In a recent white paper the folks at Jet Reports, a leading reporting engine for the ERP industry that’s extremely popular with users of systems including Microsoft Dynamics, authors Jonathan Oesch and Tara Grant make some very smart – and counter-intuitive — suggestions about how to go about building business intelligence, even when the data isn’t quite right.
They start from the premise that, when you think about it, you don’t know that data is bad in a business intelligence world (i.e., reporting and analysis) when you’re putting the data in – you only know when you’re getting the data out.
So if you have an urgent need to manage, say, three or four inventory-related KPIs (Key Performance Indicators), the time it may take to understand whether your inventory data is actually accurate can be, or seem, like a very long time.
Their prescription: build the business intelligence first. If you build your reports and dashboards early, your key stakeholders are very likely to know when the system is spitting out bad data. It will, most of the time, be obvious to your subject matter experts. And that’s precisely when you can start drilling down into the data to determine just where the mistakes are occurring.
In other words, your BI (Business Intelligence) environment itself will make your numbers accessible, and the errors will usually reveal themselves. That’s when you can start to get down to the root causes behind those errors, on the way to building a better data repository in the long run — and most importantly then, rendering better business decisions.
The Jet White paper (available free, just ask us in the Comments section for a PDF copy) then goes into some impressive depth explaining data governance, and teaching readers how to become their owner “data Governor.”
We’ll take a look at some of their key ideas in our next post. Stay tuned…