5 Steps to Data Readiness for Real-time Analytics

May 1, 2013

Image_Taking 5 Steps to Data Readiness_People Walking

When performing a large-scale data governance implementation or an ERP migration to a real-time data platform such as SAP® HANA, there are many critical preparations that need to be completed first — most importantly, you’ll need to establish high-quality, Business-Ready Data™. Without clean, quality data in the system, the real-time capabilities available through SAP HANA will not deliver the correct results. Rather, it will simply end up delivering the wrong information faster.

1) Establish key metrics and measurements that will be used to make certain the data is business-ready and relevant.

This is where organizations run into trouble. Preparing data requires the involvement of both business users and IT. Business users typically are not trained in the complexities of the IT tools that are essential in this process, while IT focuses on the technical aspects of the migration without considering how business processes will be affected by it. Both of these users need to be included in determining which data is relevant.

2) Implement a data quality strategy.

By using tools offered for data management such as SAP Enterprise Information Management (EIM) tools, organizations can begin to create, cleanse and manage their data across business functions. However, even with SAP’s robust solution set, it can be challenging to prepare the data for a large-scale implementation. Migrating low quality data can cause many costly and time-prohibitive problems during the SAP HANA implementation and after go-live. BackOffice Associates offers solutions that are uniquely focused to help business users and data stewards manipulate data – helping to enforce correct data entry and data policies. These solutions can help eliminate gaps between business users and IT.

3) System Mapping

Often business users default to a Microsoft® Excel spreadsheet when gathering source and target mapping requirements. These requirements are then used to build logic into the extract, transform and load (ETL) tools that perform the data translations in business systems such as ERP, CRM, HCM and SCM prior to migration. Documenting and viewing mapping task status is critical — however, simple spreadsheets are not up to the task of providing this kind of complex activity. BackOffice Associates provides a simple web application that efficiently completes mapping tasks and provides full visibility into completed and pending tasks. In addition, if a mapping is altered, the solution automatically updates the documentation and execution logic.

4) Data Construction

In many instances, source data from legacy systems is unable to run in a newer system due to technical differences between the systems. That’s when users will turn again to Microsoft Excel for the construction of this missing data. This becomes problematic when hundreds of business users are involved in data creation, leading to an unlimited number of spreadsheets and no visibility across the process. BackOffice Associates provides a simple web solution to collect missing data and view which tasks are required, which have been completed and which still remain.

Task-level assignments identify who is completing their assignments on time and who is behind. The ability to create this on the fly is critical since requirements are often not completely understood at the start of a project and might require adjustments along the way to meet changing needs. The ability to have a single version of all data being collected ensures quality control. Without high-quality data, you will encounter real-time business problems.

5) Business-Ready Data Transformation

Possibly the most difficult task in any large-scale data migration project is establishing when the data is business-ready. This means that the data is not only ready-to-load, but that it will also generate the desired result in the new target real-time system. Typical processes to determine data readiness involve creating and running scripts and execution logic, and analyzing error reports for failures and required changes. BackOffice uses the Business Reference Model™ (BRM™) which provides content for business relevance as well as recognition of the data’s ability to execute in the target system. The BRM is backed by a library of over 10,000 callable elements: a catalog of more than 60 source systems, countless custom legacy systems, and the most complex targets in the industry. Through the use of the BRM, BackOffice is able to ensure your real-time analytics platform implementations will run with the highest level of data quality so that the real-time analysis and business intelligence you gain is backed by accurate, “Business-Ready Data.”

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