Friday, October 10, 2008

BI Consultants

Occasionally, I speak with individuals who think that using outside consultants for Business Intelligence projects is a luxury and only feasible for those large organizations with substantial budgets. On the contrary, consultants often provide the most cost-effective way to achieve your BI goals.

One reason is that BI consultants are specialists with solid training and expertise in BI products. They have probably dedicated years of their careers to specific products, such as Cognos, Business Objects, WebFOCUS, SAS, Microstrategy, or Actuate. They hit the ground running and accomplish your goals efficiently.

In addition to experience and skills, an outside consultant has the time to address your BI needs. While your staff must handle day-to-day operations and put off strategic initiatives, an external consultant can focus strictly on the work at hand.

Consultants are a flexible resource for your projects; they are temporary, come in only when you need them, and leave when they are done. They can also provide your organization with a fresh, objective point-of-view. Because the typical consultant has worked with a variety of clients, he or she has seen aspects of BI with which your staff may be unfamiliar. While onsite, the consultant can transfer some of this knowledge to your associates, leaving you with a better team.

Value-added features such as these make BI consultants effective and efficient. Having performed this type of work before and being dedicated to your assignment, consultants can achieve results more quickly than your internal resources.

At my consulting organization, we have developed software utilities to automate much of the manual effort for BI activities (e.g., automatically translating legacy programs and generating the modern BI code). We put the know-how of doing the BI work into an application, which means less time, risk, and cost.

Armed with knowledge, expertise, and tools, outside BI consultants may actually provide a lower-cost option than doing the work yourself.

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About Me

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I am a project-based software consultant, specializing in automating transitions from legacy reporting applications into modern BI/Analytics to leverage Social, Cloud, Mobile, Big Data, Visualizations, and Predictive Analytics using Information Builders' WebFOCUS. Based on scores of successful engagements, I have assembled proven Best Practice methodologies, software tools, and templates.

I have been blessed to work with innovators from firms such as: Ford, FedEx, Procter & Gamble, Nationwide, The Wendy's Company, The Kroger Co., JPMorgan Chase, MasterCard, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Siemens, American Express, and others.

I was educated at Valparaiso University and the University of Cincinnati, where I graduated summa cum laude. In 1990, I joined Information Builders and for over a dozen years served in regional pre- and post-sales technical leadership roles. Also, for several years I led the US technical services teams within Cincom Systems' ERP software product group and the Midwest custom software services arm of Xerox.

Since 2007, I have provided enterprise BI services such as: strategic advice; architecture, design, and software application development of intelligence systems (interactive dashboards and mobile); data warehousing; and automated modernization of legacy reporting. My experience with BI products include WebFOCUS (vendor certified expert), R, SAP Business Objects (WebI, Crystal Reports), Tableau, and others.