As David Besemer wrote in his May 2007 article for DMReview, ‘SOA for BI’, "It took Michelangelo nearly five years to complete his famous works at the Sistine Chapel. Your transition to SOA for BI can go much faster if you start with data services."
What are data services? According to Wikipedia, wait, there isnt an existing definition on Wikipedia. First, a definition with I share with the Internet users of the world vis-a-vie WikiPedia:
"A Data Services Oriented Architecture or ‘DSOA’ framework consists of a combination of schemas, classes and libraries that facilitate and provide the ability to create and consume data services for the web. DSOA reveals the consumer data underlying architecture, exposed using Data Services’ Entity Data Model, and provides reusability of your service when developed correctly," Laura Edell-Gibbons, Mantis Technology Group Inc.
And by correctly, I would highly recommend not getting bogged down by the concept of plug and chug, dubbed by my colleague Tip, or making your code reusable. It is all a balance, remember, young BI padawan.
Select best-in-class data services middleware to help you model, develop and implement your back-end BI services. PowerDesigner is a pretty rocking modeling tool, which covers everything from data element impact analysis to facilitating requirements gathering. Simplistically speaking, I am a big fan of the simplicity of SQL Server Integration Services and the new Data Services, both Microsoft products, though this opinion is certainly one that doesnt necessarily represent the populas vote. I am a big fan of Infomatica and Data Integrator (now called Data services, funnily enough under the SAP/BusinessObjects brand).
During the first and second projects, be sure to track all productive working hours to deliver each phase of your solution and costs savings for the efficiencies I expect you designed your system with the unescapable expectation of being the ROI-generator, a widely accepted expectation that all BI systems have high ROI, and many due. Start small, grow enterprise once the concept has been leaned out and efficiencies expected and beyond are gained. Then, as you expand your deployment from project to enterprise, you can easily self-fund additional licenses and other required resources with the savings or other benefits gained on those 1st two, somewhat painful, ‘initiation’ projects. We all have to go through the process and while painful at times, the learning experiences offered outweigh any of the difficulties while learning.
It is better to build the new services project by project, always making the predecessor available to other projects in a unified data services tier as you go. You and your team can then choose whether to rhttp://scorecardstreet.spaces.live.com/mmm2008-11-07_18.20/#euse a data service, extend an existing service, buy or to build something from scratch, my least favorite BTW.
Over time, these will change and I suspect ‘reuse’ will become the greatest portion of the proverbial pie, whereas today, I believe the paradigm shifts more in the direction of ‘build from scratch.’
Starting to plan front-end BI services up front, even while deploying your backend BI services, will enable you to make small but meaningful steps without much noticable downtime to the organization, something especially important for those of us working with a ‘4 x 9s’ uptime SLA for our data centers. Plus, remember, if you build these on a powerful data services foundation, you will reduce your time to market, and your TCO over time. By providing the business with their much anticipated and needed operational reports, tactical and strategic dashboards and performance management analytics while infusing the lot into your SOA, one will reep rewards greater than my words could ever portray, dear reader…Til then, remember ‘what will come sooner than you think is no more when than how’.