40% 51% Yes
and embeds it into the fabric of the business, intertwining
it with operational processes and applications that drive
thousands of daily decisions. In essence, operational BI merges
analytical and operational processes into a unified whole.
Figure 1. Based on 225 respondents who have implemented operational BI
In addition, operational BI increases the value of BI by according to TDWIs definition.
delivering information and insights on demand to all
workersfrom the shipping clerk to the CEOso they can professionals to build resilient, highly available systems with
work smarter and faster to achieve critical business objectives. sufficient backup and recovery.
In essence, operational BI delivers the right information to
the right people at the right time so they can take action. In To warehouse or not? The first technical question that
its extreme form, operational BI encapsulates business insights an organization needs to address is whether to use a data
into rules and models that organizations can use to automate warehousing architecture to deliver just-in-time data, or
decisions and responses, eliminating the need for human bypass it altogether. This is the most fundamental question,
intervention. Automating decisions not only streamlines and the hardest to answer.
processes and reduces costs, but also improves service and
gives organizations a competitive advantage in Many architects believe its critical to adapt existing data
the marketplace. warehouses to support operational BI. The big showstopper
is whether you are going to apply the same business rules to
Beyond operational reporting. There are many flavors of integrate, cleanse, and validate operational data streams as the
operational BI, ranging from operational reporting and rest of the data in your data warehouse, says John OBrien, a
process monitoring to composite applications and decision BI consultant and former data warehousing architect. Pulling
automation. While most organizations already support some operational streams out of the data warehousing process
form of operational reporting, many have yet to embrace more undermines data quality and creates divergent data sets that
complex types of operational BI that generate greater business may not reconcile, he claims.
value. Thus, operational BI opens up a new field of endeavor
for BI and gives organizations a chance to reap greater Some disagree. They say that a data warehouse becomes a
dividends from their BI investments. bottleneck if you try to load all data into it that users may
possibly want to query. BI vendors such as Business Objects,
Hyperion, SAS, and InetSoft, which support federated query,
Challenges believe their tools provide an easy, low-cost way to capture
However, operational BI poses several challenges. It stretches real-time data and deliver it to users at the point of need
the architectural boundaries of current BI solutions, forcing with sufficient quality. Likewise, vendors of embedded BI,
BI professionals to rethink the way they design and build event-driven analytic platforms, composite applications, and
systems. Queries must return in seconds rather than minutes in-memory analytics believe their offerings provide the most
or hours, and reports must update dynamically. Operational suitable way to meet high-end operational BI requirements.
BI systems must capture large volumes of data in near real These vendors say that a data warehouse is critical for
time without degrading the performance of existing processes applying historical context to real-time data, but not necessary
and jobs on source or target systems. There is also less time for managing the real-time data itself.
to recover from a server outage, making it imperative for BI

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Nevertheless, data warehousing has become a well-established and EII query tools. In practice, most companies use a
IT practice in corporate environments, and few organizations combination of these.
will jettison their DW investments without trying to
adapt the architecture to support just-in-time data and Data storage. Organizations can store acquired data
operational processes. Our survey also shows that about half in a variety of database engines, including one or more
of organizations (51%) run both operational and analytical layers in a data warehousing environment (i.e., staging
reporting from the same environment. Given the high number area, data warehouse, data mart, OLAP cube database),
of survey respondents who equate operational reporting with an ODS, a low-latency database, or an event-driven
operational BI, this indicates that many companies have analytic engine.
moved operational reporting into their data warehousing
environment. (See Figure 1.) Data delivery. To display captured data or data derived
from analytic processes, organizations use custom-built
Organizations that want to deliver just-in-time data via a applications, portals, BI tools, dashboards, composite
data warehousing environment face daunting challenges. The applications, or a combination of these approaches.
rest of this section describes the major challenges involved
in transforming a data warehousing environment to support Some of these technologies support multiple tasks. For
operational BI. instance, BI and EII tools can both acquire and deliver just-
in-time data, and if you consider a report definition a storage
Select the right technology. There are many technologies mechanism, they support all three activities. Likewise,
that BI architects can use to build an operational BI event-driven analytic platforms, working in concert with
environment. These technologies can be classified into messaging backbones (EAI networks, enterprise service
three main categories that correspond to the way data flows buses, publish/subscribe middleware), support all three
through a just-in-time system: activities. This is not surprising, since they are designed
to provide end-to-end support for real-time operational
Data acquisition. Organizations must capture, BI requirements.
transform, and move data from source systems into
the analytical environment on a just-in-time basis. To Our survey shows that organizations use a variety of techniques
do this, organizations can use ETL tools, replication to support operational BI. The most common are ODSs,
tools, changed data capture technologies, messaging followed by more frequent batch loads and changed data
backbones, event-driven streaming engines, and BI capture. (See Figure 2.)

Increase scalability and throughput.

RATE ThE ImpoRTAncE of ThE folloWIng TEchnIquES To youR opERATIonAl BI STRATEgy. Another key issue is building
systems that scale to support
greater numbers of users, more
Implement an ODS 45% data sources, and higher volumes
Apply changed data capture to source data 39% of data with increased rates of
Accelerate frequency of batch loads
throughputwhile ensuring
high data quality and security.
Run queries directly against source systems 28%
Organizations need to implement
Trickle feed (insert) data into a DW as events occur 24% high-performance data warehousing
Trickle feed data into a data mart as events occur 18% platforms from leading companies
Capture events in an in-memory data cache 12% such as Sybase, Teradata, and
HP, and robust data integration
platforms like those from Syncsort
Figure 2. Based on 225 respondents who have implemented operational BI and rated the approach of and others. To ensure scalability
high importance. and throughput, companies may

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need to upgrade their networks and hardware, and parallelize commit to update streamed messages from a queue into a
key extraction, transformation, and load processes so they can staging area, so updates are never lost if there is a planned or
adequately meet these increased throughput demands and unplanned outage in the database server.
eliminate processing bottlenecks.
Deliver adequate performance. A challenging problem for
Use inserts. To increase ETL throughput, some (but not all) data warehousing designers is ensuring rapid query response
architects recommend inserting new records (i.e., loading times while simultaneously loading or updating a data
data) rather than adding, changing, or deleting existing warehouse and performing other tasks, such as monitoring
records. Avoid updates at all costs, says OBrien. With events, triggering alerts, running backups, and scoring
large data sets, it takes too much time to find the record models. A mixed workload can cause RDBMS performance
and update it. Although this creates lots of duplicate data, to degrade to the point where it blocks incoming queries or
administrators can use SQL DISTINCT and GROUP-BY causes load processes to fail. Achieving adequate performance
statements to identify and delete duplicates, OBrien says. in a mixed workload environment can be a vexing challenge.

OBrien also recommends turning off referential integrity Complicating matters is that most users expect near-
and database logging. Why log inserts if you have the instantaneous response times in an operational BI
original load file? he asks. In addition, there is no reason environment. For example, customer service representatives
to create indexes and aggregations during the ETL process, cant wait more than a few seconds for an integrated view of
since they consume a lot of CPU and slow down the inserts. customer activity and cross-sell offers before their callers get
Like many architects, OBrien now advocates using the impatient and hang up. Most data warehouses arent designed
database to perform these tasks once the data is loaded to support a mixed workload of tactical queries that return
into the data warehouse to exploit the parallelism of the a few rows of data in less than a second along with complex
underlying database. This process is known as extract, load, requests that scan millions of records and take minutes or
and transform (ELT) versus the more traditional extract, hours to process.
transform, and load (ETL).
How do you balance these mixed workloads and maintain
Increase availability and recoverability. In a just-in-time SLAs without causing the system to crash? There are several
data warehousing environment there is little time to recover options, all of which have trade-offs:
from errors, because batch windows are small or nonexistent.
In a real-time system, you have no time to fix problems, Throttle incoming requests in response to heavy system
and messages can start piling up, says OLAP architect loads. You can schedule queries or jobs to only run at
Eric Lofstrom. The best way to avert these problems is to night, or queue or delete them using query governors or
build high-availability systems to drive the acquisition and job managers during periods of heavy load to ensure the
deployment process. These systems parallelize single points of integrity of system updates. This approach obviously wont
failure, run in a clustered environment, support failover and sit well with users, and its the reason companies began
backup processes, and have an offsite backup. building data warehouses in the first place: to provide
the business with a dedicated analytical environment that
Microbatches. To avoid losing data, OBrien recommends would not interfere with operational processes.
using microbatches instead of real-time streaming, since
microbatches provide a buffer with which to recover from Separate analytical and tactical queries and jobs.
a network or server outage. His rule of thumb is to set the Another approach is to off-load tactical queries and
ETL batch cycle three times larger than the time required to predictive scoring jobs to an ODS or specialized data
process the data. If it takes 90 seconds to process a file, then mart and leave the data warehouse to support long-
Ill set the batch cycle to five minutes and have 3.5 minutes of running analytical queries. Here, the ODS contains
sleep time. current transaction data, usually no more than 30 days
worth, stored in third normal form models that reflect
However, other IT practitioners believe it is perfectly safe to operational schemas. The downside of this approach is
stream events into a data warehouse. Lofstrom, for example, that it separates historical and current data into different
recommends logging each message as it comes off a queue, systems, making it difficult for users to view just-in-time
which may slow down the speed of the streaming data, but data in historical context.
prevents the loss of data caused by server outages. If an outage
occurs, Lofstrom recommends loading accumulated messages Leverage RDBMS mixed-workload capabilities. Many
into the warehouse in a single batch job before turning event database management systems (DBMS) have significantly
streaming back on. In other cases, companies use two-phase improved their ability to optimize the performance of

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long-running strategic queries, short-running tactical This approach may require you to pause the application
queries, load and update processes, and other types server while the flip takes place so no new requests are
of workloads. Teradata, for example, has made big initiated while the swap occurs, says Justin Langseth,
improvements in its priority scheduler for optimizing CTO of Claraview, a BI consultancy in Reston, VA.
tactical queries, says Dan Graham, marketing manager Many organizations use this insert-and-flip approach.
at Teradata. The priority scheduler is a real-time traffic
cop that always allocates CPU to tactical queries first External real-time cache. Another approach Langseth
to guarantee sub-second response times. It continuously recommends is to load data into an in-memory cache
monitors in-flight tasks and dynamically adjusts CPU outside of the data warehouse. Requests for real-time data
allocation to optimize performance. In addition, are fulfilled from the cache, while queries that require a
administrators can configure and prioritize workloads by combination of real-time and historical data merge the
user groups, types of activity, and other variables. HPs requested data in a set of temporary tables in either the
new Neoview data warehousing platform also boasts data warehouse or real-time cache, depending on which
workload management capabilities. database holds the largest volume of data requested. This
type of just-in-time merging of information requires
An RDBMS that supports mixed-workload processing lets complex SQL and may be challenging for most BI tools
organizations have their cake and eat it, too: they can load to support.
current and historical data into the same database and
optimize performance across all types of queries. Without Summary. There are many challenges involved in
an RDBMS that supports mixed workloads, many implementing operational BI. The challenges discussed
organizations decide to avoid using a data warehouse here deal primarily with transforming a data warehousing
for operational BI. However, not all mixed workload architecture to support just-in-time data delivery. Although
capabilities are created equal, so evaluate your database there are other ways to deliver just-in-time data to support
vendors capabilities carefully. Also, running multiple operational BI, many architects recommend using a data
workloads on a single platform may require hardware warehousing environment to ensure a consistent set of data for
upgrades to maintain adequate performance, so calculate the entire organization. l
these additional costs when deciding whether to use a data
warehouse to support operational requirements.

Avoid contention problems. When user queries and ETL Wayne Eckerson is the director of TDWI Research and author of
processes hit the same table, there is the potential for Performance Dashboards: Measuring, Monitoring, and Managing
one process to block the other and cause query or load Your Business (John Wiley & Sons, 2005). He can be reached at
performance to degrade. Along with mixed workload weckerson@tdwi.org.
requirements, the issue of contention causes many people
to maintain historical and just-in-time data in distinct data This article was excerpted from the full, 30-page report by the
stores. There are three ways to minimize the contention same name. You can download this and other TDWI Research free
problem, but they are not for the fainthearted: of charge at www.tdwi.org/research.

Allow simultaneous reads and writes. If you are The report was sponsored by Business Objects, HP,
inserting rather than updating data, the database wont Oracle/Hyperion, InetSoft, SAS, Sybase, Syncsort Incorporated,
lock the table. The only problem here is that the data and Teradata Corporation.
can be out of sync if the user reads the table before all
the inserts have completed. To avoid confusion, its
imperative to provide users with guidelines for submitting
ad hoc queries against real-time data, and it helps if you
dynamically time-stamp all reports. Its also important to
turn off caching in BI servers, since there is no point in
loading data every hour if the BI tool requests data from
a cache that gets flushed once a day.

Insert and flip partitions. Another approach is to create

a duplicate partition of a fact table and load it with
current data. Then, on a periodic basis, swap the table
with the live fact table to update the data warehouse.

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c a s E s t u Dy

University of Utah,
University Health Care:
BI Tips that Drive
User Adoption and
Increase ROI
Commentary by Jim Livingston
Director of IT Infrastructure and the Data Resource
Center, University of Utah Health Care

Healthcare in the western states doesnt get

much better than at University Health Care. The system has really improved
university health care
The center, which manages all patient care
our charge capture. Weve found
HEADquArTErS services for the University of Utah, has been
Salt Lake City, UT, USA named one of Americas best hospitals by a million dollars of charges in our
U.S. News & World Reportfor 12 years
COrE BuSInESS labor and delivery unit that weve
running. The center has also been listed as
Teaching hospital; primary healthcare one of the nations 100 most-improved hospi- been able to reallocate properly.
and medical education. tals for its gains in quality of care, operational Cheri Hunter, University Health Care
efficiency, and financial performance.
To serve the public by improving health With more than 850 physicians, the center operating room utilization. We were giving
and quality of life, to meet cost and effi- cares for more than five million people in people a taste of what was possible, but we
ciency targets, and to comply with all Utah and neighboring states and has an were not penetrating the organization with
necessary regulations. enviable reputation for academic excellence. information, says data warehouse manager
Like almost all primary healthcare providers, Cheri Hunter.
SOluTIOn though, University Health Care was under con-
FAST Radar stant pressure to improve its quality of patient solution
care, comply with a flurry of regulatory man- University Health Care had to find a solu-
dates, and ensure that it managed its assets tion that would encourage non-expert users
End users such as physicians and nurses
and other resources as efficiently as possible. to tap into its wealth of data. More than 70
are empowered to find the data they need percent of our users are medical students,
for decision making. challenge nurses, physicians, and so on. Most of them
University Health Care had no shortage of will not open a system they cannot use, says
Increased adoption rates: eight times more
data. Its IT teams had built robust data ware- Cheri Hunter.
users access data than before. houses to house data for everything from
Colorful personalized charts, dashboards accounts payable to procedures ordered It quickly became clear that an easy-to-use
in intensive care. IT had created a com- data portal would be the answera single
and scorecards make data access intuitive
munications system that allowed data to be sign-on solution whose dashboards and other
and actionable.
combined across functionsto extract finan- visual methods of data presentation would
Real-time delivery of reports and personal cial data and combine it with clinical data, for provide actionable information at a glance
alerts based on thresholds set by the user. example. However, the data was not easily for data-savvy analysts and non-expert users
usable. The hospitals business intelligence alike. The solution had to allow decision
Unified architecture built on Microsoft.NET (BI) solutions were overly complicated for makers to receive personally relevant infor-
ensures rapid implementation and minimal end users such as nurses and physicians. mation through familiar interfaces such as
maintenance. Two users seeking the same data could get Microsoft Excel or via e-mail. It also had to
very different answers. As such, adoption be easy to integrate, easy to implementand
Increased ROI now that end users can rates for the BI system were very low. The easy on the IT budget.
create their own BI reports. implications were clear not only for nurses
anxious to avoid dangerous drug interactions The hospitals IT leaders evaluated two
but for surgeons responsible for improving solutions, including FAST Radar. Early proof-

40 WHAT WORKS in enterprise bi Volume 24

sEarch Bi

of-concept projects soon confirmed what The biggest driver for us was to empower combine structured and unstructured data
early reviews had indicated: FAST Radar the end user. Now that weve done that, and creates associations between the two.
was exactly what was needed. The final seal weve seen an explosion in usage, says
of approval? When the new BI system was Director of IT Jim Livingston. Previously, the Like most Academic Health Centers, Uni-
demonstrated to end users, it won instant BI tool acquired in 1999 was being used by versity of Utah Health Care has abundant
acceptance. Everybody said, This isnt so five report administrators and perhaps 80 information in text form but it cannot yet
badwe can do this ourselves. Our chief occasional end users. Today, after just nine search the text fields and associate the results
nursing director even said, If I can do it, months, there are 400 active accounts on with the current BI initiatives. With the ability
anyone can do it, recalls Hunter. FAST Radartwo-thirds of them accessing to do so, the center would have a 360-degree
the system 50 times each per month. view of information in one place, saving time
results and providing users with more complete infor-
With FAST Radar on board, University Health The new BI system also allows costs to be mation. It will also enable users to uncover
Care managers are seeing significantly higher tracked more easily. In one case, a million insights that otherwise would go undetected.
ROI numbers than were possible with the dollars of charges in the labor and delivery
centers incumbent technology. One exam- unit have been properly reallocated. The why Fast radar?
ple: today one full-time IT analyst creates BI tools have also helped staff to identify FAST Radar provides actionable informa-
reports for users, down from six previously. that anesthetic costs were not being billed tion at a glance. Its robust browser-based
The new easy-to-use BI system has engaged correctly. FAST has been a phenomenal dashboards and scorecards make it easy for
a broader base of usersfrom facilities success for us, says Hunter. non-expert users to get the facts they need
managers to nurseswhich means they are in real-timeand to act on what they learn.
making better-informed decisions and driving The biggest driver for us was to It is easily scalable: with its open architec-
down costs in many departments. ture, FAST Radar can scale up to match
empower the end user. Now that University Health Cares needs, whether
FAST Radar has given the centers profes- weve done that, weve seen an they involve research data for the teach-
sionals confidence in their dataas well ing staff or patient tracking from the ER to
as control. Its ease of use makes it simple explosion in usage. intensive care. The solution needs minimal IT
for staff to build their own reports (no more Jim Livingston, University Health Care administration; built on the popular Microsoft
spreadsheets needed). The Radar Write Back .NET architecture, FAST Radar provides one
capability lets users update data directly integrated browser-based environment that
to an operational database. Staff also has strategic next steps requires very little ongoing maintenance. And
access to real-time datacritical for tasks Given the success of BI within University it was very easy to implement: FAST Radar
such as utilization planning in Intensive Care, Health Care, the IT group is now evaluating was installed in a matter of hours. l
for instance. Physicians now use browser- the strategic steps needed to apply more
based views of scorecards that track time advanced technology for increased efficiency For a free white paper on this topic, download
Business Intelligence Built on SearchThe
utilization of facilities or schedule variances and effectiveness. Part of the teams evalua-
Adaptive Information Warehouse, or click here
by site. Nurses now control what they are tion includes FAST AIW, a solution in which for more information about FAST.
tasked to manage, ensuring, for example, business intelligence is based on search.
that patient care orders are carried out in a AIW provides two critical features with signifi-
timely manner and monitoring any alerts for cant value to health organizations: advanced
potential adverse event. data cleansing capabilities, and the ability to

WHAT WORKS in enterprise bi Volume 24 41

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Open Source BI: Does

It Fit into Your BI
By John Williams
Senior Vice President, National Practice Director,
Collaborative Consulting

Open source software solutions are becom- source solutions can be customized 5. Complete is a relative term. In the case
ing more and more pervasive. Both large and embedded into existing or new of open source solutions, key elements
and small corporations have considered, and applications. such as a semantic layer, dash board-
frequently adopted, open source software as ing, data visualization, and data quality
a component of their overall software imple- 4. Some features are more advanced than components are lacking, while other com-
mentation strategy. Operating systems, data others. If your need is satisfied by these ponents have smaller functional gaps.
bases, source control, IDEs, and Web servers mature features, then open source may
are some of the more common open source be a fit. 6. They are very desktop-centric. While
components. traditional products have evolved to be
heavily Web-centric, these tools are still
While the licensing costs are
It was inevitable that eventually open source very dependent on a rich client to provide
would address data warehousing and low, the TCO (for open source key functionality.
business intelligence solutions. There are
BI solutions) may not be.
currently several open source tools in the The bottom line:
market that address everything from ETL to While open source BI tools have begun to
BI. They claim to provide a complete capa- Some of the challenges and considerations show some promise and will force traditional
bility equivalent to current market leading would include: software vendors to rethink their pricing
solutions. This brief article will address some 1. The current solutions tend to be develop- and strategy, they are still a ways away from
of the pros, challenges, and considerations ment heavy. Many are JAVA-centric, and becoming enterprise solutions. In smaller
for open source as a part of an enterprise will require in-house development skills in organizations support will be a challenge, in
strategy. order to make any real use of the tools. larger organizations the TCO and functionality
may not be there just yet. In considering open
First, lets start with the pros: 2. While the licensing costs are low, the total source, an organization should look at oppor-
1. Open source is relatively inexpensive cost of ownership (TCO) may not be. Given tunities to try it out on a smaller scale, looking
from a licensing perspective. While their development-centric nature, these at specific data mart needs for a potential fit.
more traditional products cost hundreds tools will actually cost more for ongoing Consider your organizations readiness care-
to thousands per seat, open source support than one might initially expect. fully, and if you decide to adopt open source
software can be as inexpensive as free BI, be aware of the trade-offs. l
without support, and certainly much less 3. Open source tool evaluation is more time
than traditional products even when sup- consuming than traditional tool evalua-
port is included. tion. Even getting the vendors to provide
demonstrations of their product can
2. There are open source solutions that prove to be challenging. A free proof of
address a majority of the software contin- concept is most likely out of the question.
uum for DW/BI. The current market seems
to have evolved with multiple consortiums 4. The user interfaces are not nearly as
addressing each aspect of DW/BI. Some robust as traditional software products.
of the software vendors have aggregated This is largely because these tools are
these into end-to-end platforms. still evolving, doing so at the pace of the
consortium. The priorities at this point
3. Component-based design allows them to seem focused on core functionality, not
be retrofit into existing applications. The advanced user interface design.
different subcomponents of the open

42 WHAT WORKS in enterprise bi Volume 24

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Enterprise Business
Intelligence: Making
the Case and Keeping
the Promise
By John Williams
Senior Vice President, National Practice Director,
Collaborative Consulting

It seems these days everyone is embarking rather an enabler, and must be posi-
on an enterprise business intelligence initia- tioned as such. In order for enterprise BI to be suc-
tive. While the catalysts are varied, the basic cessful, you need to consider the
mission statement is the same: Make infor- 2. Dont just settle for consolidation.
mation available across the enterprise in a Many IT groups are in the process of user needs in aggregate and show
consistent and easily accessible manner. consolidating core platforms such as how the new solution will provide
enterprise resource planning and cus-
This seemingly innocuous and laudable mis- tomer relationship management systems. better capability than exists today,
sion statement is fraught with challenges The difference with BI systems is that not just similar capability.
and roadblocks. The firstand perhaps users have heavily customized them to
least obviouschallenge is answering the their own departmental or group needs.
question, Why? Isnt it obvious? Isnt the In order for enterprise BI to be success- of an enterprise BI solution. It is about an
goodness of correct, consistent, and readily ful, you need to consider the user needs enterprise capability to deliver information
available business information enough? Add in aggregate and show how the new in the right for efficiently and with consis-
the equal goodness of a more manageable solution will provide better capability than tency. While this may imply fewer tools, it
technical environment with fewer packages exists today, not just similar capability. does not imply just one or just one set.
and platforms to support, and you certainly
have a compelling case, right? 3. Investigate the reason for the current 6. Clearly identify cost savings.
implementation. Just saying that having fewer tools, envi-
Wrong. Transitioning from the typical depart- Take a closer look at the reasons for ronments, integrations, and platforms will
mental, application-centric, or fragmented BI multiple technologies and fragmented reduce the IT workload is not enough to
environment of today is a nontrivial exercise data, and you may discover things such create a compelling business case. In the
involving resource costs, user tool changes, as department-level funding, lack of near term, this initiative will cost money,
and (in some cases) business process corporate-level drivers, and separate lines not save it.
changes. It requires executive involvement of business as the root cause; these must
and buy-in, and in todays age of closely be considered and addressed before an In such a brief article, we cant cover all
scrutinized IT spending, the usual altruistic enterprise BI initiative can be successful. of the bases; however, if you follow these
arguments just dont wash. Even with buy-in, fundamentals, you should be on your way to
once the spending begins, the business will 4. Create alignment with key business avoiding some of the pitfalls and solidifying
demand to see positive business impact in a organizations. your initiatives opportunity for success. l
reasonable timeframe or the funding will be You need to ensure that the large,
quickly cut off. business-driving organizations needs are For a free white paper on this topic, download
Consolidating the Business Intelligence
satisfied, even if it means compromising
Infrastructure, or click here for more
making the case for enterprise Bi in some of the less core business groups. information about Collaborative Consulting.
in your organization: While not very egalitarian, this is practi-
1. Align directly with business goals. cal and helps ensure that the initiative is
This sounds like an easy thing to accom- adopted and funded by the business.
plish; however, it is more of a challenge
than one might think. It requires a focus 5. Its not about one tool or environment; it
on what the business is trying to achieve is about the right tools and environment.
and alignment with those goals. BI is Many enterprise BI initiatives focus too
almost never the complete solution, but heavily on an enterprise BI tool instead

WHAT WORKS in enterprise bi Volume 24 43

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Why Open Source Was

the BI Suite of Choice
for ZipRealty
Commentary by Salvatore Scalisi
Director of Data Administration, ZipRealty

company overview database. Using a custom-built solution

ZipRealty (NASD: ZIPR), a national, full- allowed ZipRealty to deliver initial business
service real estate brokerage, provides home value and results without expensive software why pentaho:
buyers and sellers with an innovative real licensing fees, while deploying an integration
Robust, graphical ETL design and
estate solution. By using the efficiencies of solution that was optimized and tailored for
maintenance environment
the Internet, ZipRealty has streamlined the their specific environment.
real estate process and is able to pass signifi- Professional support and IP indemnifica-
cant savings on to its clients. The brokerages Over time, systems changed as the busi- tion with no software license fees and
licensed, local ZipAgents in each of its mar- ness grew, and business-user analytical
no vendor lock-in
kets allow home buyers and sellers to save requirements evolved. Therefore, ZipRealtys
thousands of dollars, without compromising IT team ran into challenges in maintaining Proven solution that was easily validated
on service. the data integration environment. Making in ZipRealtys environment during the
changes to business rules and integration selection process
The company employs 1,875 ZipAgents, logic became a complex and time-consuming
serving a large client base across a growing process. It was important to ZipRealtys Far lower overall costs than traditional,
list of diverse local real estate markets. IT team to remain responsive to business proprietary ETL
needs, while simultaneously preserving
Easily integrated into an environment that
Business challenge precious IT resources for other important
With a large and expanding business, inte- systems and projects. included a combination of open- and
grated online operations, and nationwide closed-source BI technologies
reach in a dynamic market, ZipRealty has
long recognized the need and opportunity to
With professional support and
integrate information from disparate sources world-class ETL from Pentaho,
to give business users visibility into strategic
metrics. Important metrics span topics such
weve been able to simplify our IT ZipRealty also was pleasantly surprised to
as agent productivity, customer service, and environment and lower our costs. find a three-fold increase in data loading
overall return on investment of ZipRealtys performance, reducing its batch window by
marketing programs.
We were also surprised at how eight hours.
much faster Pentaho Data Integra-
technology evironment and challenges Furthermore, Pentahos commercial open
Critical business information for ZipRealty
tion was than our prior solution. source model allowed it to deploy best-in-
exists in multiple transactional systems. Salvatore Scalisi, ZipRealty class open source ETL capabilities with
ZipRealty uses a combination of packaged professional telephone and electronic sup-
as well as custom applications, which run port, as well as IP indemnification with no
primarily on an Oracle database platform. solution and results software license fees and an overall TCO
Getting a complete picture of business activ- ZipRealty chose a Pentaho data integration far below that of traditional, proprietary ETL
ity and performance across these systems subscription (based on Pentahos popular tools. Demonstrating a pragmatic and suc-
requires integrating and rationalizing the data Kettle open source data integration project) cessful mix of open- and closed-source BI
into standardized models and formats. to address its needs. After evaluating the technologies, ZipRealty continues to use
product, ZipRealty found that its metadata- MicroStrategy business intelligence tools on
Prior to Pentaho, ZipRealty used an internally driven architecture, graphical drag-and-drop the front end to provide reporting and analyt-
developed Java-based application to access maintenance environment, and rich library ics to business users. l
these disparate data stores and to extract, of transformations would fit well into its data
transform, and load the data into a data warehousing environment, and would stream-
warehouse running on the MySQL Enterprise line and simplify maintenance.

44 WHAT WORKS in enterprise bi Volume 24

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Pleasant Surprises:
Commercial Open
Source BI
By Lance Walter
Vice President of Marketing, Pentaho

Many organizations have already reaped theres no such thing

the benefits of open source software in dif- as a Free lunch
ferent formsdeploying low-cost, scalable Even without proprietary
Linux-based servers, or using open source license fees, business
databases such as MySQL or Postgres. You intelligence is not free.
might be surprised how often you touch Maximizing the value of
open source software in your day-to-day BI in your organization
professional or personal life. Do you search requires an investment of
on Google? Watch videos on YouTube? Have timeand almost always
a TiVO at home? If so, then youre using money (integration, train-
open source software. These days, even cell ing, design, hardware,
phones and public transit vehicles are lever- maintenance, consulting).
aging open source software. Just because you can
avoid up-front license
Open source came to the BI market a few fees with open source BI
years back and has moved beyond the status doesnt mean youre get- Figure 1. open source BI is bringing new capabilities to the BI market.
of market trend or the next big thing to ting a free lunch.
become a pragmatic choice for BI applica-
tions at a wide range of companies. Open reducing open source ip risk by what youre getting, and you know where
source BI is still a new topic for many, and using open source! your vendor is going.
many pleasant surprises await those who Its more likely than not that there is open
invest a little bit of time to learn more. source software on the CDs from your pro- Functional evolution
prietary BI vendor. This can take the form of Open source BI has come a long way over
reality, not hype included application servers or Web servers the years, and now is even providing features
Organizations like yours use open source BI, such as Apache Tomcat, embedded data- that arent yet widely available from estab-
whether youre a large or small company, bases such as MySQL, or embedded libraries. lished, traditional proprietary vendors. Open
and irrespective of your industry. Big compa- If you read the fine print in your license source BI covers the main BI functional
nies such as Terra Industries, Motorola, and agreement or your vendors SEC disclosures, areas, such as reporting, analysis, dash-
Unionfidi S.C., as well as small- and medium- its likely that your vendor isnt indemnify- boards, and data integration. It also offers
sized companies such as iStockphoto, Boyne ing you. Most commercial open source BI thin-client AJAX technology, Web services
Resorts, and DivX use open source BI, just to companies include IP indemnification as part access to everything, integration with the
name a few. Some have thousands of users of their service agreements, which actually Eclipse IDEthings that many traditional
or terabytes of data, while others are small reduces any exposure you might have, based vendors are still catching up on. l
departmental deployments. on use of open source software.
For a free white paper on this topic, download
The Transformative Economics of Professional
You get what You pay For transparency rules Open Source on Business Intelligence Technology
No one has ever shown a positive correlation For years, IT organizations have asked for Selection and Evaluation, or click here for more
between the amount of money spent on BI more transparency from their technology information about Pentaho.
software licenses and the ultimate benefits vendors. Open source has delivered a major
delivered by BI. One frequently cited cause leap forward in this area. In many cases,
of BI project failures is underbudgeting for you can just go to a companys Web site and
critical services such as integration, train- get full access to product documentation,
ing, and consulting, due to over-allocation of unfiltered user feedback, product roadmaps,
budget to software license fees. bug reports, and software, as well. You know

WHAT WORKS in enterprise bi Volume 24 45

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Mortgage Company
Drives Compliance
with Data Governance
Commentary by Daniel Teachey
Director of Corporate Communications, DataFlux

the Business quality in the hands of business analysts federally mandated reporting is built on
A company that purchases, securitizes, the company turned to DataFlux. high-quality data. Instead of multiple divi-
and invests in the secondary mortgage sions having separate data quality rules, the
markethaving financed, since its incep- the dataFlux solution company now has one source for data gover-
tion, tens of millions of homesfaced a new The company chose DataFlux dfPower nance rules across all applications and data
round of regulatory pressures. Due to recent Studio and the DataFlux Integration Server sources, resulting in a unified, accurate view
increases in scrutiny from regulatory agen- to help it meets its compliance goals. By of corporate data.
cies, it was relying on outmoded technology profiling their data using dfPower Studio, the
and processes to attempt to meet compli- company was able to seek out and correct Putting data quality in the hands of the busi-
ance requirements. This company saw an erroneous or duplicate data to ensure that ness users also allowed the company to
enterprise-wide data governance solution as their data governance initiatives focused on reduce the time needed to implement data
the only real answer to these challenges. the most troublesome data sources. Through quality initiatives. Implementation times went
statistical and numeric range analysis, busi- from months to just a few hours. Because
the challenge ness analysts verified that key metrics, dfPower Studio uses an intuitive interface
Increased scrutiny and new regulatory such as loan-to-value ratios or total unpaid to build rules for data governance efforts,
requirements, such as the Sarbanes-Oxley balances, fell within federally mandated business users could act independently to
(SOX) legislation, have only added to the acceptable ranges. analyze the data and establish real-time
compliance burden for mortgage companies. controls. With business users controlling
Like any financial institution, these organiza- data, the company gained greater flexibility to
With the stakes raised by
tions were already competing in a heavily respond to changes and meet challenges as
regulated industry. Sarbanes-Oxley and other they arose.
legislation, the company needed
Faced with new regulatory challenges, the By making data governance an ongoing part
company found that it did not have either the a more robust, reliable data of its operations, this mortgage company is
technology or processes in place to imple- certain that it has the people, processes,
governance system.
ment a comprehensive data governance and technology in place to be compliant with
program. In the past, separate lines of busi- SOX. Furthermore, because of the adapt-
ness within the company were individually Using dfPower Studio, the companys busi- ability of the DataFlux solution, the company
responsible for their own data quality. Each ness analysts were able to work separately also has the confidence that it will be able to
unit would work directly with the corporate from the IT department to develop their own meet any changing regulatory obligations in
IT division, creating data quality rules, which business rules for data governance. Once the future. l
would then be implemented on each applica- the initial data profiling had been performed,
tion or data source by IT. analysts were able to use dfPower Studio to
transform the findings from the profiling into
This process had a historically slow turn- actionable business rules, then establish
around time, with changes to the rules taking these rules as ongoing data monitoring rou-
weeks or months to be implemented. Plus, tines and deploy them as real-time services
the business analysts who depended on the using the DataFlux Integration Server.
data had very little control over it.
the results
Seeking a system with faster implementa- The company is now much more confident
tion times that could produce more reliable about its quarterly and annual financial
dataand that would place control of data reports because it is confident that its

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Getting Started with

Data Governance
By Daniel Teachey
Director of Corporate Communications, DataFlux

As companies collect more information about of data governance sophistication within that The final phase, the Governed stage, is
their customers, products, suppliers, inven- enterprise. In the first stage, Undisciplined, where data is unified across data sources
tory, and finances, it becomes more difficult an organization has few defined rules and according to business rules established by
to accurately maintain that information in a policies regarding data quality and data an enterprise data governance team. At this
usable, logical framework. This can severely integration. The same data may exist in final stage of the maturity model, a company
complicate regulatory efforts, because the multiple applications, and redundant data has achieved a sophisticated data strategy
information within applications and databas- is often found in different sources, formats, and framework, and a major culture shift
esdata pertaining to customers, products, and records. has occurred. Instead of treating issues of
employees, suppliers, and financial trans- data quality and data integration as a series
actionsprovides the foundation for audit The danger for Undisciplined companies is of tactical projects, these companies have
reports and various other compliance efforts. the real and constant threat that the underly- a comprehensive program that elevates the
ing data will lead to bad business decisions process of managing business-critical data.
The data management challenges facing that may, in turn, lead to security or com-
todays businesses stem from the way that IT pliance violations. Often, a cataclysmic Although individual applications are still in
systems have evolved. Enterprise data is fre- failure (i.e., failed compliance audit, drastic use by a Governed company, the data that
quently held in disparate applications across decrease in customer satisfaction) shakes the they access comes from a single repository
multiple departments and geographies. To organization out of complacency and leads to that is propagated across the IT infrastruc-
address the spread of data, many companies further progress. ture. This provides the ultimate in control for
implement enterprisewide data governance the enterprise, as all reports and dashboards
programs, which attempt to codify and Data governance is a way to pull from the same pool of information. l
enforce best practices for data management
across the organization. address the challenges posed by For a free white paper on this topic, download
The Data Governance Maturity Model:
an ever-changing IT environment. Establishing the People, Policies and Technology
Data governance encompasses the people, That Manage Enterprise Data, or click here for
processes, and technology that are required more information about DataFlux.
to create a consistent enterprise view of At the next phase, the Reactive stage, a com-
a companys data. By concentrating on pany begins to organize a data governance
the health of the data, organizations can program, either through grassroots efforts
address the lifeblood of their enterprise, or, more likely, through an executive-driven
helping create better data to support any effort fueled by an earlier failure. At the
business initiative. Reactive stage, organizations try to reconcile
the effects of inconsistent, inaccurate, or
the path to data governance unreliable data as bad records are identified.
Like many enterprise initiatives, data gov- Here, the gains are often seen on a depart-
ernance programs often start small before mental or divisional level, but the company is
finding the sponsorship and support needed starting to establish some best practices for
to transcend organizational boundaries. data governance.
Through an established data governance
maturity model, organizations can identify and At the Proactive stage, the data governance
quantify precisely where they areand where program becomes cross-functional and has
they can goto create an environment that explicit executive support. To build a single
delivers and sustains high-quality information. view of a customer, for example, every part of
the organizationsales, marketing, shipping,
The data governance maturity model looks financehas to agree on what attributes
at the technology being utilized, along with make up a customer record.
the people and policies associated with the
governance initiative, to ascertain the level

WHAT WORKS in enterprise bi Volume 24 47

f E at u rrese
TDWI E arch

Business Intelligence Solutions for SAP

Issues that Influence BI Solutions for SAP

By philip russom, senior manager, tdWi research

The issues discussed here quantify the state of BI solutions The SAP-centricity of your BI solution is a matter
for SAP; they also describe the issues you need to consider of degree. In other words, a BI solution for SAP may
before deciding which mix of tools, platforms, approaches, incorporate SAP applications data only, or it may also
professional services, and business sponsorship are appropriate integrate data from other applications (and even non-
to your solution. application sources like syndicated data). The latter
is necessary for a complete view of organizational
performance. In fact, gaining a centralized single
Applications and Data Warehouse version of the truth is one of the reasons organizations
Architecture Issues deploy enterprise data warehouses. The challenge is to
Most of the data that populates data warehouses and reports satisfy both application-specific and enterprise-scope
comes from various types of operational applications, BI requirements.
including those for ERP, CRM, and SCM. Because these are
prominent sources of data that BI is based on, the number Application diversity may lead to BI solution diversity.
and diversity of applications strongly influences the data This may mean deploying both NetWeaver BI and
content and architecture of any BI solution, especially those an enterprise data warehouse (EDW). In most cases,
that involve SAP. NetWeaver BI supports data marts and reports specific to
businesses and processes supported by SAP applications,
SAP users dont only use SAP applications. TDWIs whereas the EDW collates information from many
survey asked, From which vendors has your organization sources for strategic decision making. To reduce the
acquired packaged applications for ERP and other number of solutions, some SAP-centric organizations have
operations? The survey population is dominated by made NetWeaver BI the equivalent of an EDW, while
SAP users, so its not surprising that 71% of respondents others rely on an EDW without any SAP BI products.
report using SAP applications. (See Figure 1.) But many Selecting one of these data warehouse architecturesor a
reported also acquiring applications from Oracle (25%), combination of themis a tough decision for SAP users,
Peoplesoft (24%), Siebel (15%), JD Edwards (12%), and because it affects the cost of BI, completeness of data
so on. Given the numerous vendors selected by survey content, data ownership, and how BI goals are prioritized
respondentsplus home-grown solutionsits safe to (i.e., tactical operations versus strategic planning).
say that most SAP-centric businesses also have significant
non-SAP applications.

fRom WhIch VEnDoRS hAS youR oRgAnIzATIon AcquIRED pAckAgED ApplIcATIonS

foR ERp AnD oThER opERATIonS? (SElEcT All ThAT Apply.)

SAP 71%
Oracle 25%
Peoplesoft 24%
Siebel 15%
JD Edwards 12%
salesforce.com 4%
Not Any 5%
Other 14%

Figure 1. Based on 476 responses from 278 respondents. Average responses per respondent: 1.7

48 WHAT WORKS in enterprise bi Volume 24

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Is the BI environment for SAP the Whos the primary sponsor for your BI solution for SAP?
same as your enterprise BI Line-of-business managers 44%
environment? Director of IT 25%
Yes 56% Director of Data Warehousing or BI 20%
No 37% Other 11%
Dont know 7%


BI EnVIRonmEnT? WhoS ThE pRImARy SponSoR foR youR BI SoluTIon foR SAp?

Dont know 7% Other 11%

Director of
data warehousing or BI 20%
No 37% Yes 56% Line-of-business
manager 44%
Director of IT 25%

Figure 2. Based on 172 respondents who are SAp users. Figure 3. Based on 172 respondents who are SAp users.

WhAT STRATEgy hAS youR oRgAnIzATIon folloWED In AcquIRIng ERp ApplIcATIonS?

Dont know or not applicable 7%

Build an application from scratch with

in-house or consulting personnel 9%

Buy a packaged application from Buy a packaged application from

a vendor and use it mostly as is 27% a software vendor and customize it 57%

Figure 4. Based on 278 respondents who use applications from SAp and other vendors.

Organizational Issues The scope of a BI solution for SAP is related to its ownership
TDWI asked of SAP users: Is the BI environment for SAP and sponsorship. (See Figure 3.)
the same as your enterprise BI environment? (See Figure 2.)
Line-of-business managers (44%) commonly sponsor
Enterprise-scope BI. Over half (56%) said yes, which BI solutions for SAP. Line-of-business managers often
suggests that these respondents BI infrastructure is fund, own, and sponsor operational applications, so its
enterprise in scopethat is, it spans the data and BI possible that they have extended this role to also sponsor
needs of many applications and business units, not just application-specific BI. Even so, IT and BI directors
those associated with SAP applications. sponsor BI solutions for SAP just as often (45%).

Application-scope BI. Roughly one-third (37%) said SAP BI sponsorship can also be shared. Several survey
no, suggesting these users have a BI solution that is respondents selected Other and entered comments like
narrowly focused on the data and business processes we use a team approach, no single sponsor. Sponsorship
of SAP applications. Of course, this does not preclude is shared by all businesses where it involves several
them from also having a separate BI solution of stakeholders. Or BI may be sponsored by corporate
enterprise scope. leadership as part of the SAP implementation.

Determining scope is an important BI design decision. Finance departments often sponsor BI, whether for SAP
A BI solution for SAP may be enterprise scope, with SAP- or not. Were reminded of this by survey respondents
specific requirements satisfied by a subset of the solution. who listed their finance organization or its CFO, VPs,
Or it may be application scope, possibly complemented and directors.
by an enterprise-scope BI solution.

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Which best describes how you built your BI solution for SAP?
Acquired BI products from SAP and customized them in-house 35%
Acquired BI products from SAP and consultants customized them 30%
Acquired tools from third-party vendors and developed a solution from scratch 16%
Acquired BI products from SAP and use them as is 10%
Other 9%

WhIch BEST DEScRIBES hoW you BuIlT youR BI SoluTIon foR SAp?

Other 9%
Acquired BI products from SAP Acquired BI products from SAP
and use them as is 10% and customized them in-house 35%
Acquired tools from third-party vendors
and developed a solution from scratch 16%
Acquired BI products from SAP
and consultants customized them 30%

Figure 5. Based on 172 respondents who are SAp users.

Build versus Buy Issues The greater the customization, the greater the difficulty
When it comes to ERP applications and the classic build- of upgrading. Some SAP customers would like to
versus-buy decision, buying is the norm by a long shot, with upgrade from older BW releases to recent NetWeaver
most survey respondents buying and customizing (57%), BI ones, but they feel that customization makes the
followed by those who buy but dont customize much (27%). upgrade too difficult to attempt. Lets all recognize that
(See Figure 4.) By comparison, building an ERP system customization is inevitable with BI products, so upgrades
is rare (9%). This is natural, given the complexity of ERP usually involve development work.
processes and how difficult it would be to build and maintain
an application to automate them. Plus, multiple software Avoiding customization reduces project time and cost.
vendors offer mature ERP systems that are feature-rich, A tried-and-true strategy for a packaged solution is to
robust, and have solid track records. roll out the first phase with little or no customization,
then tailor the solution to organizational requirements in
To quantify the build-versus-buy approaches of BI solutions subsequent phases.
for SAP, TDWIs survey first identified respondents who are
SAP users, then asked them: Which best describes how you We started our implementation of SAP BW in 2002,
built your BI solution for SAP? (See Figure 5.) A whopping working in parallel with the firms implementation of the SAP
75% reported acquiring BI products from SAP, which is a ERP, said Brian Hickie, former VP of Business Intelligence
high penetration of BI products for an applications vendor. at McKesson Pharmaceutical. We only had nine months to
implement the data warehouse, along with considerable ETL
Note that the level of customization varies with SAP jobs and a number of initial analytics and reports. We made
BI products. Relatively few use SAP BI products as is the deadline despite the fact that the SAP ERP configuration
(10%), while most assign in-house personnel (35%) or hire precluded the use of standard business content or standard
consultants (30%) to customize them. Customization has data extractors; the ETL jobs and BW required a considerable
ramifications for packaged solutions: amount of configuration to provide the data to generate
analytics and reports from the ERP and legacy systems.
BI solutions are hard to package. Thats because an
organizations BI data sources, its data models, and its Developing home-grown BI solutions isnt as common as other
report presentations all vary tremendously. However, approaches in Figure 6 (16%). However, other survey questions
if you narrow the scope of the BI solution to specific showed higher rates, and survey respondents who selected
use cases, which SAP NetWeaver BI does by focusing Other entered responses that involve home-grown solutions:
on standard business processes, the breadth of user
requirements is reduced, thereby reducing the difficulties SAP BW and EDWs can coexist peacefully. Some
of packaging a solution that works for multiple user BI solutions for SAP involve both NetWeaver BI
organizations. But BI requirements still vary somewhat, (specifically the BW component) and an independent
even when focused on ERP, so organizations inevitably enterprise data warehouse (EDW). For example,
customize to some degree. one survey respondent said: We both use BW and

50 WHAT WORKS in enterprise bi Volume 24

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extract SAP data into a data warehouse. Another IT professionals when the strategy doesnt consider
reported using BW and an in-house solution based user requirements.
on Oracle and Business Objects, while yet another
said, [We] use SAP BI as an OLAP tool to access a Most mentioned the usual benefits of BI as reasons for
Teradata EDW. implementing a BI solution. Several listed common BI
goals like better decision making or improved corporate
Some BI solutions for SAP are a work in progress. As performance. Others cited specific BI needs such as
one survey respondent put it, Were in transition from a financial reporting, datasets for business analysts, or
legacy custom-developed EDW to SAP BI. operational reporting based on SAP ERP source data.

All of my clients have multiple application modules from

Issues in Software Acquisition Strategies SAP, and for most of them, thats a good enough reason to
TDWI asked of SAP users taking this reports survey: get their BI technology from SAP, said a consultant who
What was the primary reason for your organizations specializes in BI solutions for SAP. Why bother with an
implementation of a BI solution for SAP? In the survey, the independent data warehouse? BW infrastructureespecially
question had no pre-written answers to select; instead, each with recent NetWeaver releasesis almost identical to what
respondent typed an answer in his/her own words. Many youd build into an independent warehouse. So the common
respondents turned the question into a soapbox, because they practice I see is to leverage what you already have, instead
have strong feelings either for or against SAP as a preferred of reinventing the BI wheel. Also, my clients trust SAP as a
software supplier and how that predetermines the products large, stable, non-acquirable vendor. In terms of best of breed,
they use. other BI and data integration tools are better, but SAPs
offering is relatively complete and pretty good. And the direct
For many organizations, naming SAP a priority supplier integration between BI and ERP is hard to beat.
leads inevitably to SAP BI products. Some respondents
stated this in matter-of-fact answers such as: SAP is our We have a mature, best-of-breed technology stack for data
preferred provider in all areas. Others made a direct causal warehousing and business intelligence, but its currently at
link: Using SAP ERP was the main driver to start with risk because our companys being acquired by a company
an SAP BW solution and SAP is selected as our common with a deep commitment to SAP applications and BI, said an
platform, which includes BW. enterprise data architect. Were under pressure to abandon
our EDW and go with SAP NetWeaver BI, but were not
Some spoke of the positive leverage between NetWeaver sure it will meet our requirements for strategic and financial
BI and SAP ERP. BW is a good fit on top of SAP ERP reporting, much less scale up. The merger is barely under way,
and SAP CRM, enabling users to leverage prebuilt and weve just started investigating NetWeaver, so itll be a
content and integration with the ERP. According to long time before we know which way to go.
other survey respondents: Most of our [BI] information
is sourced from SAP components, and BW provides a
direct link to primary source data.
Philip Russom is the senior manager of TDWI Research and over-
A few people complained about the SAP-centric sees many of TDWIs research-oriented publications, services, and
strategy. One claimed that using SAP BI products is events. He can be reached at prussom@tdwi.org.
due to a strategic decision to use SAP overall, even
when it does not fit. Others received SAP BI products This article was excerpted from the full, 32-page report by the
due to management actions beyond their control: It same name. You can download this and other TDWI Research free
[NetWeaver BI] was paid for in an overall package of charge at www.tdwi.org/research.
of software and parent company purchased SAP
solutions. Selecting a preferred supplier is a good The report was sponsored by Business Objects, Cognos, HP, IBM,
procurement practice, in general, but its frustrating for Microsoft, MicroStrategy, SAP, and Teradata Corporation.

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Kelley Blue Book

Improves Data
Analysis and Reporting
with Business
Intelligence Solution
Commentary by Bruce Hoffman
Manager of Business Intelligence and Data
Management, Kelley Blue Book

Kelley Blue Book analyzes and publishes its customers could easily use to predict Using these business intelligence products,
data on new and used vehicles. Large buyer trends. Even though that data had the analytics team can analyze data about
automotive manufacturers, as well as indi- the potential to be useful, there was too shoppers who are looking for new vehicles.
vidual car and truck buyers, use the Kelley much of it for manufacturers to make sense
Blue Book Web site to find in-depth pric- of. It was impossible to tell a meaningful Benefits
ing information. The company gathers data story with the data, says Hoffman. Our Kelley Blue Book now has a business intel-
from Web site visits to create trend reports marketing team had all this great information, ligence solution that integrates fully with its
for manufacturers. However, the report- but they didnt have a way to package and existing IT environment, an advantage that
generation process was time-consuming, sell it. They lacked a good software tool to helped the company deploy a new Web
and employees were not able to effectively make that happen. analytics sales report product, called Market
analyze all the data. Watch, in a short amount of time. With the
solution solution, Kelley Blue Book has reduced the
In 2006, Kelley Blue Book implemented a In January 2006, a Kelley Blue Book time it takes sales staff to create reports, has
solution based on Microsoft business intel- employee alerted Hoffman to Microsoft Busi- gained more in-depth analytical capabilities,
ligence technologies. With its new analytical ness Intelligence, a set of fully integrated and can better assist business customers
capabilities, Kelley Blue Book has improved business intelligence technologies that can with targeting their own marketing efforts.
sales staff efficiency and created a com- help reduce the complexity of organizing and Also, because it expects its customer base
pelling new Web analytics product that can distributing information. The new solution, to grow, the company anticipates its rev-
provide its business customers with more which the company implemented that same enues to rise. Other advantages include: full
targeted data for their marketing efforts. The month, gives the Kelley Blue Book analytics integration with existing environment; short
company expects to see its customer base team the ability to quickly and easily col- deployment time for new sales product;
and revenues grow in response. lect targeted data on automotive sales and increased efficiency for sales staff; improved
trends. It includes Microsoft SQL Server analytical capabilities; and more targeted
situation 2005, Microsoft Office Excel 2003, and marketing for business customers
Kelley Blue Book provides vehicle buyers Office PerformancePoint Server 2007 busi-
and sellers with comprehensive information ness intelligence software. Also, because Kelley Blue Book is better able
on new and used cars and trucks. The com- to help its customers with such information,
pany, which currently has 400 employees, Now, Kelley Blue Book employees can it anticipates that its base of customers
publishes up-to-date vehicle pricing and import more than 100,000 rows of Microsoft using Market Watch will grow. Our research
values through its Web site, kbb.com. We Office Excel 2003 data from the Web site revenues are expected to double in 2007,
receive about 12 million unique visitors each into a SQL Server 2005 database each day. compared to 2006. We saw we had a unique
month on the site, says Bruce Hoffman, From there, SQL Server 2005 Integration revenue opportunity, and this solution
manager of business intelligence and data Services moves that data into an online allowed us to address that, says Hoffman. l
management, Kelley Blue Book. analytical processing (OLAP) cube, which
is an arrangement of data in arrays to allow
The company uses specific information for quick analysis. The cube is viewed
gathered from these online visits to generate using PerformancePoint Server 2007 and
reports that it presents to automotive manu- is delivered to sales representatives via a
facturers. However, Kelley Blue Book had dashboard server.
struggled to put the information into a form

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The BI Tipping Point

By Bill Baker
Distinguished Engineer, Microsoft

I believe business intelligence (BI) is at the

tipping point right now. Quantitative evidence
abounds. A recent report from AMR fore-
casts software sales of $6.6 billion in the
general BI tools segment in North America
(NA) this year. They further forecast $5.5
billion in NA software sales for dashboards
and scorecards and $4.1 billion in NA sales
for planning, budgeting, and forecasting
solutions. Add in forecasts for hardware and One major takeaway was that our audience Scorecards are a prime mechanism to drive
services, and were looking at a very substan- was very technical and at least somewhat BI deeper into companies as they provide
tial market for BI. skeptical. BI was new enough that many both motivation and context for further analy-
IT departments were having their initial BI sis. By showing interest in SharePoint, BI
Other industry and financial analysts are conversations. Frankly, there were so many customers further indicate interest in provid-
providing robust forecasts for the BI market. vendors and no end-to-end vendors that the ing data and tools to broader populations.
Enthusiasm for the BI market has driven entire segment seemed very noisy, and the SharePoint is a key element, in the Microsoft
vendor actions including acquisitions, con- technology was often very different from the stack at least, for evolving individual insights
solidation, new entrants, and new products. day-to-day technology of the time. Ten years into team insights. In conversation after
Competition is heating up, and thats good ago, BI was a specialty industry. conversation, customers are asking how to
for customers. take BI to their masses. Microsofts vision
has always been that pushing BI deeper and
Customers are asking how to take
That nine percent growth can come from a wider into companies, the so-called BI for
number of mechanisms. Net-new customers BI to their masses. Microsofts the masses, results in better companies.
may be buying their first BI platforms and Quantitative market research and customers
vision has always been that
solutions. Vendors may be increasing prices. are telling me this dream is coming true. I
Companies with existing BI implementations pushing BI deeper and wider believe that BI is well along its evolution from
may be deploying additional solutions or specialty tools to mainstream adoption. In
into companies, the so-called
pushing existing solutions to new users. Free- other words, we are at the tipping point in
form Dynamics and The Register recently BI for the masses, results in BI adoption. l
published survey results from more than
better companies.
1,100 users in 250 companies on the subject For a free white paper on this topic, download
How the Intelligent Enterprise Delivers
of making business performance and man-
Performance Management, or click here for
agement information more broadly available I meet hundreds of customers every year. I more information about Microsoft Corporation.
within their organizations. Twenty percent have not defined BI for a customer or pros-
of respondents reported that they already pect in several years. The whole tenor of
provide information to a broad population the conversation has changed. I have more
of users. discussions that are exclusively about busi-
ness. But more significantly, the tenor of
Despite all the numeric evidence, my strongest the technical conversations is different too.
sense about the tipping point is the chang- First, customers come prepared to discuss
ing conversation with customers. Recently I BI, not to learn about BI. The questions I
spent a few hours reviewing all of the BI slide get are deeper, more thoughtful, and some-
decks Ive delivered over the 10-plus years times more challenging. The question I get
Microsoft has been working in BI. In 1997, most is: How do I get BI into vastly more
every presentation began with the basics. employees hands?
I also found plenty of slides that simply
described BI as the tools and techniques for Recently I have had deep conversations
making better decisions. about tying scorecards to strategy maps.

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Operational Performance Robust development and scripting

investment professionals can access reports
from any browser worldwide as long as they
have a security ID card. Actuate has cut
Reporting Applications down on the amount of support required to
The biggest Actuate users at MFS are the expand its global operations.
Help MFS Improve equity, fixed income, fund treasury, compli-
ance, and HR groups. According to Joe ImpRoVED REgulAToRy complIAncE
Regulatory Compliance, Piotrowski, vice president and development As a financial services company, MFS
manager at MFS, If you are not using Actu- has to comply with increased federal and
Enhance Productivity, ate in our key market groups, you cant do state regulations, such as Sarbanes-Oxley.
your job. Throughout MFS, all of our report According to David Domenicone, systems
and Expand Global development is being done with Actuate. architect at MFS, We have ever-increasing
audit requirements, and Actuate reports
Operations MFS has leveraged Actuates open, flexible have been key in meeting many of them.
architecture to create innovative functional- Actuate provides MFS a means to create
Commentary by Joe Piotrowski
Vice President and Development Manager, MFS ity for its operational performance reporting accurate audit reports to monitor and comply
application. First, MFS has leveraged the with regulations.
Actuate application program interface (API) to
about mFs create conditional scheduling that automati- conTRollED DEVElopmEnT coSTS
MFS is a global asset management firm cally generates and schedules reports when Because of Actuates component object
that serves investors around the world. The new data becomes available. The reports are model (COM) support, MFS was able to
firms global research team covers the world accessible through the Web portal. leverage existing code to run reports making
through offices in five international cities it an easy migration from its desktop applica-
Boston, London, Mexico City, Singapore, and Second, MFS has developed a method to tion to a Web platform. Code written for the
Tokyo. MFS invests in securities in more than automatically generate a personalized criteria desktop was easily deployed to both Web
60 countries. page for users. MFS leverages the Actuate and Actuate servers.
API to comb through the metadata, gather
ThE mfS chAllEngE the attributes of the user, and then dynami- MFS can now provide reporting capabilities
As MFS expanded its global operations, the cally create a personalized Web front end. cost effectively to anyone in the company.
company needed to find an easier way to There is no incremental cost to bring Actu-
deploy research without having to install and MFS utilized Actuate e.Services and three ate to an additional department apart from
maintain applications in remote offices. MFS internal MFS developers to complete the setting up new data in tables. MFS no longer
had integrated Crystal Reports with its desk- implementation in less than six months. struggles to provide Actuate to smaller
top application, but Crystal did not offer a Since MFS executives support Actuate and departments.
Web-based reporting solution at that time. the users endorse the product, use of Actu-
ate is spreading throughout the company to IncREASED EmployEE SATISfAcTIon
MFS did not have a centralized reporting approximately 800 users. MFS employees have been happy with the
function and had multiple reporting technolo- Actuate technology, and usage has increased
gies throughout its organization. Employees Benefits of actuate throughout the company, with 100 percent
manually created ad hoc reports, a process EnhAncED pRoDucTIVITy user adoption. Actuate provides a consistent
not only time-consuming but also prone to Employee productivity has increased set of reporting interfaces for investment
user errors and version control issues. because of the time saved by using Actu- areas to enhance usability.
ate to automatically generate and deploy
ThE mfS SoluTIon reports. This automated process ensures ThE mfS fuTuRE
MFS selected Actuate for operational per- important reports are delivered to man- MFS will continue its migration from
formance reporting based on the following agement on a timely basis, saving MFS Crystal Reports to Actuate and is evaluating
criteria: managers about one-half hour per day, how to integrate Actuate with its PeopleSoft
states Piotrowski. They now have more application.
Proven scalability time to focus on strategic initiatives and
decision making. Actuate has enabled MFS to enhance pro-
Web-based solution ductivity, enable global expansion, and comply
EnABlED gloBAl ExpAnSIon with regulations, says Piotrowski. MFS will
Support for VB COM and distributed Actuate has helped MFS to expand its continue to leverage Actuate and expand its
COM components investment operations worldwide. Because usage throughout our organization. l
Actuate is Web-based and secure,

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Spreadsheets in the
Next Generation
By Cate Zovod
Senior Technical Marketing Manager, Actuate

Spreadsheets are a fundamental facilitator This practice allows the organization to organizations to take the appropriate
of the way in which many financial services maintain a single version of the truth and steps to mitigate the risks inherent in
institutions seek to conduct their businesses prevents users from altering the spread- the reporting and analysis performed in
in the 21st century. There is now an accep- sheet and thus the business process. spreadsheets. In order to ensure compli-
tance industrywide that spreadsheets can ance and accommodate the increasing
pose a substantial risk to the success of the 2. Determine a blueprint of what an indi- regulatory scrutiny of spreadsheets in the
business, both in terms of pure profit and vidual spreadsheet looks like and what industry, banks must standardize and rig-
loss and reputation. functions it must incorporate, thus elimi- orously manage the development process.
nating spreadsheet development errors
However, the spreadsheet is ingrained in and validating the data that exists within When spreadsheet processes remain manual
the fabric of the financial services industry, the spreadsheet. and unstructured, the risks in spreadsheet
making it too valuable a tool to eliminate. use remain high. The automation fundamen-
Therefore, banks have focused their attention 3. Distribute scheduled, manufactured tally redefines the concept of spreadsheet
on how best to mitigate these risks and lever- spreadsheets to eliminate spreadsheet risk. Where a repeatable development and
age control across spreadsheets. changes that can occur in the dissemi- distribution process is in place, institutions
nation process, to generate confidence can be confident that they have gained con-
In order to identify best practices that tackle in data quality, and to ensure reports trol of, and confidence in, their spreadsheet
the risks, Lepus Management Consultancy and analyses are received in real time. environments. Adopting these steps will
interviewed practitioners across a range of The timely distribution of spreadsheets help drive compliance with the increasing
tier one and tier two investment banks in also ensures that business processes regulatory scrutiny of spreadsheet use and
order to gain an insight into current industry are not delayed by inefficient distribution strengthen critical business processes. l
practices. Lepus looked at how spreadsheets procedures.
were used across the front, middle, and back For a free white paper on this topic, download
A Paradigm Shift: The Management of
offices throughout these organizations. 4. Centralize spreadsheet processes and
Spreadsheet Use in Financial Services, or
environments to drive accountability and click here for more information about Actuate.
The best practices deliver live business data consistency in the level of control lever-
within a familiar spreadsheet format, with all aged across the business. By leveraging
the formatting, formulae, and graphs intact a centralized server and page-level
and without querying, cutting, pasting, or security, institutions are able to deliver
manual data entry errors. These practices spreadsheets to a defined group of users,
result in instant complete information direct however small or large, in real time.
from source, preformatted and ready to go,
ensuring accuracy, quality, and control. 5. Spreadsheets that access all the neces-
sary data sources provide broader insight
Achieving these benefits can be a reality if and better-integrated information to sup-
organizations are able to follow a series of port decision making.
steps that utilize the existing skills of develop-
ers but introduce automation to ensure the 6. Management of the authorization to
robustness of the process. These steps are create spreadsheets, responsibility for
outlined below: signing off spreadsheets and facilitation
of ongoing monitoring in a live environ-
1. Generate automated, server-based ment are crucial to gaining control. The
spreadsheets that enable complete ver- resulting effect is enhanced transparency
sion control, eliminate human error, and in spreadsheet use.
ensure that the development process
is auditable for compliance purposes. 7. Regulatory pressures, such as Sarbanes-
Oxley, now make it compulsory for

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Rohm and Haas:

One Company,
One Measure
Commentary by Mike Masciandaro
Director, Business Intelligence, Rohm and Haas agility. We can move across the hall or the We had a data warehouse before, but we saw
Company world and still track business with the same clearly that it could be improved with a more
tools and semantics. complete architecture. The advantages of
moving to SAP NetWeaver BI were too obvi-
the company At the projects outset, we had more than ous to ignore. About 90 percent of our data
Rohm and Haas serves a broad segment 300 disparate IT systems, with IT costs is now in SAP, so it was an easy decision.
of dynamic markets, including building and accelerating at an alarming pace. Our 13
construction, electronics, food and retail, businesses, each operating in four separate Once we implemented NetWeaver BI, we
industrial processes, packaging, transporta- geographic locations, were operating largely used BEx Web for reporting and dash-
tion, and water. We have operations with independently of one another. boards to drive usage at higher levels of the
approximately 100 manufacturing and organization. Everyone now gets a direct
35 research facilities in 27 countries with Our challenge was to remain geographically information pipeline.
16,500 employees. diverse and have extraordinarily efficient
and robust business processes while being Business Benefits
Rohm and Haas has relied on its business flexible enough to meet local customers The executive council describes our BI pro-
intelligence program to guide and track its needs and expectations. This was the perfect gram with words like sea change, pricing
transformationin eight yearsfrom a $3.5 environment for IT, finance, and business power, and confidence, and cites dramatic
billion organization to an $8+ billion enter- collaboration. increases in the speed and quality of deci-
prise. Each year, Rohm and Haas purchases sion making.
3.5 billion pounds of raw materials, mostly We can move across town or
petrochemicals, and 23 million BTUs of natu- Business performance accountability accel-
ral gascommodities with dramatic price across the world and still track our erated our decision making involving critical
increases and frequently subjected to disrup- business with the same tools and business risks. Enterprisewide objectives
tion and shortages. During this transformative successfully translated into actions at the
period, the company divested more than 45 terminology. business level. Raw material cost increases
units and acquired many more. We main- Mike Masciandaro, Rohm and Haas now are tracked in near real time. Gross
tained profits by making good procurement profit is protected by better pricing decisions,
decisions, by making timely pricing decisions, materials sourcing, and timing. Managers
and by closely watching our businesses in the solution now track results from the first day of the
near real time. The tools we chose, an all-SAP implementa- month, rather than 40-50 days late, and
tion, inherently solved some of the linkage finance and IT costs have dropped from
None of this would have been possible with- issues between strategy and implementation 5 percent of sales to 2.75 percent.
out our BI program. because the enterprise resource planning and
BI facilities are tightly bound. If we are agile in We have moved Rohm and Haas into an
Our executive councilseven senior ERP, we inherit this agility in BI. We frequently environment in which we leverage informa-
executivesvisibly supported this project, change reporting hierarchiesa fluid process tion for faster and more accurate decision
was actively involved in developing the first that requires little to no attention. Because making. Our high-efficiency operating plat-
metrics, and continues to support and use our business is dynamic, the tight connection form is now the foundation for innovative
the program. We were able to provide BI between our ERP and BI systems eliminates worldwide growth of our businesses, organi-
functionality to the CEO and people on the handoffs that could adversely affect our goals cally and through acquisition. l
shop floor with the same schema, data, tools, for accuracy and agility.
and metrics. For a free white paper on this topic, download
Beyond the Basics: Accelerating BI Maturity, or
The selection of SAP tools let us quickly
click here for more information about SAP.
Because we operate so many businesses roll out BI capabilities to a wide audience
in so many countries, it was important that because there was one tool for both training
we develop a one company, one measure and support. Upgrades are synchronized and
discipline in order to minimize time spent tested by one vendor, avoiding the integration
discussing the meaning of data, and to foster complexities with tools from multiple vendors.

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Corporate generally unhappy, and resorts to keep- It is important to clarify here what tightly
ing spreadsheets. Corporate finance and integrated means exactly, as integration
Performance IT are generally happy, though, because needs to take place on two fronts. The first
the system provides a consistent solution is a technical integration (see Diagram 1),
Management: that can be easily and cost-effectively where the CPM solution needs to interact
maintained. seamlessly with a customers ERP systems,
Departmental or where the core financials and transactions are
So how can this situation be resolved in a held; data warehousing and BI tools, used for
Corporate? way that meets the detailed needs of the reporting and analysis; and GRC (governance,
individual business, satisfies the corporate risk, and compliance) suite, ensuring compli-
By Ryan Leask
Product Manager, SAP CPM requirements for visibility and consistency, ance and built-in risk sensitivity.
and keeps the TCO low? We are generally
seeing the market answer this question on The second aspect is business process inte-
Sooner or later, everyone faces the same its own, today: vendor standardization. gration. Its not enough for just corporate
conflict when deploying corporate perfor- finance to have a performance management
mance management (CPM) applications: Vendor standardization is happening at a solution. Every department in an organization
how to balance corporate needs against rapid pace. What change Monthlyhas triggered Weekly shouldMonthly
have its own solution, which meets its
Sales Sales by Sales by
departmental requirements. In most orga- this? Perhaps the single biggest factor is Rep individual requirements, yet also seamlessly

nizations, every department wants its own the vendor consolidation taking place in rolls up into a corporate view. For example,
individually customized solution (especially theBilling
CPM market, forcing FINANCEorganizations to SALES MARKETINGdecides to run an additional
if marketing
for budgeting); yet this design inherently Application
look at what systems and/or vendors they campaign to improve sales on a specific prod-
leads to multiple versions of the truth, are now dealing with. Typically, in the past, uct line, it will update its own performance
challenges in combining the figures at a Payroll
each department pursued the best-of-breed management
CRM solution to reflect the increase
ETL Process

corporate level, and total cost of ownership solution that best met its requirements, in expected sales. In an integrated world,
(TCO) problems (especially when systems while IT departments pursued Detailed Historical that
solutions purchasing (which has its own individual solu-
Legacy Transactions
from multiple vendors are used). integrated
Application with the corporate environment. tion)DATA
wouldMININGnow see thatINDUSTRY
it has a shortfall to
With the vendor consolidation in the market, expected sales. Now, imagine this happening
We see organizations generally fit into one of someOthervendors, better known for their inte- corporate-wide across all departments, with
three situations: Application
gration capabilities, are now in possession the data seamlessly rolling up into a corporate
WEB LOGS Repositories,
of what was once called a best-of-breed SUPPORT
view and SYSTEMS
the systems all being supported cost-
They are stuck in spreadsheet hell, with application. What is occurring, therefore, is effectively by IT (see Diagram 1). At least that
no sophisticated CPM systems in place the replacement of isolated departmental is how we at SAP see the Holy Grail for CPM.
(or only deployed to a limited user base). solutions with offerings from a single vendor
All the problems of security, compliance, that touts both best of breed and tightly Find out more at: www.sap.com/solutions/
user error, reconciliation, audit, main- integrated solutions. performancemanagement/. l
tenance, and all the other well-known
spreadsheet issues are being dealt with.
Corporate Performance
Each department has implemented its Management
own CPM solution, but the IT depart-
ment is driving to standardize on one P&L
ERP Balance Sheet
vendor. Each individual department is Cash Flow
generally happy with its solution, but to
have finance/corporate reconciling all the Performance
Expenses Revenues
different formats causes headaches, and Management

the IT department is left supporting a Data Warehouse &

Business Intelligence Production Sales
high TCO environment.
Corporate finance has rolled out an Purchasing Marketing
enterprisewide CPM system that requires
departments to conform to a standard
Supply Chain CRM Performance
solution. Each individual department Performance Management Management
loses the flexibility needed to fulfill its
unique requirements and is, therefore, diagram 1. corporate performance management integration

WHAT WORKS in enterprise bi Volume 24 57

p r E D i c t i v E a n a ly t i c s

c a s E s t u Dy

Innovative Analytics
for Improved
Performance and
Consistent Decision
Commentary by Steve Trammell
Corporate Alliances, ESRI

the challenge
A major food and beverage provider was
experiencing inconsistent performance from
its new and existing outlets throughout the
U.S. Furthermore, the more competitive envi-
ronment was requiring a more agile approach
to managing real estate assets.

Management suspected that existing BI and Figure 1. If the market area will support another outlet, the user can display a map showing
geographic information systems (GIS) appli- projected revenue potential for various locations.
cations could help solve the problems, but
was unsure how to leverage these assets. areas for each outlet were created based on potential for various locations. (See Figure 1.)
The challenge was to get these disparate actual travel time over the street network as If an underserved location is identified, the
systems working together either to arrive at a opposed to the more traditional ring analysis. user can then add an outlet and conduct a
solution or to determine if additional applica- A further refinement of the trade-area deter- trade-area analysis for the new location. The
tions were needed. mination model accounted for the proximity revenue potential for the new trade area is
of the companys competitors and target cus- then passed back to the BI analysis package,
A consulting firm was engaged to evaluate tomers. This method of modeling trade areas where factors such as acquisition, construc-
the existing applications and suggest pos- is a much more accurate measure of spend- tion, and operations are considered and
sible courses of action. It was determined ing potential than a purely drive-time model. annual net revenue is projected. If the projec-
that updated versions of the BI and GIS tion is favorable, the real estate acquisition
applications were needed, as well as new Utilizing nationwide data and a more sophis- group is notified and tasked with obtaining
GIS functionality and current GIS data. The ticated trade-area model addressed many a site in the newly identified area. Available
consultant brought in the existing BI and GIS of the site performance inconsistencies the sites are run through the trade-area analysis
providers to discuss their current capabilities company experienced using the previous application to validate potential performance.
and to lay out a high-level vision of how the analysis method. These same improvements
clients challenges could be addressed. to existing systems could now be leveraged Benefits
more proactively to manage the companys A more rigorous and repeatable market anal-
the solution entire real estate portfolio using what if ysis methodology gave the company greater
The BI customer analytics application was scenarios. confidence in sales forecasts. The flexible
augmented with data from a new customer and simple-to-use, scenario-based market
survey, resulting in a more accurate cus- For example, if a market area is found to be analysis tool greatly accelerated the site
tomer profile. This customer profile was then underperforming, a new trade-area analy- selection process, resulting in quicker returns
matched to ESRIs Community Tapestry data sis for each outlet is conducted to check on investment for expansion projects.
(demographics and purchasing potential), and individual site performance. Depending on
a nationwide map was generated showing the the outcome of the analysis, the user is The company is now able to react to
distribution of people matching the profile. presented with options for improving the changes in the marketplace much more
areas performance, such as closing, moving, effectively. Developing problems can be miti-
The GIS could then be used to create new remodeling, or adding outlets. If the market gated early to minimize or eliminate losses,
trade areas, and thus revenue potential, area will support another outlet, the user can and newly developing markets can be served
for each outlet across the nation. Trade display a map showing projected revenue more quickly. l

58 WHAT WORKS in enterprise bi Volume 24

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lEssOn frOm thE ExpErts

You Cant Offer a

Solution If You Dont
Know the Problem
By Steve Trammell
Corporate Alliances, ESRI

ESRIs geographic information system (GIS) the GIS account manager never inquired
applications had been used for many years about non-GIS related technologies being
Had the GIS or BI account man-
by a major food and beverage provider. GIS used by the company. agers proactively engaged the
was an indispensable part of the decision pro-
cesses in its business. The end users in the It was also obvious that the BI providers had
companys other technology users,
company were satisfied with the functionality never asked the same type of questions of they might have solved the com-
of their GIS applications as well as the support their users at the company. Had the GIS or
they were receiving. Therefore, we were sur- BI account managers proactively engaged the
panys problem sooner and avoided
prised when we were approached by a large companys other technology users, they might the cost of consulting services.
consulting firm to meet with the company to have solved the companys problem sooner
explore potential solutions to an increasingly and avoided the cost of consulting services.
critical challenge they were facing. Now that GIS can be deployed in service-
ESRI has been participating in business oriented architectures (SOA), it is impera-
We also learned at this time that the com- application conferences over the past few tive that account representatives become
pany was using a number of BI applications, years, most notably BI and enterprise con- familiar with their clients entire technology
and the providers of those applications were tent management (ECM) events. Well over landscapes. The ability of SOA to provide
being asked to join the discussions. Our half of the prospects we engaged at these solutions by using services from numerous
account manager was completely unaware events were from organizations that were applications, including GIS, requires that
of the companys challenge, even though he existing ESRI clients. However, many of account managers be cognizant of a wide
was in regular contact with its GIS users. these individuals were either unaware of the variety of technologies. It also requires that
GIS implemented in their organizations or technology providers make information about
In the conversations that followed, it became did not know it could be integrated with other technologies readily available to their
apparent that the existing GIS and BI applica- their departments existing applications. account managers. l
tions could solve parts of the problem, and This indicates that the segregation of
some additional GIS applications could solve applications experienced at the food and For a free white paper on this topic, download
Developing and Deploying an Integrated
the rest. There would also be some GIS and BI beverage company is a common, yet often
Geoenabled SOA Business Solution: A Case
services work necessary to tailor the resulting unacknowledged, problem. Study, or click here for more information
solution to the specific needs of the company. about ESRI.
We have applied the lessons learned from
What was proposed was an integrated these experiences in both our marketing
solution that provided a common point of and sales efforts. Account representatives
interaction with the GIS and BI applications. with domain expertise in application areas
Fortunately, over the past few years GIS has other than GIS, such as BI, are no longer
been integrated with virtually all major BI assigned to accounts based on location,
platforms, so a comprehensive solution could but to accounts where their expertise will be
be built that leveraged many of the com- most useful.
panys existing GIS and BI applications.
Our marketing efforts have spread to publica-
This experience showed us that todays tions and events not targeted at traditional
technology environment requires account GIS markets. The marketing efforts are aimed
managers who are willing to engage their at making the end users of other application
customers in discussions about tech- platforms aware of GIS so they begin asking
nologies that may fall outside the account about GIS resources already being used in
managers area of expertise. In this case, their organizations.

WHAT WORKS in enterprise bi Volume 24 59

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c a s E s t u Dy

Cablecom Reduces
Churn with the Help of
Predictive Analytics
Commentary by Federico Cesconi
Head of Customer Insight and Retention,
Cablecom GmbH

Cablecom GmbH is Switzerlands largest cable
network operator. Broadcasting to 1.6 million
homes across the country, Cablecom offers
customers cable television, broadband Inter-
net, and mobile and fixed-network telephony.

Cablecoms reputation as a market innova-

tor is mirrored in house, where the company
uses the very latest technology to better
serve its customers.
data sets. Cablecoms aim is to predict future enable Cablecom to take proactive steps to
challenge behavior and proactively meet customer retain themas well as identify a segment
In the broadcast and telecommunications demands, and therefore reduce churn. likely to have high satisfaction as a target for
space, where churn is a major global issue, cross- and up-sell campaigns.
it is vital to be able to target customers effi- At significant points across the customer
ciently with tailored marketing offers. lifecycle, Cablecom solicits detailed customer results
feedback. Initial results showed a peak in Data from the customer feedback program
Seeing the world through the customers churn behavior between 12 and 14 months gives an accurate picture of the traits of satis-
eyes is at the heart of our business, said into the lifecycle, but the decision to churn fied and dissatisfied customers. Across the
Federico Cesconi, head of customer insight was actually made around the ninth month wider customer base, Cablecom can identify
and retention at Cablecom. Customer into a contract. satisfaction levels (with a 78 percent degree
information and feedback is key to this pro- of accuracy) and take appropriate action to
cess and is enabling us to take a proactive As a result, the company targeted customers retain or even cross- or up-sell customers.
approach to one of our industrys most press- who had been with the company for about
ing problems. seven months with an online satisfaction SPSSs technology enables Cablecom to
survey. Dissatisfied customers most at risk of identify more accurately those customers
Its much easier to retain a customer than switching were then targeted by a dedicated who are likely to churn and take proac-
to try to win him or her back. Many win-back customer retention team that proactively tive action to improve retention. Early pilot
activities and offers are often too late for reached out to persuade them to stay. studies show a drop in churn rate from 19
the customer looking to switch providers. In percent to an impressive two percent among
many cases, the decision has been made As is typical with surveys, though, only a treated customers.
weeks before, and it is costly and difficult to minority of customers responded. Using
reverse, explained Cesconi. SPSSs data mining solution, Cablecom com- Cablecom can also provide better leads for
bined the survey results with other customer cross- or up-sell campaigns by targeting a
solution data and built predictive models that could customer segment most likely to accept any
Cablecom recognized the key to tackling churn score all customers on their likelihood to such offer.
was to identify the point at which customers churn. They found more than 100 factors
become dissatisfiedbefore they make the that indicate if a customer is likely to churn, As a result, Cablecom has achieved substan-
decision to switch to an alternative provider. It including initial activation period, number tial results that directly affect its bottom line. l
opted to use SPSSs best-of-breed predictive of customer service queries, price band,
analytics technologies to assess and analyze and original sales channel. This insight was
customer feedback and to evaluate it along- applied across the entire customer base to
side existing behavioral and demographic predict which customers would churn and

60 WHAT WORKS in enterprise bi Volume 24

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lEssOn frOm thE ExpErts

Enhance Enterprise
BI to Drive Business
Growth with Predictive
By Colin Shearer
Senior Vice President, Market Strategy, SPSS Inc.

Stories abound of the business improvements companies start with the most easily accessi- to allow a transaction based on a models
and impressive return on investment that ble datatypically, descriptive/demographic estimate of customer credit risk. As you plan
organizations have achieved using predic- and behavioral/transactional data held in how these decisions will fit into your busi-
tive analytics, including dramatic reductions the customer warehouse. But the more you ness processes, you also need to consider
in customer churn, huge boosts in market- know about your customers, the closer you how they will integrate with the operational
ing response rates, and significant savings can come to a holistic view of them in your systems that support them. For example,
through better fraud detection and risk dataenabling you to better understand will model scores be used to select and rank
management. As C-level executives become them and more accurately predict their target lists that are sent to campaign man-
aware of this opportunity to improve their behavior. Look for additional data that can agement systems, or will models be invoked
businesses, many companies find them- add incremental value to your predictive ana- in real time during contact center conversa-
selves adopting predictive analytics. lytics efforts. Consider text (e.g., transcripts tions, where decisions will be made based on
of call center conversations), clickstream data that has just become available?
Before rushing headlong into a predictive data from Web site visits, and attitudinal data
analytics project, however, you should con- from surveys. Focus on early success, but keep the enter-
sider a few key points to help you ensure prise vision. Although individual predictive
success and maximize the value you can analytics solutions can generate significant
obtain from predictive analyticsboth in
Before rushing headlong into a ROI, organizations that apply the technology
your initial project and ultimately across the predictive analytics project, across different areas of their business gain
enterprise. maximum returns by taking an infrastructure
consider a few key points to help approach to implementing predictive analyt-
Choose your initial target. Look for areas you ensure success and maximize ics. While you should focus on the success
where predictive analytics have been applied of your initial project, keep in mind the
successfully in companies like yours. Across
the value you can obtain. long-term benefits of sharing a common ana-
sectors, the most common initial areas for lytical platform and data views across your
implementation are CRMwhere it is used future applications. Plan a roadmap that will
to optimize customer acquisition, value, and Plan how to use the results. No matter how support your evolution to a truly predictive
retentionand risk management. Seek out good your analysis or how accurate the pre- enterprise. l
case studies and learn lessons that can apply dictive models you build, you only generate
to your business. ROI when you do something with the results. For a free white paper on this topic, download
Predictive Analytics: Extending the Value of
Deployment of results is crucial and needs to
Your Data Warehousing Investment, or click here
Treat it as a business project. Analysis may be planned at the start of your project. Typi- for more information about SPSS.
be a technical activity, but having Ph.D. stat- cally, deployment involves making intelligent
isticians drive your project is the wrong way model-based decisions at key decision points
to do it. Striving for technical improvements in the business processes youre trying to
in accuracy of predictive models isnt the improve. This might be deciding whether to
same as maximizing the business benefit of include a specific customer in an outbound
your analytical results. Bring together analyti- mailing campaign that makes a retention
cal skills and business skills, and ensure the offer to high-value customers predicted to be
focus stays on business success. at serious risk of defection; deciding, during
a contact center conversation, to make a
Leverage all relevant data. Predictive ana- cross-sell offer based on a propensity mod-
lytics leverages your data assets. Many els recommendation; or deciding whether

WHAT WORKS in enterprise bi Volume 24 61


p r E D i c t i v E a n a ly t i c s Data Warehouse &

Business Intelligence

c a s E s t u Dy

Top Retail Bank relatiVe campaign proFitaBilitY BY targeting Volume

More Than Doubles 180

Campaign Profit (%)

Campaign Profitability 120

Using Latest Uplift 80

Uplift Model
Modeling Techniques 20
0 Champion
0 20 40 60 80 100
Commentary by Mark Smith
% Targeted
Executive Vice President, Portrait Software
Figure 1. Targeting 20 percent or 30 percent of the population achieves an uplift nearly 80 percent higher than does
targeting the whole population.
A large successful American bank that had
recently launched a new high-margin product is the ability to optimize targeting to maximize Lowering customer dissatisfaction
was aiming to increase new product book- the returns from direct marketing. Uplift by decreasing the level of negatively
ings. Should the bank mail all its customers modeling achieves this by predicting, at an received material
to increase sales of the new product and individual level, the change in behavior likely
incur a high mailing cost while still providing a to result from a particular marketing inter- Enhancing understanding within the busi-
positive return on mailings? Or could the bank vention. Uplift modeling enables us to target ness of the effectiveness of various kinds
increase incremental sales while reducing customers whose behavior we can change, of marketing spend
mailing costs by focusing its mailing on those rather than targeting those who would have
customers best influenced by the marketing? behaved in a way even without the direct Eliminating many or all of the negative
marketing intervention. effects associated with mistargeted
The value of many banking products is campaigns
high, so even an increase in product sales As in the case with the leading retail bank
of a fraction of a percentage can provide referenced above, uplift models were able Increasing customer retention
a positive return on investment for direct to generate higher returns on marketing
mailings. Leveraging the latest techniques in spend through lower targeting volumes. uplift optimizer: the solution
uplift modeling, this bank discovered that it This constitutes a multiple win, because it Portrait Softwares uplift modeling solution
could increase total sales by about 10 per- means an increase in sales while simultane- has been successfully applied at five of
cent while reducing mailing volumes by 60 ously reducing targeting or mailing costs. the worlds top 10 financial services firms.
percent. These results more than doubled Additionally, where incentives are used, the Portraits Uplift Optimizer is the culmination
campaign profitability compared with the cost of these is usually significantly reduced of more than eight years of focused R&D
banks previous state-of-the-art approach because they are not wasted on custom- effort, and is the first automated solution
to modeling. ers who would purchase anyway. Customer that predicts the incremental impact (uplift)
satisfaction also tends to improve because of marketing campaigns. Singled out for its
The graph in Figure 1 shows the relative customers who dislike being contacted are innovation, Uplift Optimizer differs from tra-
profitabilty of targeting different volumes with less likely to be targeted. ditional modeling by identifying the two most
the two models, using the profit achieved by important segments for targeting:
targeting the whole population as a base. As the multiple Benefits of uplift modeling
can be seen, targeting 20 percent or 30 per- Uplift modeling allows businesses to optimize A. The Persuadablespeople who buy (or
cent of the population achieves an uplift nearly their targeting of customers in such a way as renew) who would not have done so if the
80 percent higher than does targeting the to maximize the return on investment of mar- campaign had not been run
whole population. More significantly, the profit keting spend. The benefits from this in the
achieved using uplift at cutoffs in the typical areas of demand generation and customer B. The Do Not Disturbspeople for whom
and desirable 20-30 percent range from 60 retention include: the campaign triggers a negative response
percent to 125 percent larger using the uplift
model than with the banks champion model. Reducing the number of customers Portraits Uplift modeling solution can be
required to achieve a given level of busi- used as a stand-alone package or as an
maximizing returns on direct marketing ness stimulation and thus reducing costs integrated component of an SAS package or
What is uplift modeling and how does it differ other modeling applications. l
from the traditional approach of response Increasing the level of business genera- Click here to request more information about
modeling? The core benefit of uplift modeling tion achieved for any given level of spend Portrait Software.

62 WHAT WORKS in enterprise bi Volume 24

BEst practicEs awarDs

Best Practices Awards 2007

TDWIs Best Practices Awards recognize Bi/dw on a limited BudGet

Winner: StubHub
organizations for developing and implementing Solution SponSor: business Objects

world-class business intelligence and data

San Franciscobased StubHub is a unique open marketplace that
warehousing solutions. Here are summaries enables customers to buy and sell tickets at fair market value to a
of the winning solutions for 2007. vast selection of sporting, concert, theater, and other live entertain-
ment events. Since its founding in 2000, StubHub experienced
triple-digit year-over-year growth, straining its existing information
management infrastructure.

StubHubs limited visibility into current data, customers, and busi-

ness drivers threatened its long-term survival, and StubHub did not
have the resources for an expensive overhaul. Instead, StubHubs
BI/DW initiative emphasized investing in specific technologies to
empower end users and free up existing staff resourcesreusing
existing technology investments and employing open-source tech-
nologies where possible.

StubHub successfully replaced its failing database with a stable,

scalable, and extensible data warehouse environment. The new
database and reporting environment was developed and deployed
in eight months. StubHub now maintains a rolling two-year road
map to build on the platform and continue driving business value
through actionable intelligence.

StubHub leveraged industry best practices that can be adopted

easily by similar organizations. For example, the initiative was
designed by a cross-functional team to ensure full organizational
buy-in. The company developed a detailed project plan that
included a phased approach and clear milestones. The team used
a traditional star-schema data model, a software development life-
cycle (SDLC) methodology, and data-quality techniques. Finally,
the development team delivered quick wins with key reports that
demonstrated and reinforced value to the organization.

The StubHub team needed to find innovative ways to achieve

an enterprise-class implementation on a limited budget. These
included using open-source, on-demand, and free or bundled
software; the extensive use of sandboxes, which minimized BI
headcount and enabled the BI team to focus on delivering value-
added projects; repurposing hardware to further reduce capital
expenditures; and collaboration with partner groups to create new
reports and functionality.

To read more about StubHubs innovative solution, see pages 67.

WHAT WORKS in enterprise bi Volume 24 63

BEst practicEs awarDs

customer intelliGence data Governance

Winner: Verizon Data Services Winner: UMB Bank
Solution SponSor: teradata cOrpOratiOn Solution SponSor: Harte-Hanks trillium sOftware

Verizon Communications Inc. delivers communication innovations UMB Financial Corporation is a financial holding company that
to mass market, business, government, and wholesale customers. offers complete banking and related financial services to individual
Verizon Wireless serves 59 million customers nationwide; Veri- and business customers. Its banking subsidiaries own and operate
zon Business operates one of the most expansive wholly owned 139 banking centers. Subsidiaries of the holding company and the
global IP networks; and Verizon Telecom deploys the nations most lead bank, UMB Bank, n.a., include an investment services group
advanced fiber-optic network. based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, a trust management company in
South Dakota, and single-purpose companies that deal with broker-
In 2003, Verizon Telecom developed Performance Assurance age services, consulting services, and insurance.
Reporting Suite (PARS), a relational online analytical processing
application that serves as a scalable common point of access for Years ago, UMB Bank associated its customers with certain prod-
metrics and analytics. PARS operates atop the companys active uct sets and managed its technology in the same way; however,
enterprise data warehouse environment from Teradata on the same many customers spanned both lines of business. UMB had excel-
high-speed server. lent individual lines of business systems, but immature customer
enterprise information management systems.
Verizon Communications Inc., formed in 2000 by the merger of Bell
Atlantic Corporation and GTE Corporation, has continued to grow During a growth phase, UMB aligned its tools and technologies to
through acquisitions. Verizon had difficulty unifying the diverse fit its business model, which enabled UMB associates to become
markets and product lines of the former companies and reconcil- customer-centric. The transition required breaking down some of
ing data across markets and regions. The company recognized the the organizational silos that functionally segregated customer data.
need for universal access to a central data repository to expedite In addition, UMB needed a mechanism by which all information
data queries and provide valuable customer insight. could be aggregated.

PARS has changed the way Verizon does business. With PARS, Three key aims drove this initiative: 1) to increase front-line efficien-
Verizon now has a single 360-degree view of the customer across cies by consolidating customer data, thus reducing the research
all acquired brands and regions, and it operates with a single, time necessary to quantify the customer relationship; 2) to improve
common version of the truth for reporting and analysis. cross-sale opportunities by consolidating current product offerings
and identifying complementary products; and 3) to empower asso-
Verizons initiative began with an active enterprise data warehouse ciates to fulfill UMBs mission of knowing its customers. To achieve
that served to aggregate metrics across hierarchies. Verizon sought these objectives, UMB needed an enterprise CRM solution with a
insight through customer and product data to successfully promote focus on data quality best practices. UMB evaluated available tech-
its offerings. nologies that would help aggregate existing host systems to create a
foundation for the overall CRM effort.
By building its own application, Verizon has saved approximately
$2 million in resources and $1 million in licensing fees and main- The finished design offered flexibility and logical building blocks for
tenance over a four-year period, and also reduced preparation time the future. The first phase was launched in May 2006. The project
by 90 percent. yielded CRM success, some of which UMB links directly to Trillium
Software and Oracle UCM. UMBs information aggregation model is
highly streamlined and has gained accolades from peer group cus-
tomers and fellow commercial entities.

64 WHAT WORKS in enterprise bi Volume 24

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enterprise Business intelliGence (eBi) enterprise data warehousinG

Winner: DaimlerChrysler AG Winner: ingenix
Solution SponSor: ibm cOrpOratiOn

DaimlerChrysler (DCX) is a global automotive manufacturer formed by Ingenix, a wholly owned subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group (UHG),
the merger of Daimler-Benz and Chrysler Corporation. Procurement at is a global healthcare information company founded in 1996
DCX is part of an organization called Global Procurement and Supply to develop, acquire, and integrate best-in-class healthcare
(GP&S), and is extremely important to DCX because approximately information capabilities.
$100 billion is spent annually on parts and services. Cutting these
costs by even a small percentage generates large benefits. At the heart of all BI activity at Ingenix/UHG is the Galaxy
enterprise data warehouse (DW). Galaxy is an atomic DW with
After the merger, operational systems for creating purchase orders transformations that integrate subject areas across many UGH
and paying suppliers could not be standardized quickly. A data platforms. Galaxy eliminated data silos and inconsistencies across
warehouse was built for combining the procurement summary data; these platforms and is now the companys single source of truth
the result was the Global Procurement & Supply Information System for many applications. Technologies and techniques developed for
(GPSIS), which has grown far beyond the original vision. UHG are also sold to other healthcare companies, making Ingenix
both an in-house analytics and IT group and a commercial solu-
GPSIS aids in global negotiation, facilitating achievement of lower tions provider.
costs and higher quality of purchased parts and services. The
annual corporate goal for reducing purchased-part costs exceeds A centralized program-management office coordinated the
$1 billion, and GPSIS is key to meeting that goal, as it is already transition to Galaxy from two legacy DWs and legacy systems.
credited with helping to create savings of millions of dollars. Requirements-gathering began in 1998, and Galaxy went into pro-
duction in 2001. Its database was 2.5 TB, growing to 18 TB today.
GPSIS began as a globally available DW with structured, Web-based About 50 business analysts, data modelers, DBAs, and software
reporting and has evolved into a fully functional BI platform with engineers worked mostly in-house, with the exception of IBM data
strategic planning applications. modeling assistance.

The original goal was merely to understand how much business The consolidation saved the company several million dollars and
was done with each supplier. This provided leverage for negotiat- has produced ongoing cost savings, eliminated redundancies,
ing lower prices based on the full global value of business across and dramatically increased the efficiency of integrating new data
commodity groups. DaimlerChryler then needed a way to consider sources. Information quality is the foremost objective for Galaxy.
the other aspects of total cost of ownership, since choosing a sup-
plier means more than finding the lowest price. The company used Ingenix has three information-quality goals: 1. Ensure the company
the GPSIS DW as a foundation for balanced scorecards to track meets business-defined quality standards and goals. Galaxy must
supplier performance globally. The next step for the system was to always be valid to a Six Sigma level of verifiable quality. 2. Monitor
support both Daimler and Chrysler corporations as they operated information quality continuously to save operational maintenance
separately. Management at both companies has expressed strong costs. 3. Continuously improve Galaxys overall quality to ensure
desire to retain GPSIS functionality for their respective global pur- UHGs overall health.
chasing operations.
Galaxys industry-differentiating characteristic is its value-added
CRM applications provide a basis for managing a companys rela- transformations, which derive information from multiple sources
tionship to its customers. In a similar fashion, GPSIS is a supplier the heart and soul of the information quality management program.
relationship management system that provides a basis for managing These value-added transformations enable difficult processes such
the companys relationship to its suppliers. as finding patients to invite to drug trials. Galaxys completeness
and breadth, quantity of information, and trustworthiness give value
to this process.

Galaxys success is due to Ingenix and UHGs comprehensive and

continuous focus on information quality, their organizational commit-
ment to Galaxy across all aspects of the business, and their built-in,
industry-differentiating, complex, value-added transformations.

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Government and nonprofit Government and nonprofit

Winner: richmond Police Department Winner: Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
Solution SponSor: infOrmatiOn builders

The Richmond, VA, police department needed an analytic system Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) is one of the
that would help determine the probability of particular types of premier cancer centers in the world, committed for over a century
crime occurring in specific areas at specific times. Combining to exceptional patient care, leading-edge research, and superb
technology expertise from SPSS and Information Builders, the Rich- educational programs. The Center has nearly 9,000 employees. In
mond Police Department (RPD) is now using predictive analysis 2006, more than 21,000 patients were admitted to Memorial Hos-
and business intelligence technology to apply information-based pital, and MSKCC accommodated over 430,000 outpatient visits.
The MSKCCs data warehouse, the Institutional DataBase (IDB),
The RPD systems predictive analytics capabilities help determine was launched in 1988 when the information systems senior
where a crime may occur and empower officers at all levels to take management team formed a broad-based steering committee.
immediate actions. Overall, the system delivers accurate insight into This committee defined a methodology to create, maintain, and
where crimes might occur, increases public safety, and reduces the administer a data warehouse that would ultimately unite clinical,
number of calls for assistance. From 2006 to 2007, major crime operational, and financial data. The IDB has evolved well beyond
was down 19 percent; from 2005 to 2006, it was down 21 percent. its original objective to make institutional data readily available for
research, decision support, and executive information systems.
In 2002, RPD procured an enterprise data-mining workbench from
SPSS to predict patterns of behavior that would help it use police Today, IDB data provides clinicians with a patients history of
resources more effectively. Recognizing the value in this statistical chemotherapy; it also helps clinicians study and compare the effec-
analysis system, in 2005 and 2006 RPD enhanced the system by tiveness of treatment regimens.
deploying Information Builders WebFOCUS BI tools in conjunction
with GIS mapping software from ESRI. The benefits of the system MSKCCs information systems data delivery group, DataLine, has
have surpassed original expectations. provided thousands of reports to support cancer research initia-
tives, leading to active protocols and published papers. The group
Three key elements contribute to the success of the project: real-time has also provided key information in the generation of tens of mil-
information, usability, and portability. The agility and responsiveness lions of dollars in institutional grants.
of the RPD system give officers fresh information at every eight-hour
shift change, and some data is updated continuously. The IDB is the primary data source for visit processing, which
supports the coding of about $1 billion in annual ambulatory
Information Builders tied components of WebFOCUS into map- revenue. Further, IDB reports have been created to help support
ping software from ESRI to create an easy-to-understand, intuitive accreditation from the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Health-
presentation of the law enforcement application. Dashboards serve care Organizations (JCAHO). Also, census information from the IDB
as the key interface. The system offers point-and-click drill-down supports budgetary decisions by MSKCC management.
capability and visual representation of current analytic data. The
new applications portability is crucial to successful deployment. In 1989, the IDB consisted of two subject areas. Today, 16 disparate
With data terminals in their cars, officers receive alerts, conduct applications with various DBMSs feed the IDB to produce more than
planning, and develop strategies, and supervisors are able to review 1,000 daily reports. In place since IDBs inception are morning
performance outcomes in each area. reports for each subject area, which are monitored daily in order to
identify data anomalies, growth, and exception conditions.
The predictive analysis system uses a database of arrests, past
calls to police, and crime incidents. Advanced analytics from SPSS DataLine was created in the early 1990s, starting with one data
are used to examine how current crime reports relate to data on expert; the group has grown to six, and develops more than 500
past, present, and anticipated actions. Advanced analytics include ad hoc and scheduled reports per year. Power users also provide
statistical, mathematical, and other algorithmic techniques. data delivery services and run reports out of the IDB for 10 depart-
ments, accounting for thousands of reports per year.

66 WHAT WORKS in enterprise bi Volume 24

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operational Bi predictive analYtics

Winner: Airlines reporting Corporation Winner: Corporate express US inc.
Solution SponSor: micrOstrategy

Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC) is an airline-owned company Corporate Express, part of the Holland-based Corporate Express
offering financial settlement solutions and data and analytical NV (NYSE: CXP), is one of the worlds largest B2B suppliers of
services to airlines, travel agencies, airports, and travel industry essential office and computer products and services, with 2006
analysts. Its vision was to provide a travel industry solution to cus- sales of approximately $4 billion in North America, including
tomers and give them the resources of an industry data warehouse. $3.6 billion in the U.S.

ARCs cross-functional Data & Analytical Services team manages Corporate Expresss distribution infrastructure is among the
ARC COMPASS, a data warehouse that captures and analyzes industrys most advanced. It delivers an average of $13 million in
information related to air travel ticketing and holds 39 months products every business day in the U.S., $6.31 million of which is
of historical data. ARC has centralized and simplified industry ordered through the Internet. To increase sales on all combined
reporting in virtually every internal decision-making and workflow orders, Corporate Express built a market basket application to rec-
function. The result is significant tangible and intangible cost reduc- ommend related products to customers during their purchase.
The market basket application is based on reference products
ARCs first BI application, ARC Document Retrieval Service, helped and correlated products. When a customer chooses a reference
the company realize $12.5 million in core cost reduction related product, the application presents nine mathematically correlated
to shipping fewer paper ticket coupons. ARC also mines data on products to pair with the reference product. Optimal pairing is
behalf of external customers. The results help travel industry cus- determined by three metrics:
tomers create targeted marketing plans, assess incentive programs,
and optimize promotions. ARC offers insight for route and network Support: The probability that the reference and correlated products
planning, sales trends, customer behavior, demand forecasts, will be purchased together.
statistical profiles, point of sale analysis, and targeted marketing
campaigns. Confidence: The probability that the correlated product will be pur-
chased once the reference product is added to a shopping cart.
The Data & Analytical Products business line has experienced
better than 100 percent revenue growth in each of the past two lift: The improvement in the probability that the correlated product
fiscal years. ARC offers more than 60 revenue-generating reporting will be purchased once the reference product is added to a shop-
products, and launches five new revenue-generating products ping cart, divided by the original probability that the correlated
each year. product will be purchased independently.

ARC has implemented a comprehensive best-practice data gover- With the application in place, analysis now shows and often pre-
nance framework through the assignment of data custodians and dicts what items might occur together in a checkout session. The
data stewards. The data provisioning team provides data integrity BI application is having enormous impact. The company can track
through modeling of the data across business, operational, and all online baskets and identify what SKUs are most profitable or
technical levels. This team also supports ongoing infrastructure poor performers when purchased in combinations. According to
initiatives. ARC develops many of its products and services through Corporate Express, the market basket application has generated the
an iterative prototyping methodology. Prototypes of reports and following ROI results:
even analytical front-end applications are developed quickly and
modified easily. Average order size for basket purchases increased more
than 2 percent
ARC was the first organization in the industry to comply with the
data security standard of the payment card industry, and complies Average order size for orders with a basket pairing is more
with the European Union Safe Harbor program. With its entry into than twice that of orders without a basket pairing
BI/DW solutions, ARC has expanded existing market segments and
developed new ones. The company has significantly expanded its Many companies present complementary products as part of the
marketing list services with ARC COMPASS and can provide highly shopping experience, often based on the professional judgment of
customized marketing lists for destination marketing organizations, marketing or merchandising organizations, and complements are
airlines, and various service providers. often intuitive (e.g., pairing staplers with staple removers). Leverag-
ing predictive analytics allowed Corporate Express to innovate past
intuition and judgment to base pairing decisions on solid math.

WHAT WORKS in enterprise bi Volume 24 67

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radical Bi
Winner: Lawrence Livermore national Laboratory

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), a premier applied

science laboratory, is part of the National Nuclear Security Admin-
istration within the Department of Energy, and is responsible for
ensuring that the nations nuclear weapons remain safe, secure,
and reliable through the application of advances in science
and technology.

First developed in 1985, LLNLs data warehouse is now a portal-

based Java and Oracle RDBMS application considered highly
successful in delivering accurate and timely information. While data
warehouses are now commonplace, four of LLNLs approaches and
innovations combine to give its users uncommon capability and
control in addressing their information needs.

A modular architecture has been employed and continually lever-

aged for flexibility, control, and self-sufficiency. The Enterprise
Reporting Workbench (ERW) interface allows users to create for-
mats and filters and link them to create reports. The modularity has
expanded to support interaction with commercial packages, which
produced the workbench reference in the namea place where
tools can coexist. The ERW home page is a comprehensive work-
bench of enterprise reporting tools.

Dimension data is separate from fact data, which allows ERW users
and application a great deal of flexibility. If fact data contains the
base attribute (such as account or employee number), then all rel-
evant dimension data is dynamically available, even if absent from
the reporting view. Users can easily create, maintain, and use their
own virtual dimensions (URAs) or use a wealth of institutionally
maintained dimensions (IRAs). This dimensioning architecture also
allows for rapid deployment of completely new dimension sets with-
out programming or creating new view structures.

Over the years, common desktop skills and capabilities have

become integral in todays retrieval and analytical processes. When
LLNL found some users were re-keying data from paper reports into
other desktop processes, they preserved and staged their report
files for FTP download. Today, all output is electronic and available
in full-featured .xls, .pdf, .tsv, and HTML. Users can also integrate
post-retrieval analysis with report processing within the ERW prior
to distribution. The Desktop Data Integrator (DDI) allows users
to create a workbook once and upload it to ERW, where its data
sheets, pivots, and summary sheets will be refreshed automatically.

68 WHAT WORKS in enterprise bi Volume 24

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Solution Providers

The following solution provid-

ers have shared their enterprise
business intelligence stories and
successes, technology insights,
and the lessons they have learned
for What Works in Enterprise actuate corporation Business objects
Business Intelligence. 701 Gateway Blvd., Suite 600 North American Corporate Headquarters
South San Francisco, CA 94080 3030 Orchard Parkway
650.837.2000 San Jose, CA 95134
Fax: 650.827.1560 800.527.0580
Fax: 408.953.6001

Actuate Corporation, the leader in business Business Objects is the worlds leading BI
intelligence, performance management, and software company, helping organizations gain
reporting applications, enables organizations better insight into their business, improve
to develop solutions that optimize corporate decision making, and optimize enterprise
performance. Applications built on Actuates performance. The companys business intel-
open sourcebased platform provide all ligence (BI) platform, BusinessObjects
stakeholdersinside and outside the firewall, XI, offers the industrys most advanced and
including employees, customers, partners complete platform for reporting, query and
and citizenswith information that they can analysis, performance management, and
easily access and understand to maximize enterprise information management including
revenue, cut costs, improve customer satisfac- data integration, data quality, and metadata
tion, streamline operations, create competitive management. BusinessObjects XI includes
advantage, and make better decisions. Crystal Reports, the industry standard for
enterprise reporting. Business Objects also
Actuate has more than 4,000 customers has the industrys strongest and most diverse
globally in a diverse range of business areas, partner community, with more than 3,000
including financial services and the public partners worldwide. In addition, the company
sector. Founded in 1993, Actuate has head- offers consulting and education services to
quarters in South San Francisco, California, help customers effectively deploy their busi-
with offices worldwide. Actuate is listed on ness intelligence projects.
NASDAQ under the symbol ACTU. For more
information on Actuate, visit the companys
Web site at www.actuate.com.

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collaborative consulting dataFlux corporation datallegro, inc.

70 Blanchard Road, Ste. 500 940 NW Cary Parkway, Ste. 201 85 Enterprise, 2nd Floor
Burlington, MA 01803 Cary, NC 27513 Aliso Viejo, CA 92656
781.565.2600 877.846.3589 949.330.7690
Fax: 781.565.2700 Fax: 919.447.3100 Fax: 949.330.7691
info@collaborativeconsulting.com www.dataflux.com info@datallegro.com
www.collaborativeconsulting.com sales@dataflux.com www.datallegro.com

Collaborative Consulting is a leading profes- DataFlux enables organizations to analyze, DATAllegro v3 is the industrys most
sional services organization that specializes in improve, and control their data through advanced data warehouse appliance utiliz-
optimizing its clients business and technology an integrated technology platform. With ing an all-commodity platform. By combining
capabilities. We combine exceptional business DataFlux enterprise data quality and data DATAllegros patent-pending software with the
knowledge and market-leading technol- integration products, organizations can more industrys leading hardware, storage, and data-
ogy expertise with an effective partnership effectively and efficiently build a unified view base technologies, DATAllegro has taken data
approach, allowing us to understand and solve of customers, products, suppliers, or any warehouse performance, reliability, and inno-
even the most complex business problems. other corporate data asset. A wholly owned vation to the next level. DATAllegro v3 goes
And, by aligning business and technology ini- subsidiary of SAS (www.sas.com), DataFlux beyond the low cost and high performance
tiatives, we can help clients achieve superior, customers can rapidly assess and improve of first-generation data warehouse appliances
cost-effective business solutions. Founded in problematic data, building the foundation for and adds the flexibility and scalability that only
1999, Collaborative provides operational con- enterprise data governance. Effective data gov- a commoditized platform can offer.
sulting, program management, data services, ernance delivers high-quality information that
and technology services for clients across the can fuel successful enterprise efforts such as Whether you have a few terabytes of user data
U.S., with headquarters in Burlington, MA. risk management, operational efficiency, and or hundreds, DATAllegros data warehouse
Collaboratives Web site is: www.collaborative- master data management (MDM). To learn appliances deliver a fast, flexible, and afford-
consulting.com. more about DataFlux, visit www.dataflux.com. able solution that allows a companys data to
grow at the pace of its business.

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esri Fast iBm corporation

380 New York Street 117 Kendrick Street 1 New Orchard Road
Redlands, CA 92373 Needham MA 02494 Armonk, NY 10504-1722
909.793.2853 888.871.3839 1.800.IBM.4YOU
Fax: 909.307.3046 Fax: 781.304.2410
gisbi@esri.com info@fastsearch.com
www.esri.com www.fastsearch.com

Since 1969, ESRI has been giving custom- FAST creates the real-time search and busi- IBM is the worlds leading IT provider. For
ers around the world the power to think and ness intelligence solutions that are behind the nearly a century IBM has been enabling
plan geographically. As the leader in GIS, scenes at the worlds best-known companies companies to make better informed decisions
ESRI applies innovative technologies to help with the most demanding information chal- by helping businesses to generate, manage,
organizations create, analyze, and visual- lenges. FASTs flexible and scalable integrated and extend their enterprise data warehouse.
ize information for more informed decisions. technology platform and personalized portal By combining world-class database software,
ESRI software is used in more than 300,000 connects users, regardless of medium, to the information integration, master data manage-
organizations worldwide, including each of relevant information they need. ment, analytics, Web services and more, IBM
the 200 largest cities in the United States, is now helping organizations move beyond tra-
most national governments, and more than ditional data warehousing approaches toward
two-thirds of Fortune 500 companies. Only dynamic warehousingthe next evolution in
ESRI provides complete technical solutions data warehousing. A dynamic warehousing
for desktop, mobile, server, and Internet plat- approach makes it easier for IT organizations
forms. ESRIs Web site is: www.esri.com to support business requirements for action-
able informationnot just data, but all types
of information with intelligence behind it to
help people take action and make decisions.

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informatica corporation information Builders microsoft corporation

100 Cardinal Way Two Penn Plaza One Microsoft Way
Redwood City, CA 94063 New York, NY 10121-2898 Redmond, WA 98052
650.385.5000 212.736.4433 425.882.8080
800.653.3871 Fax: 212.967.6406 Fax: 425.936.7329
Fax: 650.385.5500
askinfo@ibi.com www.microsoft.com/BI

Informatica Corporation delivers data integra- Information Builders created the industrys Founded in 1975, Microsoft is the worldwide
tion software and services to solve a problem most widely deployed business intelligence leader in software, services, and solutions that
facing most large organizations: the frag- solution and is the leader in real-time opera- help people and businesses realize their full
mentation of data across disparate systems. tional reporting. The WebFOCUS business potential. Microsoft Business Intelligence is a
Informatica helps organizations gain greater intelligence platform, the companys flagship complete, fully integrated offering, enabling
business value from their information assets product, has the architecture, integration, all decision makers to drive increased busi-
by integrating their enterprise data. Informati- and simplicity to permeate every level of the ness performance at strategic, tactical, and
cas open, platform-neutral software reduces extended enterprise. It is the most scalable, operational levels. Microsoft BI enhances the
costs, speeds time to results, and scales to secure, and flexible solution in the market performance of all employees by providing reli-
handle data integration projects of any size or and helps organizations build applications able access to information they need to make
complexity. With a proven 13-year track record that have no barriers. Information Builders informed decisions and respond appropriately
of success, Informatica helps companies and is the only vendor with its own complete to changing conditions that impact their busi-
government organizations of all sizes realize integration solution. ness. With Microsoft Business Intelligence,
the full business potential of their enterprise you can take advantage of your informa-
data. Thats why Informatica is known as the iWay Softwares ability to seamlessly tion assets, create competitive advantages,
data integration company. integrate with WebFOCUS enables unrivaled improve customer satisfaction, and make well-
information access. informed decisions. Visit www.microsoft.com/
BI for more information.
Information Builders award-winning technol-
ogy provides quality software and superior
services to more than 12,000 customers,
including most of the Fortune 100 and U.S.
federal government agencies. Headquartered
in New York City with 90 offices worldwide,
the company employs 1,600 people and has
more than 350 business partners.

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microstrategy oracle corporation pentaho corporation

1861 International Drive World Headquarters 5950 Hazeltine National Drive, Ste. 340
McLean, VA 22102 500 Oracle Parkway Orlando, FL 32822
703.848.8600 Redwood Shores, CA 94065 407.812.6736
Fax: 703.848.8610 650.506.7000 Fax: 407.517.4575
info@microstrategy.com www.oracle.com communityconnection@pentaho.org
www.microstrategy.com sales@pentaho.org

MicroStrategy is a global leader in business Oracles business is informationhow to Pentaho provides a full spectrum of open
intelligence (BI) technology. Founded in 1989, manage it, use it, share it, protect it. For source business intelligence (BI) capabilities,
MicroStrategy provides integrated reporting, nearly three decades, Oracle (NASDAQ: including reporting, analysis, dashboards, data
analysis, and monitoring software that helps ORCL), the worlds largest enterprise software mining, data integration, and a BI platform,
leading organizations worldwide make better company, has provided software and services that have made it the worlds most popular
business decisions every day. Companies that enable organizations to get the most open source BI suite. Formed by a highly expe-
choose MicroStrategy for its advanced techni- accurate and up-to-date information from their rienced team of industry veterans, Pentaho
cal capabilities, sophisticated analytics, and business systems. Today, Oracle has more has a mission to bring innovative, high quality
superior data and user scalability. than 275,000 customersincluding 98 of the technology and professional support to the BI
Fortune 100in more than 145 countries. market. Pentaho uses a revolutionary approach
With thousands of customer successes and to development, distribution, and support,
a reputation for innovation and leadership, made possible by an open source business
MicroStrategy is the clear choice for your model. Pentaho is the primary sponsor and
business intelligence requirements. More owner of popular open source projects includ-
information about MicroStrategy is available at ing Mondrian, JFreeReport, Kettle, and Weka.
www.microstrategy.com. Pentahos technologies support a wide range of
business initiatives from sales and profitability
analysis to customer analysis, HR reporting,
financial reporting, KPI dashboards, supply
chain analytics, and operational reporting.

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portrait software sap spss inc.

125 Summer Street, 16th Floor 3999 West Chester Pike 233 South Wacker Drive, 11th Floor
Boston, MA 02110 Newtown Square, PA 19073 Chicago, IL 60606
617.457.5200 800.872.1727 312.651.3000
Fax: 617.457.5299 Fax: 312.651.3668
marlene.jaworski@portraitsoftware.com www.spss.com

Portrait Software is a global provider of cus- SAP is the worlds leading provider of busi- SPSS Inc. (Nasdaq: SPSS) is a leading global
tomer interaction optimization software that ness software. More than 41,200 customers in provider of predictive analytics software and
makes every interaction count. more than 120 countries run SAP applica- solutions. The companys predictive analyt-
tionsfrom distinct solutions addressing the ics technology improves business processes
Our software is used by large organizations to needs of small and midsize enterprises to suite by giving organizations forward visibility for
deliver great customer service and to dramati- offerings for global organizations. Powered decisions made every day. By incorporating
cally improve customer revenues, profitability, by the SAP NetWeaver platform to drive predictive analytics into their daily operations,
and loyalty by applying insight and intelligent innovation and enable business change, SAP organizations become Predictive Enterprises
decisioning at the point of customer interac- software helps enterprises of all sizes around able to direct and automate decisions to meet
tion. the world improve customer relationships, business goals and achieve a measurable
enhance partner collaboration and create competitive advantage. More than 250,000
Portrait Software offers applications and solu- efficiencies across their supply chains and public sector, academic, and commercial
tions to optimize these customer interactions to: business operations. SAP solution portfolios customers rely on SPSS technology to help
support the unique business processes of increase revenue, reduce costs, and detect
Deliver a differentiated customer service more than 25 industries, including high tech, and prevent fraud. Founded in 1968, SPSS is
retail, financial services, healthcare, and the headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. For more
Increase profitable sales public sector. With subsidiaries in more than information, please visit www.spss.com.
50 countries, the company is listed on sev-
Retain profitable customers eral exchanges, including the Frankfurt stock
exchange and NYSE under the symbol SAP.
Identify and prevent fraud (Additional information is at www.sap.com.)

Manage debt and risk

Comply consistently with regulations

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sybase syncsort incorporated tata consultancy services

One Sybase Drive 50 Tice Boulevard Air-India Building, 11th Floor Nariman Point
Dublin, CA 94568 Woodcliff Lake, NJ 07677 Mumbai 400 021
925.236.5000 201.930.9700 India
Fax: 201.930.8282 +91.22.6750.9999
Fax: +91.22.6750.9344

Sybase is the largest global enterprise software Syncsort Incorporated is a leading developer Tata Consultancy Services is an IT services,
company exclusively focused on managing of high-performance storage management and business solutions, and outsourcing orga-
and mobilizing information from the data data warehousing software. For more than nization that delivers real results to global
center to the point of action, providing open, 35 years, Syncsort has built a reputation for businesses, ensuring a level of certainty
cross-platform solutions that securely deliver superior product performance and reliable no other firm can match. TCS offers a
information anytime, anywhereenabling cus- technical support. An independent market consulting-led, integrated portfolio of IT and
tomers to create an information edge. Sybase research firm named Syncsort as one of the IT-enabled services delivered through its
addresses the need for business intelligence top data warehouse 100 vendors seven years unique Global Network Delivery Model, rec-
and data warehousing with world-class in a row. More than 90 percent of the ognized as the benchmark of excellence in
data modeling, ultrahigh-speed business Fortune 100 companies are Syncsort custom- software development.
analytics, and comprehensive data integra- ers, and Syncsorts products are used in more
tion technologies. Maximize the potential of than 50 countries to back up and protect data A part of the Tata Group, Indias largest indus-
your information assets and achieve better in distributed environments, speed data ware- trial conglomerate, TCS has more than 94,000
intelligence capabilities with Sybase IQ, Pow- house processing, and improve performance of the worlds best-trained IT consultants in 47
erDesigner, and our Data Integration Suite. in applications with high data volumes. countries. The company generated consoli-
When businesses get serious about business dated revenues of $4.3 billion (U.S. dollars)
intelligence and data warehousing, they get for fiscal year ended March 31, 2007 and is
Sybase. Visit www.sybase.com. listed on the National Stock Exchange and
Bombay Stock Exchange in India. For more
information, visit us at www.tcs.com.

WHAT WORKS in enterprise bi Volume 24 75

aBOut tDwi

About TDWI

TDWI, a division of 1105 media, MEMBERSHIP ONSITE COURSES

is the premier provider of in-depth, www.tdwi.org/membership www.tdwi.org/onsite

high-quality education and research Through TDWI Membership, business intel- TDWI Onsite brings TDWI courses to customer
ligence and data warehousing professionals sites and offers training for all experience
in the business intelligence and
learn about the latest trends in the industry levels. Everyone involved gains a common
data warehousing industry. Starting while enjoying a unique opportunity to learn, knowledge base and learns in support of the
network, share ideas, and respond as a collec- same corporate objectives. Training can be tai-
in 1995 with a single conference,
tive whole to the challenges and opportunities lored to meet specific business needs and can
TDWI is now a comprehensive in the industry. incorporate organization-specific information.

resource for industry information

TDWI Membership includes more than 5,000
and professional development Members who are business and information CERTIFIED
opportunities. TDWI sponsors and
technology professionals from Fortune 1000 BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE
corporations, consulting organizations, and PROFESSIONAL (CBIP)
promotes quarterly World Confer- governments in 45 countries. TDWI offers spe-
cial Membership packages for corporate Team
ences, regional seminars, onsite
Members and students. Convey your experience, knowledge, and
courses, a worldwide membership expertise with a credential respected by
employers and colleagues alike. CBIP is an
program, business intelligence
WORLD CONFERENCES exam-based certification program that tests
certification, resourceful publica- www.tdwi.org/conferences
industry knowledge, skills, and experience
within five areas of specializationproviding
tions, industry news, an in-depth
TDWI World Conferences provide a unique the most meaningful and credible certification
research program, and a compre- opportunity to learn from world-class instruc- available in the industry.
tors, participate in one-on-one sessions with
hensive Web site (www.tdwi.org).
industry gurus, peruse hype-free exhibits, and
network with peers. Each six-day conference WEBINAR SERIES
features a wide range of content that can help www.tdwi.org/education/Webinars
business intelligence and data warehousing
professionals deploy and harness business TDWI Webinars deliver unbiased information
intelligence on an enterprisewide scale. on pertinent issues in the business intel-
ligence and data warehousing industry. Each
live Webinar is roughly one hour in length and
SEMINAR SERIES includes an interactive question-and-answer
session following the presentation.

TDWI Seminars offer a broad range of courses

focused on the skills and techniques at the
heart of successful business intelligence
and data warehousing implementations.
The small class sizes and unique format of
TDWI Seminars provide a high-impact
learning experience with significant student-
teacher interactivity. TDWI Seminars are
offered at locations throughout the United
States and Canada.

76 WHAT WORKS in enterprise bi Volume 24

t D w i pa r t n E r m E m B E r s

TDWI Partner Members

These solution providers have

joined TDWI as special Partner
members and share TDWIs strong
commitment to quality and con-
tent in education and knowledge
transfer for business intelligence
and data warehousing.

WHAT WORKS in enterprise bi Volume 24 77

Volume 24

IN enterprise business intelligence

1201 monster Road SW

Suite 250
Renton, WA 98057


4 WHAT WORKS in enterprise bi Volume 24