Changes in source systems cause business intelligence reporting disaster
Every change in source system directly related with reporting systems, specially Business Performance Management Software can cause official external and internal reporting collapse. What seams small change in only one table in source system like change in hierarchy of one larger customer could cause distorted or no data at all if the change is not predicted in company information system (IS). Finding business segments of offices beneath residential customer. Obviously this is a mistake and needs to be cleaned. Misinterpretation of content in one table in data mart or in data set can cause false publishing of all reports related to customer segmentation in this case.
Small change can have significant impact in case when employee goals depend on KPIs, budget realization, reporting toward stock exchange, auditors and etc. Those reports are published and can not be historically revised. And all that problems might be consequences of one small change in content of data of only one source system… Sound absurd, specially from process owners side but it is true.
Real problems begin if it is not possible to stop changes in source system, because source system is not designed and structured too handle releases of changes. Then it is not possible to stop processes since company lives from them. Cannot stop new marketing campaign of new product line because it will cause reporting inconsistency…
Solution for business intelligence reporting problems could then be development of parallel reporting, live and off line reporting. Live reporting systems takes data from source systems with live data, consist of nonaligned data – KPIs for reports. Off line reporting means to take data from sources in the old way, with old ETL or with code change with aim to minimize source system change. old ETL or code patch will cause stability of reports for a while. Management hates parallel reporting approach since that could mean lot of problems in interpretation of data and causes data misinterpretation throughout complete company. Management argues about “same” KPIs but from different reporting systems because some managers could have taken KPIs from off line reporting, some from live and some even a combination of both. Parallel reporting leads to many problems and more engagement of more maintenance resources. This is not an ideal solution for lack of releases but is there any better solution how to handle changes in source systems and making problems in business intelligence reporting?
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