Pfizer embraces agile BI
Pfizer is one of the companies that's seeing benefits from agile BI. For the past three years, the New York-based pharmaceuticals maker has been using the agile approach to develop data integration and delivery services, data-capture applications and BI reporting capabilities.
"We have recognized that the [internal] customers of each service we provide need a very rapid and flexible approach to meet their needs," says Michael Linhares, a research fellow in business information systems and pharmaceutical sciences at Pfizer. "It is expected that our applications and system can be adapted to the changes in the business just as fast as the business itself is changing."
Pfizer is using BI application development tools from a variety of vendors, and it provides BI applications and data to about 1,000 users within the company, he says.
"Our applications allow for the collection, integration and reporting on [drug development] projects," Linhares says. "This includes project status, financial forecasting, resource forecasting and integration with several other aspects -- including the drug supply chain."
The new approach to BI enables Pfizer's application developers to move more quickly. For example, it used to take six to 12 weeks to make a significant change in the way data is presented in a data warehouse. With the agile development methodology, it typically takes three to seven days, he says.
Pfizer also involves end users as much as possible in the development process. "The customer [end user] is key to this approach of development," Linhares says. "The customer reviews the paper prototype, the working prototype, tests and validates the data, and will be the key to supporting a production release to a larger community of users. Our systems are designed and built for the end user. Without their constant interaction, our team could not build a useful product."