Does Agile Work for Data Warehousing?

Agile Data Warehouse / Agile Business Intelligence

Watson Analytics

At Bow River Solutions we have used agile methodologies for many of our business analytics customers in Calgary, Edmonton and Saskatoon and across Western Canada. We have successfully delivered data warehouses and business intelligence systems using agile project management and have been witness to a variety of implementations. The big key for successfully delivering projects using agile is in the full team involvement, specifically having active stakeholders.

Rough Start

When Agile methodologies first started being applied to data warehousing and business intelligence it was a bit of a piecemeal approach of trying to make a system designed for programming fit for IT projects that typically spanned the better part of a year or multiple years. It has been worth the effort to make it work but it definitely was not a perfect fit initially.

Biggest Roadblock

The biggest holdup in trying to make Agile fit with data warehousing was in being able to show something of value in a short period of time like a typical 2 week iteration. This required a different vision of what was of value – where sometimes a new table was of value and had to be displayed during an iteration. But also this required a different approach to the whole project where reporting was not tacked on the end but added in right from the start so stakeholders could see the end result right from the beginning – even if that iteration simply delivered one dimension into the data warehouse and right through to the reporting interface for stakeholders to see, touch and feel.

Biggest Failure

Delivering value in a short iteration was probably the biggest holdup to agile methodologies but the biggest failure was in lack of stakeholder involvement. We have had projects that have tried to go with an agile approach and did succeed in the short iterations. These projects succeeded in tracking their overall progress and could quantitatively show the success of the approach. Problem was they did this all without a highly involved stakeholder. These projects can still succeed but the overall team moral tends to be low. There’s that feeling of “it doesn’t really matter”. When an involved stakeholder is present at scrum meetings and is actively waiting for the incremental deliverable at the end of the iteration there is an excitement that really can’t be built in any other way. This is when the real success of agile data warehousing and business intelligence can be seen and felt and everyone has a vested interest in the project success.

Agile Success

Agile methodologies have brought significant value to big data warehouse and business intelligence projects – changing the delivery significantly, and for the better. The key is to have those active stakeholders available from the start and throughout the project to achieve real success.

Ask us about what we like best about agile projects and how we can help you achieve data warehousing and business intelligence success. Give us a call  (587)-885-1090 or send us an email info@bowriversolutions.com and we can set up a meeting to review to discuss. We can meet locally in our Calgary office at 264 Midpark Way SE, in your office or via a conference call.

Data Scientist Data Analyst

So You’re Not a Data Scientist… So What!

You’re not a Data Scientist – You Don’t Need to Be!IBM Cognos Report

So you’re not a data scientist but you need more information to do your job. We can help. We have helped many customers just like you in Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, Saskatoon and Regina. Customers that have needed access to information and fast, needed to write a report without going to IT, or needed to make critical business decisions with up to date and accurate information. Even customers that had an idea to improve company performance but needed to show the numbers to prove it. This is what we live and breath…. bringing data together to show real answers, timely, and accurately.

IBM Cognos Analytics

We use IBM Cognos BI to set up systems for user self service. You no longer need to be a data scientist or an IT guru to get the answers you need. With IBM Cognos you can create your own report and have the answers at your fingertips.

DashboardYou can also start with a dashboard to see your department and then drill into more detail. This helps you answer the questions you didn’t know to ask. Why is this area outperforming the other areas? Why is this manager underperforming? Then you can get to how you can help all areas increase their performance.

If you know the data is available and you want access at your fingertips we can help. The original Business Intelligence offerings were great options that allowed for clicking and drilling down to discover more detailed information. These quickly hit limits with data volumes, performance, and availability. Years of waiting to provide easier access to business users and true self-service capabilities has paid off. There are options now that we can set up systems and have business users accessing self service reporting options within weeks of starting the project. This enables users to get answers without needing an IT background and without being a data scientist. You can now do so much more than VLookups in Excel. You can drag and drop and create your own report within minutes and re-run it in seconds or schedule it to be delivered to your inbox on a schedule that works for you. These options are so easy now we hardly think to celebrate them. But, if you’re still having to call over to the local expert to run a report for you, or you’re re-creating the same report each month, or worse you can’t get the answers you need… this can change and it doesn’t take a University degree to change it.

IBM Watson Analytics

Even better than this self service report writing capability is the cognitive analysis available now through IBM Watson Analytics. This takes natural language questions and automatically responds with data displayed suited to the question asked. This is not just a step ahead of easy self-service acces – this is a leap and bound ahead. Simply entering “tell me what my department looks like” results in several graphical displays with different ways of looking at departments. If you like what you see you can see more of the same or click to filter the display in more detail. All of this without extensive setup times or expensive software costs. This really is Advanced Analytics made Easy.

Watson Analytics

 

Watson Analytics

 

Visit: IBM Watson Analytics – Take a look and then call us today.

Find out how to use IBM Watson Analytics and see how easy it is to do your job and use Advanced Analytics without being a data scientist. Call us for a demo  (587)-885-1090 or email us at info@bowriversolutions.com. It really can be that easy to make better decisions, quickly, and more accurately… today.

 

 

Saving Time

Saving You Time

Saving Time

 

Save Time!

For over ten years we have been helping our customers in Calgary, Saskatoon, Victoria and Edmonton save time in their daily work lives. No this isn’t a get organized quick scheme; although I think we would all love if there was a magic formula for saving time and getting more things done each day, this isn’t that magic fix! Instead this is the reality of finding ways to get the information you need to do your job – faster, easier, and more accurately.

Success

We often start working with our customers and hear statements like “this report used to take me a week to compile, now it’s available at the click of a button” or “my boss just came into my office and asked for the numbers on x location – I was able to pull this up in less than twenty minutes, he didn’t even leave my office before he had an answer, that used to take days to answer”. Or another favorite is when we are first introduced to a customer and they complain of a report that takes hours to run… when even 15 minutes to run the same report would be painful. When we show them how they can get the same information in seconds they are thrilled.

Efficiency

Business Analytics. Saving you time!

Self Service Data – Information at Your Fingertips

We have used IBM Cognos Business Intelligence (BI) to pull together information in a format that makes self-service reporting and drillable dashboards a reality. IBM Cognos Workspace Advanced has been a great tool to allow users to access their data in a self-service manner; building and running their own reports. Often within weeks we can have systems in place (and growing) so business users can write their own reports and find the information that they need. We have spent years building data warehouses, reports, and dashboards for our Business Analytics customers. We are as thrilled as our customers when we hear how the systems we have set up are saving them time.

We use IBM Cognos Framework Manager to build a framework of the company data that is easy to use for business users and pulls everything into one place for greater productivity. Once the system is built then we train users and help them to make the most of the system. We will often write reports as well using IBM Cognos Report Studio to allow for accurate, pixel perfect reports that can be run quickly by end users. The combination of pre-built reports with self-service access saves our customers time and allows them easy access to information they need. No longer are they trying to re-format their own report each month in Excel, or requesting a data set to be updated so they can manipulate it into another report. Self service access to save them time.

Are you wasting time waiting for information? Give us a call at  (587)-885-1090 or email us at info@bowriversolutions.com Let’s talk. We really can find ways to save you time and make your work day more productive!

Access Manager to Active Directory

Ask us how we’re helping our customers move to Active Directory security from Access Manager for their Cognos Business Analytics environment. It can be that easy.

 

 

Give us a call at  (587)-885-1090 or email at info@bowriversolutions.com