Monday, April 4, 2011

PNC Bank Talks about BI

In a recent February 2011 presentation and round-table in Pittsburgh, PNC Bank discussed their BI experiences. The BI Xchange website provided a summary of that, with comments such as:
  • Executive support for BI is strong 
  • Purchased a data warehouse appliance to speed BI queries 
  • Standard reporting that came with pre-built applications did not meet their needs 
  • Mobile BI is an issue to banks due to security concerns
  • Looking into "Certified Reporting" to confirm figures in various reports are correct 
  • Using an OnShore/OffShore BI application development model 
  • For BI resources, start with good business people and teach them the BI tools (and warnings about that statement since there may be a reason these individuals have not chosen to be involved with the technology) 

The BI Xchange provides this summary of their organization:

The BI Exchange is a platform for professionals interested in exchanging knowledge, ideas and experiences about the field of Business Intelligence (BI). It is a community of both management and technology professionals with a focus on increasing awareness of how BI can transform the business processes. 
We hope that this community will foster knowledge sharing and in the long run we will accumulate a repository of best practices freely available to the entire BI community.

I will comment on just one of their topics: "Certified Reporting." Many organizations employ multiple reporting specialists creating documents with figures that do not match those of other documents. This is especially true in firms where the IT group has not taken an active BI role, leaving the business units to fend for themselves. During one BI assessment, a business reporting specialist confessed to me, "Nobody can prove me wrong."

In other words, there was no easy way to validate or deny the figures he put onto a report. Without a formal standard for business terminology or calculations, this individual could almost make up the results. In fact, when his sponsors did not like the answers on the reports, they gave him different business rules to follow. This is a serious problem.

Companies must formally define how their BI reports are created and have a single version of the truth.

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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.