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Information Delivery

Improve roadmap planning process with David Bowman’s information management guidelines for information delivery assessment

This site is designed for Information Technology professionals who need to improve roadmap planning process and require guidance and direction to help teams consistently produce error free results.

It provides a checklist of information management guidelines for information delivery or business intelligence assessment.

What is Business Intelligence?

Business intelligence is the foundation for deriving business value from data warehouse assets. This architecture must facilitate whatever data analysis and reporting is required. In some cases, the architecture may require a combination of technologies to support reporting and report distribution, business intelligence, and enterprise performance management.

The following diagram depicts a typical data warehouse and business intelligence environment.

data warehouse architecture

Information management solutions are usually involved with some, or all of, the following:
  • Extracting data from operational source systems;
  • Transforming data as required to ensure consistency;
  • Loading data into a data warehouse or some form of storage optimized for efficient storage;
  • Extracting data from the data warehouse;
  • Loading departmental data marts optimized for reporting and analytics; and
  • Some form of reporting tool architecture e.g. universe design or some middle ware design to insulate users from the data warehouse.
Information is a valuable corporate asset and getting the right information, to the right people at the right time is a key management objective.

Achieving this objective requires robust technology and optimal data architecture based on industry best practices.

Information Delivery Assessment Process

Should determine the technical readiness for information management by comparing the current information delivery situation with the following checklist of information management guidelines.

Technology
  • Should support business intelligence solution design;
  • Should support business analytic requirements;
  • Should support business intelligence reporting;
  • Should support decision support requirements;
  • Should provide knowledge workers the capability of direct access to detailed data using a standardized tool suite;
  • Should not require intervention by Information Technology professionals;
  • Should provide a semantic metadata layer to allow end users to have a business view of the data which is translated for access into the underlying physical database structure by the tool;
  • Should consider allowing power users direct access to data using more advanced tools;
  • Should implement security through a combination of data and application level access controls;
  • Should consider common business intelligence tools such as Business Objects, from SAP, Cognos, from IBM, Enterprise Guide, from SAS, MicroStrategy, Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition, from Oracle, SQL Server Analysis Services, from Microsoft, and WebFocus, from IBM;
  • Should consider common data visualization and discovery tools such as Visual Analytics, from SAS, Domo, QlikView, from QlikTech, Spotfire, from TIBCO and Tableau; and
  • Should consider common data mining tools such as Enterprise Miner, from SAS, KXEN, from SAP and SPSS, from IBM.
Information Delivery Architecture
  • Should consistently meet expectations on acceptable response time e.g. within a certain number of seconds for a specific percentage of transactions;
  • Should consistently meet expectations for response time for specific queries or classes of queries;
  • Should consistently meet expectations for response times that differ based upon characteristics of the data e.g. if queries of three-year-old data do not have the same performance requirements as queries of current data, the two expectations should be stated separately;
  • Should consistently meet expectations for acceptable levels of performance for average, peak or burst load on the system e.g. load levels may be defined as follows: average, the normal amount of activity handled by the system over a given period; peak, the maximum activity handled by the system at some period during the day; or burst, the amount of activity that the system may have to handle following an abnormal event e.g. system comes back after being unavailable during peak usage period and a more than peak number of concurrent users login to the system within a one minute period;
  • Should consistently meet expectations for maximum number of concurrent users;
  • Should consistently meet expectations for minimum number of named/connected/active users to be supported by the system;
  • Should consistently meet expectations for average number of customer service support representatives;
  • Should consistently meet expectations for maximum number of customer service representatives;    
  • Should consistently meet expectations for total number of customers in the system;
  • Should consistently meet expectations for maximum number of unique customer sessions per day;
  • Should consistently meet expectations for total number of inquiry transactions processed in a day;
  • Should consistently meet expectations for minimum number of inquiry transactions per user session;
  • Should consistently meet expectations for maximum number of inquiry transactions per user session;
Methodology
  • Should support business intelligence solution design;
  • Should support business analytic requirements;
  • Should support business intelligence reporting;
  • Should support decision support requirements;
  • Should provide knowledge workers the capability of direct access to detailed data using a standardized tool suite;
  • Should not require intervention by Information Technology professionals;
  • Should provide a semantic metadata layer to allow end users to have a business view of the data which is translated for access into the underlying physical database structure by the tool;
  • Should consider allowing power users direct access to data using more advanced tools; and
  • Should implement security through a combination of data and application level access controls.
Organization
  • Should have resources accountable for solution architect roles and responsibilities
  • Should have resources accountable for business intelligence architect roles and responsibilities
  • Should have resources accountable for business analyst roles and responsibilities
  • Should have resources accountable for business intelligence developer roles and responsibilities
  • Should have resources accountable for business intelligence technical support roles and responsibilities
  • Should have resources accountable for Business Intelligence Software Administrator support roles and responsibilities
Information Delivery
  • Should maintain a history of changes and support slowly changing dimensions;
  • Should provide a semantic layer, shielding the business users from having to understand technology and IT-related terms;
  • Should include usage-monitoring reports;
  • Should be capable of logging usage data;
  • Should identify data elements in demand versus those that have become obsolete and can be removed;
  • Should proactively manage performance impact through usage governors;
  • Should provide a full range of Business Intelligence capabilities e.g. operational reporting, ad-hoc query reporting, OLAP, data mining, corporate intranet portals, corporate performance management scorecards, dashboards, etc;
  • Should include analytic applications;
  • Should define a data classification scheme, which identifies different levels of data sensitivity and the corresponding protective measures; and
  • Should provide the capability, where appropriate, for business user to “drill through” or “drill across” the various physical and logical layers in the information.
Summary...

Information delivery architecture is the foundation for deriving business value from data warehouse assets.

This site provided a checklist of information management guidelines for information delivery assessment.