RESEARCH & RESOURCES

LESSON - The Key to Successful Data Integration and Data Warehouse Initiatives

Interview with Christopher Kenessey, Director, Sales Operations, Cisco

Q: What do you see as the single largest barrier to BI success in the enterprise?

A: Probably the organizational trust in the data. Making sure that data is always accurate and current is critical to building this trust. To deliver, the data center should ideally be using an automated enterprise job scheduler and automated process optimization tools to ensure the BI processing and its underlying infrastructure are processing optimally.

Q: Why is automated scheduling important?

A: An enterprise job scheduling solution plays a critical role in ensuring the data warehouse has the right data and delivers it to the right place at the right time. It’s important in two ways. First, it ensures data quality. Managing dependencies, checking for correctly formatted inputs, and making sure jobs are running as expected ensure that processing takes place correctly.

Second, it helps IT meet service-level agreements. Not only does it eliminate “cushion” time between processing steps, but it also detects if there is a problem that will cause a delay. For instance, if your partners’ data feeds don’t arrive when you expect them, you typically don’t have the up-to-date data necessary to produce accurate and current reports. An automated scheduler is able to track down all the pieces of the puzzle and alert you when things don’t process on time so you can take the appropriate action.

Q: We hear a lot about BI and the cloud. What is the relevance of the cloud to BI?

A: BI’s effectiveness is all about crunching data and doing it in real time. Typically there is a lot of variance in the amount of computing resources needed by BI applications, depending on seasonal or year-end spikes in data quantity. Having access to additional computing resources when they are needed is what makes the cloud so appealing for BI. On the flip side, proactively releasing unused resources when they are not needed drives down costs and increases overall data center efficiency.

One key issue with cloud computing is to ensure data integrity and security, and that your team is comfortable having their data managed in a cloud environment. For this reason, private clouds are being seriously considered by CIOs as an entry into cloud computing, but hybrid clouds are following quickly behind.

Q: The pressure is really on the CIO to deliver BI more rapidly and more accurately than ever before. What should the CIO focus on to deliver this?

A: I think IT leadership has to ensure two key things are in place to run an effective BI initiative. First, full trust in the owner of the data warehouse is necessary. IT leadership must be sure it has a trusted advisor who works closely with the business, understands its desired outcomes, and provides a documented, well-articulated vision and strategy that meets the needs of the business.

Second, fund your BI infrastructure and operation appropriately. This means investing in the right infrastructure, data integration, and reporting and enterprise scheduling solutions without cutting corners.

Q: Based on your daily interactions with CIOs, what is on their minds today?

A: From an economic standpoint, indicators are pointing upward, but we know we are not out of the woods yet. The ability to react to rapidly changing market conditions, identify emerging markets, and identify market trends is critical. Effective BI allows the business to take advantage of these opportunities before the competition can.

Today more than ever, the CIO who doesn’t have a successful BI initiative in place isn’t enabling the business to have the competitive advantage it seeks. That doesn’t bode well for the CIO’s ability to deliver value to the business. I can understand why every CIO I talk to says that data warehousing, cloud computing, and data center appliances are his top three initiatives.

This article originally appeared in the issue of .

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