Bouc2009 d marks_1004_universe_design


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Bouc2009 d marks_1004_universe_design

  1. 1. Universe Design: Evolution, IntelligentDesign, Or Just A Big Mess?Dallas Marks SESSION CODE: 1004
  2. 2. Breakout Description Are you new or intermediate universe designer? Or maybe a project manager overseeing the full lifecycle of a BI project? Perhaps a seasoned Crystal Reports developer investigating the benefits of the Business Objects semantic layer? A well-designed universe is the foundation to a successful business intelligence project and satisfied users. Building this foundation begins long before you click on the Designer application. A combination of evolution and intelligent design, this session presents best practices at each stage of the universe life cycle, including requirements gathering, design, development, testing, deployment, and maintenance. Avoid the big mess and deploy successful implementations now.2009 SAP BusinessObjects User Conference 2
  3. 3. About Dallas Marks  Dallas is an SAP Certified Application Associate and authorized trainer for Web Intelligence, Information Design Tool, Universe Design Tool, Dashboards (formerly Xcelsius), and SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence administration. A seasoned consultant and speaker, Dallas has worked with SAP BusinessObjects tools since 2003 and presented at the North American conference each year since 2006.  Dallas has implemented SAP BusinessObjects solutions for a number of industries, including retail, energy, health care, and manufacturing. He holds a master’s degree in Computer Engineering from the University of Cincinnati.  Dallas blogs about various business intelligence topics at You can follow him on Twitter at @dallasmarks.2009 SAP BusinessObjects User Conference 3
  4. 4. Agenda  The Origins of the Universe  Lifecycle of the Universe For each stage of the lifecycle, we’ll examine:  Key Tasks  Common Pitfalls  Best Practices  Next Steps  Your Questions Special thanks to Penny Brewer, Deanna Glinka, Gary Kuertzel, Eileen King, and David Rathbun for reviewing this presentation!2009 SAP BusinessObjects User Conference 4
  5. 5. Universe Design: Evolution, Intelligent Design, Or Just A Big Mess? THE ORIGINS OF THE UNIVERSE2009 SAP BusinessObjects User Conference 5
  6. 6. What is a Universe?A universe is the semantic layer thatmaps everyday terms that describe thebusiness environment to corporate datasources.2009 SAP BusinessObjects User Conference 6
  7. 7. Three methodologies to create a universe  Intelligent Design  Evolution  Entropy2009 SAP BusinessObjects User Conference 7
  8. 8. Intelligent Design – a definition “the theory that matter, the various forms of life, and the world were created by a designing intelligence” Source: Merriam Webster dictionary ( SAP BusinessObjects User Conference 8
  9. 9. Evolution – a definition“a process in which the whole universe isa progression of interrelated phenomena” Source: Merriam Webster dictionary ( SAP BusinessObjects User Conference 9
  10. 10. Evolution – a better definition“a process of continuous change from alower, simpler, or worse to a higher, morecomplex, or better state” Source: Merriam Webster dictionary ( SAP BusinessObjects User Conference 10
  11. 11. Entropy – a definition “the degradation of the matter and energy in the universe to an ultimate state of inert uniformity - a trend to disorder” Source: Merriam Webster dictionary ( SAP BusinessObjects User Conference 11
  12. 12. Mess – a definition Photo Source: Source: Merriam Webster dictionary ( of entropy - “a disordered,untidy, offensive, or unpleasantstate or condition”2009 SAP BusinessObjects User Conference 12
  13. 13. My Assertion Some universe design projects are doomed before Designer is ever launched…2009 SAP BusinessObjects User Conference 13
  14. 14. My Assertion …and now that so many tools (Web Intelligence, Xcelsius, Crystal Reports, etc.) utilize the universe, it really needs to be right.2009 SAP BusinessObjects User Conference 14
  15. 15. What is User Adoption?  A set of on-going processes and procedures that insure that users are equipped to get the maximum value from your organization’s BI infrastructure  More than just “training”2009 SAP BusinessObjects User Conference 15
  16. 16. Why Should You Care About User Adoption?  If you build it, they still may not come  You need a job  You’re not as good looking as Kevin Costner2009 SAP BusinessObjects User Conference 16
  17. 17. Universe Design: Evolution, Intelligent Design, Or Just A Big Mess? LIFECYCLE OF THE UNIVERSE2009 SAP BusinessObjects User Conference 17
  18. 18. Lifecycle of the Universe  Prepare  Analyze  Plan  Implement Prepare Analyze Plan Implement Test Deploy Maintain  Test  Deploy Let’s discuss  Maintain Key Tasks Common Pitfalls Best Practices2009 SAP BusinessObjects User Conference 18
  19. 19. Prepare Analyze Plan Implement Test Deploy Maintain Universe Design: Evolution, Intelligent Design, Or Just A Big Mess? PREPARATION PHASE2009 SAP BusinessObjects User Conference 19
  20. 20. Preparation – Key Tasks  Identify Universe Scope  Build a Project Team  Adopt Standards  Kickoff Meeting2009 SAP BusinessObjects User Conference 20
  21. 21. Preparation – Common Pitfalls  Designer doesnt understand the business  Lack of Input/Participation from User Community  Lack of User Adoption Strategy and Budget2009 SAP BusinessObjects User Conference 21
  22. 22. Preparation – Best Practices  Build user involvement into each project phase  Identify Subject Matter Expert (SME)  Create and continually refine documented universe design standards  Standards, however robust, won’t mean anything if there isn’t an enforcement mechanism (implementation and testing)2009 SAP BusinessObjects User Conference 22
  23. 23. Prepare Analyze Plan Implement Test Deploy Maintain Universe Design: Evolution, Intelligent Design, Or Just A Big Mess? ANALYSIS PHASE2009 SAP BusinessObjects User Conference 23
  24. 24. Analysis – Key Tasks  Identify Candidate Objects  Determine Data Model (Relational vs. Multi-Dimensional) Important decisions are made in the analysis phase that are like pouring concrete – they will set up and harden.2009 SAP BusinessObjects User Conference 24
  25. 25. Analysis – Common Pitfalls  Data model incapable of delivering required performance  Data is of poor quality  Universe is incomprehensible  Too large  Poor organization of objects  Poorly named objects These issues are resolved throughout the lifecycle but should be identified and addressed during this crucial project phase2009 SAP BusinessObjects User Conference 25
  26. 26. Analysis – Best Practices Just give me everything- I don’t have time to give you requirements Let reporting requirements drive data model and candidate objects in universe No reporting requirements? See first bullet.2009 SAP BusinessObjects User Conference 26
  27. 27. Analysis – Best Practices, cont.  Limit number of objects in universe  SAP BusinessObjects recommends no more than 500 objects per universe*, although others recommend even smaller number of around 200 objects**  These numbers are guidelines, not absolutes. However, if the universe is too large or intimidating, users will not use it.  OEM universes may be an exception because user requirements are not well known. Keep focus on facilitating user adoption, not completeness. * Advanced Universe Design Learner’s Guide –Revision A, SAP BusinessObjects, 2008. (page 131) ** Howson, Cindy. Business Objects XI: The Complete Reference. McGraw-Hill/Osborne, 2006. (page 93)2009 SAP BusinessObjects User Conference 27
  28. 28. Analysis – Best Practices, cont.  Use multiple universes to cover multiple subject areas, particularly unrelated (and unjoined!) ones Finance Supply Distribution Chain2009 SAP BusinessObjects User Conference 28
  29. 29. Analysis – Best Practices, cont.  Assign subject matter expert (SME) to assist in class structure, object naming, and help text, esp. if designers possess insufficient business knowledge  SMEs are invaluable in resolving conflicts in corporate business vocabulary and hierarchies  Now, regarding the data model…2009 SAP BusinessObjects User Conference 29
  30. 30. Data Models Supported by Designer Designer supports both relational and OLAP database platforms Universes can be created on virtually any data model, from highly normalized/transactional to star-schema But… Image Source: SAP BusinessObjects XI 3.0 Universe Design Learner’s Guide2009 SAP BusinessObjects User Conference 30
  31. 31. Fact: Star Schemas Are Better Normalized data models (OLTP) are designed to get data INTO the database efficiently. Star schema data models (OLAP) are designed to get data OUT OF the database efficiently. Performance of transactional ERP systems degrades significantly when also supporting analytic BI functions. This is not a limitation of BusinessObjects. It’s simply a fact of business intelligence.2009 SAP BusinessObjects User Conference 31
  32. 32. Fact: Your Data Isn’t as Clean as You Think  Source ERP data may not have sufficient quality for detailed analysis  Outer joins cannot address all issues and degrade query performance  Enterprise Information Management (EIM) tools such as SAP BusinessObjects Data Services not only perform data integration to star schemas, but can also address data quality  Don’t let your project fail because a single, trusted version of the truth doesn’t exist.2009 SAP BusinessObjects User Conference 32
  33. 33. Prepare Analyze Plan Implement Test Deploy Maintain Universe Design: Evolution, Intelligent Design, Or Just A Big Mess? PLANNING PHASE2009 SAP BusinessObjects User Conference 33
  34. 34. Planning – Key Tasks  Create a Project Plan  Plan the BusinessObjects Architecture2009 SAP BusinessObjects User Conference 34
  35. 35. Planning – Common Pitfalls  Universe is a single, large delivery rather than multiple evolutionary deliveries  Users not included in every project phase (IT failure)  Users not involved in every project phase (Business failure)  Failing to define specific tasks and objectives for user acceptance testing (UAT)2009 SAP BusinessObjects User Conference 35
  36. 36. Planning – Best Practices  Ready, fire, aim!  Determine if universe(s) can be broken into phased, evolutionary deliveries  Users begin using solution faster  Users provide feedback for subsequent phases that would not be available from a single delivery  Make sure users are involved both on paper and in practice  Effective executive sponsorship can ensure participation  IT team should build and test environment prior to delivery date, not during2009 SAP BusinessObjects User Conference 36
  37. 37. Prepare Analyze Plan Implement Test Deploy Maintain Universe Design: Evolution, Intelligent Design, Or Just A Big Mess? IMPLEMENTATION PHASE2009 SAP BusinessObjects User Conference 37
  38. 38. Implementation – Key Tasks  Schema Design  Building the Universe2009 SAP BusinessObjects User Conference 38
  39. 39. Implementation – Common Pitfalls Untrained IT Staff Universe looks like data model, not business model Scope Creep2009 SAP BusinessObjects User Conference 39
  40. 40. Implementation – Best Practices  Make sure universe designers are trained  Authorized classroom training is very effective  Attendees are trained to avoid mistakes that consultants are frequently called in to fix  Mentor inexperienced designers with experienced ones  Outsource mentoring if no in-house capability  An outsourced mentor can bring best practices from other organizations and industries  Use automated tools to manage and track issues  NOTE: Microsoft Word and Excel are great tools, but weren’t designed for issue tracking and project management2009 SAP BusinessObjects User Conference 40
  41. 41. Implementation – Best Practices  Confirm objects are organized into classes according to the user’s conceptual data model, not the physical data model  Use help text to assist end users, not IT. Use Metadata Manager for impact analysis and data lineage, not the comment fields  Insure measure objects have database aggregate functions  Beware of low universe to report ratio2009 SAP BusinessObjects User Conference 41
  42. 42. Prepare Analyze Plan Implement Test Deploy Maintain Universe Design: Evolution, Intelligent Design, Or Just A Big Mess? TESTING PHASE2009 SAP BusinessObjects User Conference 42
  43. 43. Testing – Key Tasks  Quality Assurance  User Acceptance2009 SAP BusinessObjects User Conference 43
  44. 44. Testing – Common Pitfalls  Lack of robust sample data or true production data  Poor data quality  Time spent on data quality, not universe quality  Inadequate user acceptance testing  Lack of user veto power to delay implementation  Lack of IT veto power to delay implementation2009 SAP BusinessObjects User Conference 44
  45. 45. Testing – Best Practices  IT peer review to insure adherence to best practices and standards  Insure adequate UAT by key project stakeholders  Reduce future report development time by insuring universe objects (esp. dates, currencies) are correctly formatted  Use automated tools to manage and track issues2009 SAP BusinessObjects User Conference 45
  46. 46. Prepare Analyze Plan Implement Test Deploy Maintain Universe Design: Evolution, Intelligent Design, Or Just A Big Mess? DEPLOYMENT PHASE2009 SAP BusinessObjects User Conference 46
  47. 47. Deployment – Key Tasks  Architecture  Production Environment  Grant User Access  Conduct Training2009 SAP BusinessObjects User Conference 47
  48. 48. Deployment – Common Pitfalls  Installation and configuration issues derail solution delivery  Go-Live is the first time users see actual, not test, data  Insufficient planning and/or budget to train users2009 SAP BusinessObjects User Conference 48
  49. 49. Deployment – Best Practices  As with development, phase deployment to users if possible  Per department  Hierarchy – power users first, then casual users  Build production environment in tandem with development, so it’s not a surprise during deployment2009 SAP BusinessObjects User Conference 49
  50. 50. Prepare Analyze Plan Implement Test Deploy Maintain Universe Design: Evolution, Intelligent Design, Or Just A Big Mess? MAINTENANCE PHASE2009 SAP BusinessObjects User Conference 50
  51. 51. Maintenance – Key Tasks  Universe Maintenance  Evolution2009 SAP BusinessObjects User Conference 51
  52. 52. Maintenance – Common Pitfalls  Inadequate documentation from last iteration  Insufficient knowledge transfer  Limited subject matter expertise within IT  Previous design decisions make maintenance difficult - in extreme cases, starting over is the best option2009 SAP BusinessObjects User Conference 52
  53. 53. Maintenance – Best Practices  Utilize SAP BusinessObjects Metadata Manager for impact analysis, lineage, consistency  Use built-in auditing capabilities of BusinessObjects Enterprise to monitor usage and retire unused universes and documents  Use automated tools to manage and track issues2009 SAP BusinessObjects User Conference 53
  54. 54. Universe Design: Evolution, Intelligent Design, Or Just A Big Mess? NEXT STEPS2009 SAP BusinessObjects User Conference 54
  55. 55. Get a Second Opinion  An external assessment may be helpful in breaking gridlock and taking the next step  Company politics frequently prevent reason and common sense from being heard – an outside perspective can help.2009 SAP BusinessObjects User Conference 55
  56. 56. Relevant GBN 2009 Breakout Sessions  Empowering End Users through Smart Universe Design Steve Krandel  Lost in the Universe Michael Welter  Universe Best Practices Alan Mayer  Universe Models for Recursive Data David Rathbun These sessions are a representative sample. Universe design is a “spotlight topic” with many more breakouts. Check agenda for additional breakout sessions.2009 SAP BusinessObjects User Conference 56
  57. 57. Relevant Training  BusinessObjects XI 3.0/3.1 Universe Design Introduction – 3 days - course code BOU310 Advanced - 2 days - course code BOU320 Official SAP BusinessObjects curriculum is available on-site at your location or at authorized education centers around the world.2009 SAP BusinessObjects User Conference 57
  58. 58. Recommended Reading  Performance Dashboards: Measuring, Monitoring, and Managing Your Business, by Wayne W. Eckerson, © Wiley, 2005  “Achieving User Adoption: How to Unlock the Full Value of a Business Intelligence Implementation,” by Peter Nobes, © Business Objects White Paper, 20052009 SAP BusinessObjects User Conference 58
  59. 59. Final Thoughts You might not be able to change the world… …but you CAN change the universe!2009 SAP BusinessObjects User Conference 59
  60. 60. Questions or Comments? Please contact Dallas Marks at: Dallas AT DallasMarks DOT ORG SAP BusinessObjects User Conference
  61. 61. Thank you for participating Please remember to complete and return your evaluation form following this session. SESSION CODE: 10042009 SAP BusinessObjects User Conference 61