Maurice Berdugo, Managing Partner at BP Analytics:
The best business intelligence tool in my opinion is Oracle’s OBIEE tool. It has a huge customer base, growing in popularity and is backed by Oracle that is investing heavily in the product.
Why I like the product is that it is:
- Extremely Flexible
- Has a tool for report writing and Dashboards
- Has a much better “bug reporting” system than other BI tools.
- You can set Log Levels and it will show you exactly where the problem is in the code.
- Adding complex formulas can be done at the RPD layer and you don’t have to be a coder for that.
- There are bug fixes and updates every month or so..so the tool is getting better and better
- Costs the same or maybe even a drop less then Cognos/BO
Today’s fast-paced business environment demands frequent critical decision-making at all levels of an organization. Oracle Business Intelligence (BI) provides decision makers real-time access to enterprise information residing in data silos. The Oracle BI Analytics tool provides business leaders with the competitive edge needed to make rapid, well-informed decisions.
With the evolution of Oracle E-Business Suite (EBS), R12 drives superior value in all product areas and provides new business advantages over the competition. Core Services provides best-in-class Oracle consulting and hosting services to leverage EBS’ advances, including expanded functionality, scalability, usability and lower cost of ownership.
Oracle Business Intelligence drives the decision in many organizations to upgrade. When implementing or upgrading to EBS R12, the number one challenge most companies face is how to generate reports needed to get the job done effectively and efficiently. The following provides the management conference room questions and discussions Core Services recently completed with a client and outlines the strategy ultimately implemented.
Key Questions to Consider Prior to an ERP Upgrade/Implementation:
- Migrating legacy data to a new EBS implementation is hard, time consuming and expensive. In some cases, data is needed but can be relevant for a short time period only and then never looked at again. Should one spend the next couple of months cleansing and migrating short-lived data over to EBS or is there a more effective strategy?
- In this case, when reviewing the list of potential EBS users, Core Services discovered that 30 percent were infrequent users who required ERP “read only access.” Can BI help to mitigate licensing costs in the event a user simply needs to retrieve data for a report?
- The company needed a reporting environment to be extremely agile and flexible. New reporting hierarchies and customized calculations were required for management KPI- and Dashboard-based reporting. Should additional customizations be made in the ERP or in the Data Warehouse?
- The company was on an aggressive growth plan. How quickly could the Data Warehouse scale to meet the company’s thirst for additional data?
- Some reports generated out of EBS were unformatted (Notepad) or required extensive massaging to make them ready for management. How will BI eliminate time wasted generating these reports?
Factors that Influenced Management Decision:
- Costs: Driving the decision was management’s desire to minimize costs while maximizing return on investment. Management and Core Services determined that the cost of cleansing/scrubbing all the legacy historical data could not be justified. The Data Warehouse seemed the more appropriate location to “house” historical legacy data and merge it with the new data extracted out of EBS.
- Manual vs. Strategic: Management knew that manually-created reports consumed far too much company time and resources. The Data Warehouse solution empowered employees to quickly and easily generate the reports, thus freeing up time for data analysis.
- Not Too Many Changes at Once: Keeping in mind that employees were being completely retrained as they migrated from an old legacy ERP to EBS, management wanted to minimize the amount of change. The question posed to Core Services was, can the reports/calculations operate in the same way as before? Can there be consistency in using the same acronyms and company definitions/terminology to minimize the learning curve?
- Scalability: Because management saw acquisitions as an integral part of the growth strategy, the Data Warehouse solution had to enable a rapid deployment and minimize the transfer of large Excel files via email.
Core Services created three reporting schemas (legacy, EBS and a merged schema of legacy and EBS data) concurrently as the EBS modules were being developed, tested and implemented.
The project was completed in six months with canned reports built for Finance, Marketing, Customer Service and Operations. Advanced users utilized Data Cubes for ad-hoc reporting.
The company saved money by eliminating unnecessary user licenses. For the occasional “read only access” user a number of canned and cube-based reports were developed.
After vetting and validation, the Data Warehouse was such a success, providing a high comfort level among the users, that Core Services extended the Data Warehouse by developing customized applications, such as an advanced forecasting modeling application utilizing data from within the Data Warehouse.
With the expectation of acquisitions, Master Data Management became a key component of the Data Warehouse. Changing the data in a centralized system was easier and more cost than managing change at multiple locations all over the world.
Today, the Data Warehouse is integrated into the very of the company’s operations and has proven to save a tremendous amount of time and money and provide the optimal “tool” to help users get their jobs done As the project neared completion, the Core Services team felt a real sense of accomplishment when they walked the hallways and saw so many computer screens smoothly running BI generated reports.
About BP Analytics
BP Analytics is a software development company specializing in developing; reports, analytics and business application development. Our team of hand picked Analyst’s, database developers and programmers work closely with you to understand your business requirements and develop software solutions that addresses your needs. We are extremely cost conscience and deliver software solutions that are within your budget.
Change is always hard on a business, and this is especially true when it comes time to migrating from an old, familiar software product to a newer and advanced software package. The success of a software migration project typically hinges on Winding a System Integrator (SI), that can; understand your business challenges, install the new software yet keep the company’s core values and processes intact.
By definition System Integrators (SI’s) are essentially consultants who specialize in installing, configuring, customizing and training your organization on the new software.
1 – In Depth Technical and Business Knowledge
Major software implementation projects invariably run into problems. It’s not anyone’s fault! You’re just dealing with a lot of moving parts, complex code, while still trying to run your day‐to‐day operation…watch out! For this reason alone, we recommend that you identify an SI partner that has a referenceable track record with the software, and exemplified situations in which they made smart decisions to problems as they arose. For example, you want an SI that can look at a software bug and know how to tackle the problem quickly.
2 – Your Advocate
During your SI vetting process, search for an integrator that has a solid track record and whose professional opinion you can value. Remember that the SI will effectively become your business partner for the duration of the project. For example, the SI should match the overall long‐term vision of the company with the software needed to support it. They should also validate important items such as; “calling out” hidden costs that often are buried in the details. Ideally, the SI you select will be on your side – advocating for the best deal overall not just one that runs up their hourly billable time.
3 – Milestones and Accountability
Before beginning the project, draw out important target dates and expected deliverables from the SI. This will set expectations on both sides beyond a “good faith policy.”
The clearer the goals are defined, the less chance of misinterpretation on both sides. The SI should be able to review the timelines and if agreed upon, break up the project into “phases” and tangible deliverables.
4 – The Cookie-Cutter Approach Just Doesn’t Work
All SI partners have the capacity to install the software and train your organization to use it. That’s the easy part! If you are re‐engineering many processes to accommodate a software package, something is probably going wrong in the project, or you have the wrong SI. Keep in mind, how you do things on a day‐to‐day basis are inherent to your corporate culture and is your competitive advantage!
5 – Documentation
Every project will create its own set of unique problems and solutions that are above and beyond the standard User Guide. Our advice is that before the SI concludes their work; have them provide a reference document while it’s still fresh in your mind. It’s tedious work, but can save your co‐workers a lot of “stress” down the road.
In short, a main driver of purchasing new software is to help run your business more smoothly with fewer long term costs. However, overall success in materializing your software investment depends on finding an SI that is motivated to work hard and is aligned to your corporate goals.
BP Analytics offers the complete solution for your Data Warehouse / Business Intelligence requirements including modeling, developing the backend and front-end reports. Our breadth and knowledge of data warehouse development has crossed all spectrum’s of businesses, from multi-billion, multi-country, Data Warehouses to highly constrained Data Warehouses for start ups. BP Analytics’ senior team of developers are amongst the best and can develop Data Warehouses from the ground up using proven data modeling methodologies. We provide a hard to find asset: expertise.
BP Analytics offers the following services:
- Data Warehouse Architecture
- Proof of Concept
- Data Warehouse Design
- Data Warehouse Development
- Database Optimization
- Bringing in external data sources and merging with existing data
- API Integration
- Custom ETL Extraction
- Fixing a previous bad implementation
- Reworking ‘broken’ reports
- Code review and “cleaning” of the code
- OBIEE Training and Report Writing
- Business Objects Training and Report Writing
- Extend the Data Warehouse beyond reporting
BP Analytics has strong expertise with Oracle EBS Data Warehouse Development:
- Supply Chain
- Oracle Manufacturing
- Oracle Contacts
- Oracle Trade Funding
- Noetix Views/Analytics
- OBIEE Implementation>/Analytics
- Business Objects
- Creating Customized ETL and Data Integration
- Oracle/SQL Server Database Optimization
Doing it right from the beginning is essentially the difference between a Successful Data Warehouse and a failed project. For more information on how we can provide you your ideal solution please contact BP Analytics today.
A Data Warehouse is needed when:
Excel or Access cannot meet your reporting needs.
- Too much data for Excel or Access to handle
- The level of sophistication/complexity that you require for your reports is more complex that what you can do in Excel/Access
You are wasting too much time building reports.
A data warehouse can be something simple at a very low cost solution or one that runs the IRS. The point being how much time are you spending on developing the reports vs having it automated for you which is among the primary objectives of a Data Warehouse.
Number of data sources are many.
Do you have to pull data for your reports from one source or many? Do you have to copy data manually or can it be pulled in automatically for you. If you have pull data from a number of sources (each case is different) then a Data Warehouse makes sense. Imagine you pay for an employee to copy and paste data from one report to another all day long? A Data Warehouse automates it.
Assurance of Reports is critical.
A final point to consider when looking at creating data warehouse. If your employee (s) leaves the company are you able to assure that the reports being created manually will work? If you need the reports regardless of the cost, then a data warehouse is the way to go.