Insight is key to your business’s success; the more accessible, readable and quick to interpret, the better. This level of actionable information is just as important within Business Intelligence (BI) teams about the very BI systems they are using as it is elsewhere in your business.
When you are a part of a global business with a large number of regions, multiple queries and reports, endless numbers of end users, performance KPIs, delivery targets and utilisation targets, what is the true value of getting a transparent view into your BI system? Some of this information may already be accessible, but probably through analysts bringing in monthly or quarterly stats.
The easier and faster way to visualise this data is on an SAP tool like Design Studio or Lumira with effective drilldowns and analysis into the health of your system, productivity of your users and effectiveness of delivery. Imagine a scenario where a BI manager can wake up, look at a phone or tablet, and get a transparent view into their BI world, where high-level stats and RAG statuses (Red, Amber, Green traffic light rating system) are clearly displayed, with the ability to take a deep dive should there be a need.
“How many users are currently running which reports in my system on a monthly basis?”
“Can I view this information by report, slice and dice by function and region?”
Knowing what your users are up to is pretty important, however high-level detail can only get you so far. Drilling down and understanding which areas have the lowest utilisation rates brings you a step closer to the answer you require. A good dashboard should provide you with less analysis time and more action time; get answers sooner and find out what issues may be resulting in low adoption so you can remedy the situation faster.
No doubt, there is value in knowing how your system is doing. Being able to predict ahead of time when your system may topple over could be a crucial factor in saving money and time. In addition to this, you can monitor report runtime - perhaps over a specific time period to analyse any drop in performance. Data load time could also be monitored creating efficiencies and driving down costs around batch management.
I’m sure most BI managers, IT managers and CIOs have a view of what is in the pipeline in their company for their BI teams, however the management and tracking of multiple projects can be tricky.
The initial question is: what has gone live into production and was it on time? This way you can stay on top of projects and know when expected go-lives are happening so that reminders and chasers can be sent. In addition to this, it is a good way to monitor performance and provide resources and support where necessary. Speed to market is incredibly important; end users getting information when they need it is ‘gold’. Looking at market request dates vs delivery should give a clear indication of how this is running.
Lastly, change requests can pile up in BI and keeping ahead of these with high-level indicators of how many there are by report, function and region means that we can keep on top of them and utilise the data correctly to get answers around where the problems lie.
You have the data… use it!
There is a vast amount of available data in SAP Warehouse BW and SAP HANA that can tell you about the health of your system and how it is used. Whatever the process is around delivery and BI in your company, it is always documented in Excel or using a system like HPQC, so there is available data here too. This data can be incredibly useful to get ahead of the game before you experience delivery, system or adoption woes.
Is this a nice-to-have?
It is always tempting to let your system run day-to-day in a ‘business as usual’ mind-set. Periodically, analysts will have a dig into the back-end or investigate the process data to deliver some answers into what’s going on.
However, with a Dashboard or Scorecard view and drilldown analysis, it is possible to see why things are changing and therefore look at how to resolve them. This empowers more senior resources to get answers and, more importantly, actions, fast. The value in this can be vast when you are looking at a global BI solution.
Finally, it can avoid massive expenditures in the future, many of which I’ve seen first-hand on client sites, for example: change requests piling up, poor system performance unable to handle data quantity and low user adoption around BI. With clear commercial wins behind such tools, they can easily be put from the ‘nice-to-have’ to ‘need to have’ pile.