A friend once asked me this. What does it take to implement a business intelligence solution with dashboard capabilities in an organization? photo credit: edrugsearch.com
He also mentioned that the ultimate objective of the solution is for key decision makers such as senior management and board members to look at statistical data, trends and forecasts so they could make better decisions.
My immediate response to him would be, it all depends on what sort of data an organization has.
Some bosses request the IT team to develop reports such as:
- Pipeline by stages report
- Sales person’s performance report
- Open potential report
But the bosses may not be aware that they do not have the required data in place for the reports to be developed upon.
In order to build the reports, the organization probably needs a CRM and SFA software in place to capture all relevant sales data.
Without the right data in place, it’s impossible to build reports and dashboards.
So before a BI solution can be implemented, key systems must be in place such as:
- CRM system
- SFA system
- HRMS system
- Intranet system
- Accounting system
Let’s say an organization has all the above systems but each system resides on it’s own platform.
The HRMS and CRM may be on an open source platform while the Accounting system is a proprietary solution.
Basically the systems are sitting disparately and do not talk and function well with one another.
Is it still possible to develop dashboards and reports based on data that are coming from several systems?
Yes, it is and the keyword here is “Enterprise Data Integration“.
Data integration is the process of combining data which resides in different sources and attempting to provide a unified view of these data.
In other words, a data integration tool collects data from multiple locations, processes the data and presents the data in a way that can be consumed by report designers.
If your organization is currently planning on embarking and implementing a BI solution, the following are 4 open source data integration tools that you could look into:
Talend data management solution which is based on the Eclipse platform basically covers data integration, data quality and master data management.
With the Talend Open Studio, one can easily construct jobs and processes via the intuitive drag and drop graphical interface.
Projects created via the Talend Open Studio can be created as either Java or Perl.
Pentaho data integration (kettle) is a powerful metadata driven ETL tool for all your data integration needs.
The kettle data integration tool is part of the Pentaho open source business intelligence suite, so if you choose to adopt this integration tool, you can benefit from its other key BI features as well.
Apatar is a Java based ETL data integration tool which provides a single interface to manage all your integration projects.
With the Apatar visual job designer, even non developers can easily map and perform transformations without any coding required.
Connects to key databases such as Oracle, MS SQL, Sybase, DB2, MS Access, PostgreSQL, JDBC data sources and more.
Jitterbit Community Edition is an integration tool intended for technical users to complete a basic integration project.
This version of Jitterbit is primarily tested and supported by the open source community.
Some of the key functions include graphical integration process designer, drag and drop mapping, connectivity to hundred of systems and more.
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