The Right Way to Manage Multiple BI Tools

By CIOReview | Wednesday, March 8, 2017
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With the exploding data divulge, enterprises are turning to Business Intelligence (BI) tools to utilize of the data and make informed decisions. This usually begins with technology driven initiatives by IT department to build a BI systems using hardware and software. However, these systems often focus on IT driven projects rather than overall business objectives. On the other hand, business units undertake independent BI initiatives, irrespective of the IT department. As a result, the organization is left with a complex multi tool environment, which is costly to maintain. Now, enterprises are fishing for techniques to simplify their multi tool environments and maximize their benefits. For this, enterprises can either decrease the number of BI tools or sustain multi tool installation in a better way. Since these options are mutually dependant, enterprises can take other actions to manage their environments.

A major aspect for the proper functioning of a business environment is its governance. Effective governance ensures BI projects align with business objectives as well as technical initiatives, technical architecture and BI operations management. With proper governance, organizations can also follow a systematic approach to manage new BI tools.

Next, enterprises can create a business driven strategy or model to manage these tools. This begins with assessing and analyzing business requirements and the capabilities of the BI tools. Further, users need to compare the existing environment with the required model. Finally, businesses can create a plan to fill in the gaps between the updated strategy and the existing model with respect to how each BI tool is supposed to be used.

Another thing businesses can do is avoid duplication of reports being created by various tools. Since there are multiple BI tools, there are high chances of the same report being generated by other tools. In such a scenario, users can assign the repeating function to one best tool. With proper planning, reports can be moved to tools with larger users and move custom functionalities to products offering it as default features.

Also, it is essential to identify the reports that are being used currently. The outdated or old reports that are no longer in use can be eliminated to simplify the BI environment further. Here, the least or rarely used reports need to be identified, which can be a little challenging if the tools do not offer usage metrics. Similar to throwing away old reports is the next approach that involves regularly upgrading the BI tools to latest versions. Older versions have high chances of bugs that may lead to problems like slow functioning, low performance or high latency. A new version may offer an enhanced functionality; hence reducing the complexity of workarounds needs to be maintained.

Finally, consolidation of BI tools can be of great help especially if they are running on disparate server platforms. Compiling the various tools on a single platform can simplify the overall administration and maintenance as it reduces the number of server platforms to be looked after. This should be done after careful and detailed analysis of the BI infrastructure so that the selected servers have enough capacity and storage to accommodate multiple tools.

As each business is unique with different goals and objectives, they need to look for the best tools for their requirements and identify the best approach suitable for managing them. It is important to first analyze the BI environment and then link it with business goals by incorporating these steps to reduce the complexities in the infrastructure and help in successfully managing a multi BI tool environment.