In our previous blog, ‘Just get the job done’, we looked at how you should stop obsessing about tools and procedures and focus instead on serving your customers. We argued that a ‘good enough’ solution can trump a theoretically perfect one if it can adequately resolve a situation in the correct time frame. We also accepted that in the real world, organisations end up using a mishmash of different Business Intelligence (BI) tools due to legacy systems, personal preferences and general expediency.
This time round, we’re going to explain why this situation – as chaotic as it might first appear – can be made efficient, comfortable and, ultimately, deliver the insights and analysis that your organisation needs.
Working with what you’ve got
So if, like many, you operate with multiple enterprise BI platforms, how do you go about making that work for you? Well, you could do nothing and just carry on dealing with different people getting different answers to the same question by using different tools on possibly different, isolated sets of data. Obviously, we’re not recommending that one!
Or you could try to replace your numerous existing BI tools into a single one, although such complete consolidation does run the risk of alienating everyone who’s been forced to change. It also assumes that a single tool exists to solve all problems for all people, which might not be the case at all.
Which brings us to our third, preferred, option – to rationalise all existing BI platforms so that they work in harmony. In this way, they can deliver fast and insightful analysis by all operating under the same rules and from the same source of verified data, while at the same time giving staff the freedom and flexibility to use different tools and create new rules for emerging situations.
This integration of BI platforms at the BI layer of your architectural information stack is what Forrester Research’s BI expert Boris Evelson calls BI Fabric or BI Virtualisation. It’s basically a set of technologies that combine back-end integration with front-end visualisations in order to create insights from multiple BI tools.
The automation of this data-to-insights process is what lies at the heart of Discovery Hub® from TimeXtender. Not just ETL, not just data modeling but a single tool that ties everything together so that data warehouse and data-to-insights automation technology combines ETL, logical and physical data modeling with multiple BI platforms.
In this way, while individuals can still use their preferred BI tool, as an organisation, you are no longer dealing with multiple metadata repositories. With TimeXtender, you have single metadata repository which automatically generates consistent but multiple BI semantic layers.
Staying in control doesn’t have to mean anything as drastic as tearing everything down and starting again. With TimeXtender, goals can be achieved and control applied with your existing range of BI tools, without resorting to tearing out all your existing systems and starting again.