RESEARCH & RESOURCES

TDWI Best Practices Report Q1 2008

TDWI Best Practices Report | Strategies for Managing Spreadmarts: Migrating to a Managed BI Environment

January 1, 2008

In organizations all over the world, business people bypass their IT groups to get data from spreadmarts. Spreadmarts are data shadow systems in which individuals collect and massage data on an ongoing basis to support their information requirements or those of their immediate workgroup. These shadow systems, which are usually built on spreadsheets, exist outside of approved, IT-managed corporate data repositories, such as data warehouses, data marts, or ERP systems, and contain data and logic that often conflict with corporate data. Once created, these systems spread throughout an organization like pernicious vines, strangling any chance for information consistency and reliability. You’ll find them in all industries, supporting all business functions. According to TDWI Research, more than 90% of all organizations have spreadmarts.

The technical remedy for spreadmarts is to manage and store data and logic centrally in a uniform, consistent fashion and then let individuals access this data using their tools of choice. At TDWI, we call this a managed business intelligence environment. The goal is to transform spreadmarts into managed spreadsheets. This lets IT do what it does best—collect, integrate, and validate data and rules—and lets business analysts do what they do best—analyze data, identify trends, create plans, and recommend decisions.

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