“Competing on Analytics” and being “Data Driven” are business strategies that have changed the competitive landscape. Companies that can effectively use analytics and enhanced information on a broad scale throughout the Enterprise are transforming their organizations into powerful decision engines and market winners. But this goes deeper than just separating the wheat from the chaff. For some companies, it’s not only a challenge for competitive competency, but of survival. If the world truly is “flat” from a marketplace perspective, then the barriers to market entry and dominance are no longer just based on product or relationship, but also on execution, effectiveness, and efficiency.
To meet these challenges, many are turning to a new generation of architectures, technologies, and strategies that deliver information and analysis to many areas and channels of the Enterprise in real-time and near real-time. Among those technologies that have factored prominently in the delivery of relevant information is Business Intelligence, or BI. Companies have traditionally invested in BI to help them transform business event transaction data into analysis that can be used to develop marketing campaigns, measure performance and financial profitability, and identify new products and product features. To meet the challenges of moving to the next level and really use data to compete, BI technology is one of the enablers to meet these challenges.
However, most users think of BI product toolsets when they define BI because of the proximity they provide to BI data and functionality. But to realize the benefits that “competing on analytics” offers, we need to implement BI as an architecture, strategy, and process. This white paper explores these topics and describes a comprehensive BI Technology Framework Architecture that can help:
- Establish BI as a core competency in the organization.
- Integrate with Legacy Application Systems.
- Address new strategies and approaches to design real-time and high performance Business Intelligence platforms.
- Initiate BI rationalization.
- Address the BI “implementation gap”.
- Build BI as an industrial strength architecture that can grow and change as other new architectures take hold like SOA and web services integration.
This white paper represents SysCore's view on how to implement web services within an enterprise. It is intended for architects, designers and their managers. It discusses the relationship of Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) and web services. SysCore believes that implementing SOA with web services allows IT teams to create a loosely coupled environment that responds to changing business needs in a more agile and cost effective way. The five main web services design principles discussed in this paper include:
- Delineation of data and business web services
- Service boundaries and explicit message definition
- Scope of Business web services
- Broader interoperability
Metadata architecture for IT represents the set of processes, tools and techniques for extracting, managing and using information about IT data and systems. Metadata (literally data about data) represents the valuable information about the data, rules and processes that are used daily in business. For most organizations today, metadata is scattered among numerous isolated "islands" of knowledge. A comprehensive metadata architecture brings together enterprise-wide metadata into a single high-value framework which can be referenced and leveraged.
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The SysCore reference integration architecture lets each application in the enterprise communicate with any of the others. This may be through one-way messages (creating a value chain of applications); through publish and subscribe messages (enabling data to be shared across the applications); or through read-only request/reply messages (enabling reference information to be shared across the applications). In all cases, the integration architecture ensures that the coupling between the applications is loose - that is, a change to one application does not cause a change to any another. This is achieved by using a 'four transform' pattern that converts every business event into canonical form which is then routed to destination applications. The integration architecture also includes an architecture for adapters that ensures they will only ever be affected by local change. This also ensures loose coupling by carefully separating concerns - applications are only responsible for their own changes. Finally, the integration architecture includes the architecture for external connectivity - the enterprise's shared adapter to the outside world.
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Key to the understanding of the importance of SysCore's approach to data warehousing is the concept of a virtual value chain. This is the idea that the information generated by the business can be made into information products that can be used internally or sold externally. The SysCore data warehouse architecture, through its key features and heavy emphasis on message-oriented processing, metadata management, recognition of the importance of reference data, proper Extract, Transform and Load (ETL) usage, flexibility of the data structures employed in constructing the data warehouse environment, closeness to the business itself, and reliance on the rules based approach to data management, greatly improves the odds that a data warehouse designed according to this architecture will adapt to change and will grow with the business over time. The SysCore data warehouse architecture is a clear blueprint for businesses to follow and is a practical guide to how systems can be implemented in a time frame dictated by the rapidly changing business world, driven by the Internet. Businesses that are concerned about their competitiveness today and in the future need to give the SysCore Data Warehouse Architecture serious consideration.
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This paper is an introduction to the program and project management approach of SysCore. The primary role of program / project management is to drive the overall process for, and manage the scope and specifications of, a complex IT project. SysCore's Program Management Methodology is a synthesis of the Microsoft Solutions Framework with its models for Team, Process and Risk Management, combined with the iterative software engineering methodology of the Rational Unified Process, and further augmented by SysCore's own in depth experience in managing large scale IT projects. The paper discusses the roles that a SysCore consultant, using our methodology, will play in program and project management, separately or in concert with our significant expertise and experience in Enterprise Architecture and Application Development. The paper also describes the tools, techniques and processes that SysCore will utilize towards achieving the overarching goals of project management, which include risk management, scope management, and accurate project estimation and planning.
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