Data is the fundamental element for information. If you are missing data or have bad data your information is going to suffer. It is critical to understand the true scope of your data so that you can support all the information that your organization needs to operate.
Data provisioning is a technique which takes all of the pertinent data from the source systems at a granular level and brings it into the first layer of your business intelligence solution. There is always a balance between the scope and volume of data that you provision and the cost of provisioning that data. However, it is generally much more expensive to go back and get data that was missed in the initial solution. Having all of the data available at the initial data provisioning layer can mean a significant time-to-market savings when delivering information to the business users. It is very disappointing when we hear of organizations that need months and sometimes years to be able to provide information to their business users from existing solutions.
Why wouldn’t we bring in the data? Going back to get data is costly in time and effort as well as lost opportunities for the business.
What level of granularity do we need? It is hard to create a lower level of granularity, but summarizing data to a higher level is easy.
How frequently do we need to pull the data from the source system? For some data it may be within minutes (or less) while other data could require that it be done daily, weekly or monthly. This will help determine your system architecture.
What systems and technology are needed for the data provisioning layer? Your data provisioning layer needs to be robust to handle the data flow as well as stable since you do not want to have to pull data more than once from a source system.
Avoiding Data Silos
Data provisioning needs to encompass all of the data within your organization. Some organizations fall into the trap of only looking at their ERP data. Although the ERP data is core to your information strategy it is not the only data that has value within your organization. There are other source systems as well as data that you may gather from your customers and vendors that should be addressed. It is also important to understand how third-party data as well as unstructured data from areas like social media come into play within your information strategy. In the data provisioning space, it is important to plan for all these different types of data. The data provisioning space is key for gaining quick access to all types of data and not just the ERP data or subsets such as finance, sales or operations of your ERP data.