Archive for November 18, 2010

Planning Your First Microsoft BI Solution

I have written some articles in the past on topics which begin with the title “Planning Your First…”, as in Planning Your First Microsoft BizTalk Solution or Planning Your First Master Data Services project. This time I thought I would take note of a similar article written by Stacia Misner of Hitachi Consulting under the TechNet auspices.

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/magazine/gg413261.aspx

In particular, I like the section entitled “What’s Wrong with Querying Your Corporate Databases?” At the end of the day, our ability to answer this question for clients is why we have been successful delivering Microsoft BI. Once a prototype is up and running with the client’s own data being used, we will often use Excel to slice and dice that data in a business focused manner. Within seconds of demonstrating the new capability, everyone (business people and technical people) understands why our solution is the answer to their most vexing business problems.

Blum Shapiro Technology Consulting is focused on delivering Microsoft BI solutions to the Mid-Market in the New England and New York Metro regions. Our experience with SQL Server Business Intelligence tools dates back to 2000; in the last 10 years, the evolution of the Microsoft stack has been phenomenal. However, in order to deliver BI, you need to understand SharePoint. We are recognized masters of SharePoint Technologies, and have been working specifically with PerformancePoint Services back when it also did Financial Consolidations (that’s PPS-Planning).

The latest area of innovation has been in applying Master Data Services as a business tool for managing the OLAP dimensionality. Whereas in the past, IT maintained and controlled Hierarchies of data, MDS can enable the business to manage the consolidation of Customers, Products, Accounts, etc. in a controlled, stewardship managed manner. This brings the enterprise data warehouse closer and closer to the business users and analysts – always a good thing. The other side of this coin, however, is Operational MDM: the Master Data ideally should truly be Master and consumed by operational systems which are heavily process oriented. Without this component, there is little incentive for data stewards to keep the Master Data clean, or comply with Enterprise Data Policies and Procedures.

Brian Berry is a Director of Technology Consulting with BlumShapiro, focusing on Microsoft Business Intelligence solutions, with a strong focus on Systems Integration, Master Data Management and PerformancePoint Services. He has been helping companies optimize their investments in Microsoft technology for over 12 years.

White Paper on Financial Consolidations in PROPHIX

I have been extremely impressed with PROPHIX. For those who do not know, they are a Microsoft Partner out of Toronto, ON which is the leading contender to fill the gap left by PerformancePoint Planning for the mid-market. Yes, we are a partner, with a number of budgeting and forecasting implementations to our credit in the Greater Hartford area.

The latest version of PROPHIX takes advantage of the Wave 14 stack from Microsoft: SQL Server 2008, SharePoint 2010 and Office 2010.

In a recent conversation I had with PROPHIX partner support, we discussed PROPHIX’s capabilities relative to Financial Consolidation. This is an area that they have been doing a good deal of work on, and I was pleased to see a new white paper on the subject released by them yesterday. The White Paper is 38 pages and targeted to a non-technical audience. However, if you are looking for a review of all of the main points that need to be addressed by any Financial Consolidation tool, I feel that this white paper supports the notion that PROPHIX is ready for real-world, complex Financial Consolidation work.

http://www2.prophix.com/e/444/ommon-pdf-prophix-and-fc-pdf/H9DYS/337742676

Happy reading!

Brian Berry is a Director of Technology Consulting with BlumShapiro, focusing on Microsoft Business Intelligence solutions, with a strong focus on Systems Integration, Master Data Management and PerformancePoint Services. He has been helping companies optimize their investments in Microsoft technology for over 12 years.