In this, the 3rd part in the series of posts about the role of IT in Business Discovery (see Part 1 here and Part 2 here), I’ll explain how IT groups play a central role in ensuring that there is proper control and governance over Business Discovery deployments while ensuring that they still can continue to empower the business functions to be creative and flexible.
Part 3: Business Discovery: Providing Flexibility at the Edges while ensuring Discipline at the Core
Many IT professionals get worried at the mention of ‘Self Service’ anything. And for good reason: with limited resources, IT groups must ensure that the mission-critical systems that the organization uses are operational at all times and are providing the service they were originally provisioned for. The only way to achieve these service levels is to ensure a degree of standardization and control. For example, imagine the support nightmare if everyone in the organization was using a different email system? Or if there were 100 different operating systems to support? Standardization has ensured that businesses can run profitably for a long time.
Unfortunately, too much standardization and process can very often get in the way of the business’ legitimate needs to stay ahead of the competition and remain profitable and growing. This has led to the classic chasm between IT groups and business groups that is too prevalent today.
Business Discovery is user-enabled BI and provides a largely self-service approach for business users to interpret their data in the manner they wish so that they can remain effective in meeting the needs of the business. It allows them to ask and answer their own questions – instantly – explore and make discoveries in the data, without having to constantly return to the IT department for every new request. This is made possible because QlikView’s “app approach” uses a pre-built data model (i.e., it is not a direct query solution) meaning that business users have all the data they need for a given analysis. QlikView also provides associative data capabilities that allow users to navigate in the data in any manner possible, ensuring that they do not need to ask IT every time a new drill down path needs to be created. I encourage you to refer to the white paper “What Makes QlikView Unique” for a deeper understanding.
Successful Business Discovery implementations strike a healthy balance between the needs of the IT organization to ensure control and standardization and the business sides’ needs to remain flexible. QlikView provides a rich set of capabilities to meet the needs of IT when it comes to ensuring control, including (but not limited to):
- Multi-tiered environments, including data, application and presentation tiers
- Security integration with Active Directory and almost every single sign-n solution
- Built-in row-level security, linked to LDAP roles
- Straightforward, yet extremely powerful, automated metadata on everything from data usage/lineage, application usage, common KPIs, license usage.
- Clustered/failover environments to ensure SLA adherence
- External triggering and alerting of data reloads and application availability
- Management Services API for integration with existing IT command-and-control infrastructure
- Governance best practices for application promotion (Dev/Test/Prod), data usage, application usage
- Direct integration with SAP, Salesforce.com, Trillium, Informatica and others
- Integration with source control systems for deployment and change management
In the final part of the series, I’ll show how IT professionals can use QlikView themselves, to support them in their own decisions about systems usage, SLA monitoring, IT asset management and more.