SMARTER ANALYTICS

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Our client is one of the largest equipment rental companies in the world whose customer base includes construction and industrial companies, utilities, municipalities, and homeowners.

Our client was embarking on the initial deployment of their first enterprise data warehouse (EDW) with Teradata. This effort was on a very aggressive EDW and Business Intelligence deployment schedule. While planning this effort they realized that there were significant skill, organization and technology alignment gaps at the client. To address these needs they were looking to drastically change the way they use information to manage their business. They also wanted to leverage the investments in both Teradata and Cognos technologies to help enable their new information strategy. In addition, they wanted to ensure that they are making the right development choices up front to maximize the return on their technology investments.

Specific objectives of the strategy project:

  • Specific samples of how the Cognos Suite of tools will be used by the business users
  • A Security Model that addresses the needs of the client’s environment
  • The right architecture for the Cognos over Teradata solution to optimize functionality
  • A disciplined methodology for the implementation of Cognos on Teradata

HARKENDATA Solution

HARKENDATA’s approach to the BI Strategy project included multiple components documented in our proven strategy methodology. The Information/BI analysis phase was necessary to gain a knowledgeable understanding of the business needs, BI architecture and current delivery methods. In addition, this phase determined information gaps and drove the framework for the strategy project plan and BI Workshop interview sessions.

HARKENDATA conducted information sharing sessions with key business stakeholders to address all functional gaps not identified in the Information/BI Needs Analysis phase. The BI Workshop also served as an educational opportunity for the identified business stakeholders by providing them with an overview of functionality available through the client’s Cognos tool suite. This provided the stakeholders with an overview of the functionality available to them so they can begin to identify how the available BI functionality can be leveraged to empower them. HARKENDATA also provided a structured framework for aligning user’s needs/wants with current Cognos capabilities and provide clear and concise recommendations.

The Systems Analysis phase of the strategy project evaluated the existing project architecture and infrastructure supporting the current Cognos deployment. This evaluation compared the user’s functional and delivery needs to the Cognos environment’s capabilities as well as the supporting hardware. The comparison identified existing gaps and provided a recommended roadmap for scaling the BI environment to meet future needs.

Areas Evaluated

  • Existing production, test and development hardware environments
  • Production metadata and artifacts, including security, naming conventions and storage strategies
  • Cognos administrative settings
  • Supporting OLAP structures and their defined sources
  • Existing report formats, schedules, defined drill paths, prompts and delivery methods
  • Current support strategies, including operational monitoring, alerting and resolution methods

The final strategy document collected the necessary inputs to ultimately provided targeted recommendations. This document provided detailed guidance, enabling the client to realize immediate and future value on their BI investments
Benefits Client Received

This strategy engagement provided the client with the appropriate technical and organizational guidance necessary to realize immediate and future value from their investments. Specific examples of this are:

Conceptual View:

  • An illustration of how all the BI technology fits together, and assists with both the strategy definition and subsequent implementation planning
  • Defined a high-level data flow from the warehouse to the underlying data marts or OLAP structures
  • Provided a business functional view of the BI strategy in order to formalize their intention of the BI initiative
  • Defined stakeholder’s information delivery needs
  • Defined what access and delivery methods are appropriate for the specified segments of the user community
  • Defined the necessary user security model assuring the right users have access to the right functionality & data

Use Case View:

  • Provided a business functional view of the BI strategy in order to formalize their intention of the BI initiative
  • Defined stakeholder’s information delivery needs
  • Defined what access and delivery methods are appropriate for the specified segments of the user community
  • Defined the necessary user security model assuring the right users have access to the right functionality & data

Data Architecture:

  • Provided an understanding as to what data structures are to be implemented, how that data is stored in each and how the data will propagate throughout the warehouse environment
  • Defined a semantic-layer recommendation for existing and future subject areas within the warehouse

Technical Architecture:

  • Defined an optimized BI architecture for leveraging both Cognos and Teradata’s strengths
  • Outlined significant design components such as metadata storage & restore strategies, data center mirroring and defined system service level agreements

Implementation View:

  • Established guidelines necessary for building and maintaining the purposed BI structures and related technologies
  • Detailed the implementation of core development, test and production processes including support & maintenance
  • Defined BI development standards and delivery methodology

Organization View:

  • Defined the necessary roles and responsibilities needed to support BI development and support activities
  • Outlined BI Steering Committee constructed of key business and IT stakeholders and subject matter experts in addition to defining their roles and key objectives
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