Thursday, March 20, 2014

Query Governance and Self-Serve BI

We have seen the future of BI, and it is self-serve. The growth of BI has steadily tended away from simple, passive reporting toward engagement and interaction, and finally to providing the ability to build your own query and render it with statistical and visual impact.

SAP Lumira is a prime example of this trend. If you didn't get a chance to see Stefan Schmitz as a guest presenter for our SAP Lumira, SAP BusinessObjects Explorer, BI 4, and Self-Serve BI webinar, then you can check out the recorded webinar to see how Lumira is starting to change the way that BI users analyze, present, and consume information.

Standard reporting is a remnant of the old command and control hierarchies so common not so long ago, but we are all information workers now, and we need to be able to explore, digest, and present information in ways that help us contribute to the enterprise.

But self-serve BI is a good news/bad news story. The information consumer's liberation creates challenges for BI platform managers and administrators. To make self-serve BI work, administrators are ceding control of information and information sources to information consumers, and the administrative challenge is to maintain a robust BI system and consistent service levels while the system is receiving more information requests at different times and in different ways.

As a BI platform manager or administrator in a self-serve BI world, your objectives are clear:
  • Optimize queries
  • Optimize data connectivity
  • Foster data connectivity accountability

From these objectives flow your challenges:
  • Data connection visibility - so much of what happens in the delivery of business intelligence happens outside of your BI system, and typical BI monitoring does not account for these processes.
  • DBA dependency - even if you can identify problem queries that are affecting BI system performance, you may have to rely on DBAs external to your department to troubleshoot and remedy problems.
  • Bottlenecks - with standard reporting, you can optimize system performance by controlling when and where queries run, but self-serve BI is driven by events outside of your control.
  • Accountability - your best friend is an educated user, but you can't educate users if you can't track user behavior.
  • Service levels - in the final analysis, you'll be judged by your system's performance -- how well it delivers timely information -- regardless of how much control you have over how it is used.

Fortunately, you can use the APOS Intelligent Data Access Controller (IDAC) to help you become more proactive in monitoring, managing and auditing your BI data connectivity. With IDAC, you can:
  • Manage and monitor queries without creating a negative impact on system performance
  • Manage queries centrally
  • Monitor queries in real time
  • Cancel queries automatically
  • Cancel queries remotely
  • Analyze information offline to optimize performance
  • Monitor data access proactively per regulatory requirements
  • Encrypt credentials in property files
  • Track specific fields for sensitive data audit

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