Saturday, July 23, 2011

BI Lifecycle In 2 Hours? Day In The Life of a Solutions Architect

I just came out of a meeting with a prospective customer (not to be named).  Somewhat of a typical meeting with a group of relatively junior IT/BI professionals - all over the place.  The group did the typical beating of the chest about how tools they have today are so good.  Rapid fire questions from all angles quickly sabotage of any kind of flow or sequence that I had in mind for my presentation.  Quick on our feet... In the end it was all good.  They want to see more.

The challenge presented to me for the next meeting is to show them the 'Business Discovery' Development Life Cycle for QlikView.  ETL to Dashboard, Development/Reporting, Publishing of documents, etc.....  Oh, and make the app mobile!  Time allocated for our meeting 2 hours.  Now, some would sweat,  I winder... would the competition can even entertain such a meeting.

If you are familiar with QlikView and understand it is core capabilities well you know from a product perspective it is up to the challenge.  The plan of attack:
Keep the data model straightforward but still make it compelling for the customer.  One (no more than two) data sources.  Maybe 3 to 4 tables.  

Step 1: 40 minutes - Back End
  • Build a basic Star Schema
  • Have a Calendar script handy for time savings.
  • Show the evolution of the data model, adding one table at a time.  
    • Populate the main tab with some list boxes from each table - showing the data discovery power of QlikView - before an interface is even built.
  • Show some modest transformations to demonstrate the capabilities of the ETL functions.
  • Show the final Star Schema - speak to the associative model, etc...
 Step 2: 40 minutes - Front End
  • Layout a simple dashboard (2 tabs) - remember - clock is ticking
    • 1st Tab - Dashboard
    • 2nd Tab - Details
    • If you have time for a 3rd insert a tab in between the first 2 with some KPIs around a key dimension such as customer or product
  • Use a basic template - company colors are always a good idea if you can get them before hand (Tip - go to the client website and capture colors from their logo, etc..)
  • Be sure show 3 to 4 different types of visualizations, use of a mini-chart, gauge, bar/combo chart, possibly a scatter if the data accommodates it.
  • If you are doing a mobile demo be cognizant of the resolution you are using.
 Step 3: 30 minutes - Save & Publish
  • Save the document in a place that QlikView Server will see it
  • Setup a distribution (great if you can do a loop/reduce example)
  • Show app in the Access Point and how the end-user would see it.
  • Demo self-service.
  • Pull out your iPad.  Even better - have the customer use theirs! Demo mobile .
Step 4: 10 minute summary and next steps!   or.....Sign here _____________