Saturday, April 12, 2008

Mashup Business and IT teams to bridge Business Intelligence gaps

If you are thinking why your business teams are losing confidence in your Business Intelligence technology team, take a look at sizable backlog of analytics requests in your IT queue and you are sure to find the answer! In addition, given today’s recessions concerns it is increasingly becoming important for organizations to understand the spend trends and bend the cost trend by increasing efficiencies and reducing cost. These emerging business requirements continue to intensify business hunger for more data to only exacerbate your IT backlog issue. Can your team ever catch up with the ever-growing data needs of your business users? Relax, Enterprise Mashups are on the way for your rescue.

IBM Mashup Server:

Clearly, the real beauty of Enterprise 2.0 solutions like Mashups is in their ability to maximize overall business value by empowering each team member, including your business and IT specialists, to co-create and add incremental value towards the end solution. Especially, with IBM’s Secure Mashup Technology (Smash) announcement last month and continued investments in Mashup Hub technologies form big players, IBM and Oracle, I see a excellent opportunity for IT managers to create rapid business value in Business Intelligence area. In a nut-shell, Mashup hub technologies enable business users to create a new meaning by assembling information from two or more data feeds, created and exposed by your IT team, using drag and drop style tools. Embedded capabilities to define data feeds from popular ERP systems and legacy data sources should further enable IT teams to rapidly expose security encapsulated data feeds to the business users. So, Mashup technologies can effectively address IT backlog, capacity and requirements gaps issues in Enterprise Business Intelligence context by making your business users part of the solution instead of problem.

For example, in a enterprise context financial analysis is one area that drives the need to assemble the data from the disparate enterprise systems. To understand the cost drivers, business analysts often need to drilldown from summary cost reported in Journal to the actual transaction level data such as items, invoices, purchase orders, expenses and employee pay checks that actually originated the summary Journal entry in General Ledger system. In large organizations it’s not uncommon to have more than 50 enterprise systems feeding Journal entries into the GL system. While this cost analysis can be accommodated by building a complex data warehouse with normalized detail data from these 50+ enterprise systems and sophisticated analytical capabilities, this often require considerable amount of time and resources. In contrast, IT leads can solve the immediate needs of business users by quickly creating and exposing granular data feeds from GL and other subsystems using Mashup hub technologies. Business users can then assemble Journal summary data feed with the required subsystem feeds using the drag and drop style tools to create new meaning in a context and format that is relevant to them. Nonetheless this rapid assembly framework also relieves IT resources from the complex task of creating a model that can accommodate all the permutations of data joins that business users are requesting.

Moreover, building strategic business intelligence solution for solving complex business problems is often a multi-year large initiative that require significant amount of time and resources. In addition, the requirements in business intelligence area tend to evolve over the time as the business and IT teams continue to experiment with the data. Mashups can effectively address these challenges by providing a rapid assembly framework to address the urgent analytical needs of business users today and at the same time empowering IT and business managers with a powerful feedback mechanism to craft the long term BI strategy. On corollary, the group usage and Mashup patterns provide valuable insight into the real data and analytical needs of business users to further drive the direction, scope and road map for the strategic BI solution. So, this may the perfect time to drive operational efficiencies, co-creation and collaboration across your business and IT teams using Mashup technologies, a well tested concept in social networks.


Walter said...


Awesome insights, indeed! I have found that the theory behind BI leaves alot of transaction system users in the lurch. With jargon like dimensions, star schema, holap, molap, and rolap, its difficult to engage these users in discussions during the delivery phase of the project.

Perhaps Mashups, with their rapid assembly framework and drag and drop tools, will help bridge that gap all too soon.

Gopi Padakandla said...

Well said Walter. The beauty of Mashup I believe is in rapid value, simple to use and empowering non-tech users to equally contribute to the solution.

More than ever, the current economic conditions and business problems drive IT and Businesses teams to embrace these rapid value concepts. And I believe specialists like you are the key players in influencing businesses to reap the benefits of these innovations.

Mahesh said...

Total agree with the article, this can be new way forward, especially in the current age of shrinking IT budgets, Business can be easily empowered with the analytic information to enable quick decision making.

Gopi Padakandla said...

Thanks for the feedback Mahesh.