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Friday, February 01, 2013

Understanding the natural flow of the BI Semantic Model

Today, I wanted to spend time talking through the natural flow that the BI semantic model, when followed, lays out for a customer. This is a very important topic to understand, and one that helps build out a System of Engagement for clients. In a recent post, I talked to the important point of Data Ownership. Now taking that into consideration, we can start to shape a real BI story for customers with the BI Semantic model approach.

In the past, IT departments would be tasked with Report Development that created a seemingly never ending loop. This undesired loop, would create scope and scope creep for reporting needs that never seemed to get truly fulfilled. The users where unhappy with this, as well as the IT pro's trying to solve the business needs. The major issue in that caused the process to mature into a true dilemma, was that the report definition, the questions to be asked, was unavoidably placed in the wrong hands. This goes back to the point of data ownership, and further giving the ability of the users that own and know the data, secure access to form the questions and creating the reporting elements to empower their business.

This is where Personal BI, from the BISM, comes into play. You see, when the questions are well known and report execution needs scale then we have great candidates for Organizational BI artifacts. That is, the data elements are well known for what should be measured and how such data elements should be sliced & diced for user consumption. Getting to that point however, is the goal and beauty of true Personal BI processes and artifacts.

Enter PowerPivot! It's ability to consume mass amounts of data, and truly help create star like schema's with ease, enabling power users to work with the data they own is unmatched. It's simplicity and power, help enable elegant BI artifact creation, through a similar look and feel via Office & Excel. This is where users can easily be truly empowered to securely work with their data from Microsoft Dynamics AX as well as other LOB application data. IT departments give this secure access to users, which helps address concerns of data integrity, while users can then form the questions that should be asked, that drive true business insight.

Having this starting point, users can further be enabled to engage their team via SharePoint for true collaboration, or Team BI. PowerPivot and office are not the tools that can be used to generate valid & valuable personal BI artifacts. Other outputs can be produced, scheduled and consumed via SharePoint. This in turn helps feed into the Role Centers that engage the user based, and starts the flow from Personal to Organizational BI within an organization.

Once published to SharePoint, teams can start sharing and collaborating on BI artifacts that drive critical business decision. Further, this is the intersection to where the IT department, via SharePoint tools, can become aware of Team BI artifacts that need to scale for the entire company. These Team BI artifacts, that have now been vetted and in full use, give the IT department known questions that need to be answered, and give them insight into how the business is needing to use their data.

Here we enter into the Organizational BI artifact creation, that is fueled by Personal BI artifacts. Through the use of SharePoint technology, IT Departments can be given insights into the use of such collaborative BI needs and use such artifacts as the starting point and guide for scaling out such data needs. This is where true cube creation, for analytical reporting can start from a PowerPivot artifact. Where IT departments and end users are no longer caught in a viscous cycle of report development madness. Instead they are both empowered through the adoption and use of the BI Semantic Model, and it's natural flow from Personal, to Team and through to Organizational BI needs.

This then allows a cycle for the users that own the data, to help form the questions, that ultimately power Organizational business insight and eventual scale for the company. Allowing a satisfied user base, and an IT department that helps put a companies data to work for them. This is all very possible for Microsoft Dynamics AX customers. If your interested in finding out more, let me show you how my team at Sunrise Technologies, Inc can help turn your users into fans, and create a true System of Engagement for your company!

That's all I have for this post, and this week. Check back soon as more to come, and as I make my move starting today as Director of Business Intelligence for Sunrise Technologies! Till Next Time!
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