Monday, October 11, 2010

COLD reporting meets the New Think of Biz Intelligence

We've discussed the unique, even peculiar nature of COLD systems, or HVTO archiving, and the conclusion is that there is a place for these beasts at the table, or at least a place for tools that enable traditional ECM’s to handle this content efficiently.  But the question remains: is there a newer paradigm? 

“Old Think”: mainframe compute, generate standard reports, archive reports, wait for users to retrieve, repeat, repeat.

“New Think”: Don't generate anything, give users interactive tools to "pull" data from reliable data stores, and generate only "their" own reports in real-time.  Users Rule!

New Think Impacts:

  • Huge reduction in mainframe MIPS costs
  • Reduction in effort to maintain voluminous report archives
  • Users get what they want
  • Shift in report ownership to rightful owners – report geeks themselves
  • Drive content through new channels, iPads, mobile, SMS
  • Absolutely necessary if you have made the decision to move off the mainframe anyway

This shift presupposes that you own some BIRT Open Source or Enterprise equivalent like Actuate or Business Objects, and it assumes you've made the cultural and ownership shift, but man is the business impact for real!  We’ve talked to several organizations that have done this due to cost reduction initiatives, and if you are looking for both cost takeout, and improved efficiencies, this one is for real.

As with every big move, there is room for synthesizing old and new to bridge the chasm, and this is where the COLD helper apps can still play a role.  For example, did you know that the reports we are discussing have been generated for years, and represent “cleansed” data that has been proven to be reliable and accurate?  Whenever you stand up a data warehouse to use with BIRT or similar, one of the key tasks is making sure the data is cleansed, not duplicated.  This can gobble up a lot of time and resources.  If you do it right, you can use HVTO technology to parse report data and feed your Biz Intelligence engines.  The data in those reports is abundantly available, clean, and can be mined.  By tapping the HVTO report archive, you build in a natural segway to the point at which you can easily connect to reliable datawarehouses to create BI reports, and for those users who are in love with those old reports, you can even maintain some of the comfortable look and feel.  It's all about the users, isn't it?

So, don’t throw the old report apps away.  Combine their intelligence, and ubiquity to carry your organization to the new world of real-time, user driven reporting.

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