Business Intelligence (BI) Cloud. Prepared By: Pavan Inabathini

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1 Business Intelligence (BI) Cloud Prepared By: Pavan Inabathini

2 Summary Federal Agencies currently maintain Business Intelligence (BI) solutions across numerous departments around the enterprise with individual deployments. Departmental BI applications provide valuable information to senior executives, managers regarding human capital, finance, contingency operations, Corporate balance score card etc. These solutions are being deployed individually with each instance requiring initial start-up costs including hardware, software and skills plus ongoing operations costs. Lack of standardization and proliferation of these deployments not only makes delivery of information inefficient for the user but also drives the costs higher than a centralized cohesive strategy. An agency wide BI strategy must be employed for centralizing and delivering information as a service. Cloud computing concepts can be effectively utilized to create BI cloud as a core concentrated service approach to provide BI software to the business unit as a service. This approach still preserves the business unit s control to own and manage their BI solution and facilitates business unit s intent to execute BI initiatives much faster. BI Cloud would also enable agencies to consolidate deployments and enable the growth of a common set of skills that can be applied through out enterprise. Consolidation of BI deployments would greatly reduce the license redundancies. For example a senior executive who needs access to Human Capital, Balance Score Card, and Contingency Operations would be utilizing 3 Cognos licenses as three applications are individually deployed. Consolidation of the deployment will help cut down the required 3 licenses to 1. BI Cloud aligns governance, innovation, cost savings, value, collaboration and operational excellence ultimately executing agency s business strategy. Introduction An agency s mission: Ensure delivery of efficient, exceptional quality pay and financial information This document is written to identify a best methodology/strategy to execute a federal agency s mission in the area of Business Intelligence by consolidating and standardizing tools, infrastructure, and people by utilizing cloud computing standards. How do we ensure the delivery of efficient, exceptional quality pay and financial information? In this case we limit ourselves to delivering efficient, exceptional quality pay and financial information to executives, managers and supervisors on a need to know basis using a Business Intelligence (BI) tool/application. To identify and set standards, we consider a senior executive in Operations as an ideal user. A senior executive would need efficient, exceptional quality pay and financial information on a daily basis to effectively perform his/her duties by making informed decisions and taking action. Exceptional quality information: Information that is right and reflects the actual facts. This is the heart of any information delivery solution. Quality of the information represents the credibility of the information. Poor information quality will result in misinformed decisions. Ensuring data/information quality is a never ending battle. Data cleansing and quality assurance processes have to be defined and developed to ensure quality. Efficient delivery of information: This is equally important as the quality of the information. The following standards must be considered to ensure efficient delivery of information.

3 Simple and single interface to access information, to run reports, create reports, access to balance score card, search, collaborate and share information/reports. This standard is very important as the user should spend less time determining how to do the above and spend more time analyzing the information. A simple interface must provide the fastest possible way for the user to get to the information. Search functionality and usability standards must be employed to achieve a simple and usable interface. For example the senior executive needs access to Human Capital Information, Financial Information, Pay Information, Balance Score Card, Strategic Initiatives Scorecard, Contingency Operations Information etc. If the user can access this information using one single tool, one single interface and not worry about remembering different tools, login processes, accessing information under different interfaces, the user can use the time for analyzing the information. Fast and quick delivery of information. The quicker the information is available to the user for analysis, the better for the user. It gives more time for analysis. A simple, single and usable interface is one factor that makes it quick for the user. Performance of the application/solution is another factor that must considered for fast delivery of information. For example the senior executive is trying to run a report to look at the agency dashboard and it takes 10 minutes to run the report, before being able to analyze information on the dashboard. This must be avoided to make sure that information is available in a few seconds rather than minutes. Deliver information on a need-to-know basis. Protecting the information is as critical as delivering the information. User management and information security standards must be applied at the data level and application level. While the above standards are the most important to ensure efficient, exceptional quality pay and financial information to executives, managers and supervisors, it may not be possible to fully enforce the standards due to several factors such as some systems might be in the course of transformation initiatives. But effort must be taken to align all our business intelligence initiatives to the above standards. What is Cloud Computing? Following is the information about Cloud Computing from authoritative sources in US Federal Government. From Vivek Kundra, CIO, US Federal Government 1 : For those of you not familiar with cloud computing, here is a brief explanation. There was a time when every household, town, or village had its own water well. Today, shared public utilities give us access to clean water by simply turning on the tap. Cloud computing works a lot like our shared public utilities. However, instead of water coming from a tap, users access computing power from a pool of shared resources. Just like the tap in your kitchen, cloud computing services can be turned on or off as needed, and, when the tap isn t on, not only can the water be used by someone else, but you aren t paying for resources that you don t use. Cloud computing is a new model for delivering computing resources such as networks, servers, storage, or software applications. From National Institute of Standards and Technology 2, 3 : Definition of Cloud Computing: Cloud computing is a model for enabling convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction. This cloud model promotes availability and is composed of five essential characteristics, three service models, and four deployment models. Essential Characteristics:

4 Service Models: On-demand self-service: A consumer can unilaterally provision computing capabilities, such as server time and network storage, as needed automatically without requiring human interaction with each service s provider. Broad network access: Capabilities are available over the network and accessed through standard mechanisms that promote use by heterogeneous thin or thick client platforms (e.g., mobile phones, laptops, and PDAs). Resource pooling: The provider s computing resources are pooled to serve multiple consumers using a multi-tenant model, with different physical and virtual resources dynamically assigned and reassigned according to consumer demand. There is a sense of location independence in that the customer generally has no control or knowledge over the exact location of the provided resources but may be able to specify location at a higher level of abstraction (e.g., country, state, or datacenter). Examples of resources include storage, processing, memory, network bandwidth, and virtual machines. Rapid elasticity: Capabilities can be rapidly and elastically provisioned, in some cases automatically, to quickly scale out and rapidly released to quickly scale in. To the consumer, the capabilities available for provisioning often appear to be unlimited and can be purchased in any quantity at any time. Measured Service: Cloud systems automatically control and optimize resource use by leveraging a metering capability at some level of abstraction appropriate to the type of service (e.g., storage, processing, bandwidth, and active user accounts). Resource usage can be monitored, controlled, and reported providing transparency for both the provider and consumer of the utilized service. Cloud Software as a Service (SaaS): The capability provided to the consumer is to use the provider s applications running on a cloud infrastructure. The applications are accessible from various client devices through a thin client interface such as a web browser (e.g., web-based ). The consumer does not manage or control the underlying cloud infrastructure including network, servers, operating systems, storage, or even individual application capabilities, with the possible exception of limited user-specific application configuration settings. Cloud as a Service (PaaS): The capability provided to the consumer is to deploy onto the cloud infrastructure consumer-created or acquired applications created using programming languages and tools supported by the provider. The consumer does not manage or control the underlying cloud infrastructure including network, servers, operating systems, or storage, but has control over the deployed applications and possibly application hosting environment configurations. Cloud Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS): The capability provided to the consumer is to provision processing, storage, networks, and other fundamental computing resources where the consumer is able to deploy and run arbitrary software, which can include operating systems and applications. The consumer does not manage or control the underlying cloud infrastructure but has control over operating systems, storage, deployed applications, and possibly limited control of select networking components (e.g., host firewalls). Deployment Models: Private cloud: The cloud infrastructure is operated solely for an organization. It may be managed by the organization or a third party and may exist on premise or off premise. Community cloud: The cloud infrastructure is shared by several organizations and supports a specific community that has shared concerns (e.g., mission, security requirements, policy, and compliance considerations). It may be managed by the organizations or a third party and may exist on premise or off premise.

5 Public cloud: The cloud infrastructure is made available to the general public or a large industry group and is owned by an organization selling cloud services. Hybrid cloud: The cloud infrastructure is a composition of two or more clouds (private, community, or public) that remain unique entities but are bound together by standardized or proprietary technology that enables data and application portability (e.g., cloud bursting for load-balancing between clouds). Note: Cloud software takes full advantage of the cloud paradigm by being service oriented with a focus on statelessness, low coupling, modularity, and semantic interoperability. All the above text is represented below in pictures.

6

7 Establishing a BI Cloud As mentioned in the summary, establishing a BI Cloud should essentially enable agency to Consolidate current and future BI deployments in to one installation Provide a core concentrated service approach to provide BI software to the business unit as a service Enable the growth of a common set of skills that can be applied through out enterprise Create one-stop-shop for customers/business units executing BI initiatives and accessing exceptional quality financial and pay information through a simple and single interface Fig 1: Current BI Deployments (As-Is) Sales Finance CPM ebiz New Deployments necessitates the creation of all the four layers Marketing BI Hardware Hardware Hardware Hardware Hardware Transition/Transformation Fig 2: BI Cloud Illustration (Future) Cloud Provider Cloud Customer BI Administrator has control Sales Finance CPM ebiz As A Service Cloud Business Units has control on development Mid-Tier Administrator has control as A Service Cloud (Ex: DISA RACE) BI Admin has control on BI installation Server Administrator has control Infrastructure As A Service Cloud Mid-Tier Administrator has control

8 Technologies have evolved in areas of network bandwidth, virtualization, web-based technologies, storage, and parallel-grid computing, eventually creating a strong case to move away from stove-pipe implementations. Above innovations in technology has made Cloud Computing methodology a reality. Ideally Cloud Computing intend to provide Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) for businesses which cannot afford or too costly to build its own services. Same concepts and methodology would greatly fit in to large organizations like a US federal agency where there is an opportunity of improve processes, making innovation real, creating value and cutting costs. As shown in Fig 1, An agency BI initiatives have been executed in the past with individual installations, each requiring a few months of planning, architecture review and acquiring hardware and software. These are perfect examples of stove-pipe implementations resulting in inefficient processes, making it difficult to deliver information to the user. Fig 1 represents the current state of BI infrastructure architecture at a high level. For Example if Marketing Organization is planning to execute its own BI initiative and if this Business Unit has to follow the path like the other organizations did in the past, it would take a few months to create another stove-pipe infrastructure. Fig 2 represents the future of BI initiatives of the agency. With one single installation of BI Software, Business Units can get BI software as a service on demand. This approach has several advantages and it worthy to reiterate a few of them License consolidation Better operational service and maintenance Simple and integrated interface for the user to access information across different business lines Effective governance and compliance Transition/Transformation from current to the future is the path that the agency must take to be a leader in innovation and ensuring efficient delivery of financial and pay information. Fig 3 shows an example how the agency can take first step towards the future and eventually making BI Cloud a reality. Sales BI infrastructure as an example should open itself to become a BI cloud and help Marketing BI utilize the same infrastructure for its BI initiatives. This approach is a win-win situation for all stake-holders (agency, Business Units and Service Providers) involved in this transition plan. Fig 3: Current BI Deployments (Under Transition) Market.. BI Finance CPM Sales ebiz Cloud Hardware Hardware Hardware Hardware References:

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