Dell lets managers go 'off road' with self-serve analytics
Dell is bringing analytics directly to the desktops of its managers, and saving money in the process
IDG News Service - Once upon a time within Dell, managers who needed a business analysis report had to put in an IT request, a drawn out process that drove business units to set up their own shadow IT systems to run these numbers instead.
Now each business unit at Dell can build its own analytic reports, dashboards and applications, without the nod of approval from the head of IT operations.
As a result, the time it takes to develop new analysis at the computer technology company has dropped by 70 percent. At least one department--marketing--has seen productivity improve by four percent using this approach.
"We're not telling the businesses not to build shadow IT. We're just asking them to build it on our infrastructure," said Rob Schmidt, an executive director of IT for Dell.
Like many organizations, Dell is deluged with data that could be used to increase business. But it also needs to tightly manage its IT systems to keep costs in check. Sometimes the two goals conflicted.
To manage its IT operations, Dell maintains a long term strategic road map, specifying which platforms should be used for various aspects of operations. The company managed this road map through the CA Technologies' Clarity program management software.
"If it's not in Clarity, I can't work with it," was the phrase that business unit managers often heard when asking for some new capability, Schmidt said. "If you wanted new analytics, historically, you had to be on my road map." The company's enterprise data warehouse (EDW) was the canonical source of BI info within Dell, and getting new reports from the EDW required going through IT operations. In other words, get in line. And wait.
Instead, many Dell business managers went their own way--setting up departmental BI systems that copied data from the EDW. Collectively, they had spent up to $70 million developing their own capabilities, Dell had estimated in 2012 study. At least $50 million of this money was spent duplicating data from the EDW.
The Dell business managers were not alone in this practice. Over the past few years, a new crop of BI vendors have sprouted--such as QlikTech and Tableau--that tailor BI tools specifically for business units, rather than for establishing enterprise-wide BI operations, noted Wayne Eckerson, founder of BI Leader Consulting.
Such tools are relatively easy to deploy and use, and they often got managers the results they needed quickly, even if their use could potentially raise costs overall for an organization in that they could lead to a lot of duplication of effort, and data.
To stem future losses, Schmidt looked for ways of empowering the business unit managers. He exploited the self-service capabilities in the MicroStrategy business intelligence platform. Sensing this trend for desk-side analytics, MicroStrategy has strengthened the capabilities of its own platform over the past few years to make analytics accessible to more people within an organization--not just trained business analysts working on dedicated consoles.
- 15 Non-Certified IT Skills Growing in Demand
- How 19 Tech Titans Target Healthcare
- Twitter Suffering From Growing Pains (and Facebook Comparisons)
- Agile Comes to Data Integration
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- The value of smarter oil and gas fields With global energy requirements continuing to rise, the exploration, development and production of new oil and gas resources are shifting to increasingly challenging...
- Smarter Environmental Analytics Solutions: Offshore Oil and Gas Installations Example This IBM Redbooks® Solution Guide describes a solution for implementing smarter environmental monitoring and analytics for oil and gas industries. The solution implements...
- Piecing Together the Business Intelligence Puzzle Business intelligence (BI) technology collects and analyzes company data, delivering relevant information to corporate decision-makers in an effort to produce favorable outcomes.
- Harness IT -- An Introduction to Business Intelligence Solutions Learn the key selection criteria required to provide your organization with the capability to address structured data, unstructured data and mobile demands so...
- Live Webcast Increasing the Value of Your Reports and Dashboards Learn how incorporating other analytical capabilities such as predictive modeling and visualization can increase the value of your reports and dashboards by providing...
- The Software-Defined Data Center: Is your ADC ready? Data center transformation is accelerating beyond virtualization to next-generation cloud architectures and software-defined data centers, bringing new challenges for application performance, scalability and...
- Application Acceleration: Optimize the End-User Experience Watch this on-demand webcast and learn how you can optimize your web content, accelerate performance across any device and browser combination, and offload... All Business Intelligence/Analytics White Papers | Webcasts