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Breaking down information silos - Part 2

Posted by cloudservicesforbusiness on May 26, 2009

This was previously posted on our blogspot and has been migrated to this blog.  Enjoy! – The Vorsite Team


Let’s continue…

Forgot to mention I took over mid-project. By then, the customer has agreed to leave direct data integration out of the project scope and adopt a POC approach to see if we could surface the data. That certainly made life easier.

As we dived deeper and found out more about how the business users created and consumed the reports, we discovered that another BI Project was running in parallel. So, the question is: “Why Vorsite?” BI is not our core competency and we have been upfront to the customers. However, we are experts in hooking MOSS up to Enterprise Content Management systems so we understand how important it is for end users to go to a single point of entry to access the information they need to do their jobs. After all, the biggest pain point (for the existing desktop tool) was the multiple source/location/copy of the “same” reports.

So, we really need to deliver a solution which will be perceived as value-add as well as make sure that it is scalable and extensible.

The first Excel report contained the group's overall financial report. PerformancePoint Monitoring Server came into the picture. We built a couple of scorecards that provided at-a-glance insights into non-performers. These scorecards were based on flat data which has been imported into a SQL database and a cube. This addressed the need of top leadership so that they could take actions. Depending on needs, we planned to add analytic reports/graphs to present the data in different views in future phase(s).
For the Business Unit Managers, they needed details and made profit center accountable.

In order for profit center managers to follow the money trail, we needed to integrate the second set of Excel reports which were pulling data directly from a cube owned by a different group. We decided to use Excel Services and create an Excel Services report in the Dashboard Designer. There was no reason to rebuild something which worked plus we did not have write access to the cube to manipulate the hierarchy of the dimensions and produce an analytic report with all the columns our customers wanted to see.

Finally, we created a page in MOSS. When I saw the PerformancePoint Dashboard item Web Part, I honestly thought that was the coolest thing ever existed. A fellow colleague who is a developer will probably yell at me for simplifying the complexity in pulling everything together but it really did seem easy: just add and drop the filter, scorecards and reports you need! (That’s definitely the PM talking.)

Thanks to the hard work of a dedicated team, the above was successfully pushed out to production. We generated so much excitement in the super user group that we were approached to look into how we could convert an Excel forecast management tool into a web-based tool and integrate that into the new platform!

Previouly Posted by Pui Chee Chan

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