January 25, 2012

Departmental analytics — best practices

I believe IT departments should support and encourage departmental analytics efforts, where “support” and “encourage” are not synonyms for “control”, “dominate”, “overwhelm”, or even “tame”. A big part of that is:
Let, and indeed help, departments have the data they want, when they want it, served with blazing performance.

Three things that absolutely should NOT be obstacles to these ends are:

Reasons they shouldn’t or don’t need to be obstacles include:

One point to remember in support of departmental autonomy is that departments’ views of what data to use may be more expansive than central IT’s. One reason is that important data may be external to the company, outside IT’s natural realm  of concern. Examples of this include but are hardly limited to:

Further, even the more innovative internal data sources are commonly departmental, for example various kinds of multi-structured data (text verbatims from customers, log file data, and so on).

Whatever is true of data management (and ETL) is true for metadata management, even if it’s done by some kind of business intelligence tool. What I mean by that is:

As for the “application development” itself, I’m envisioning at least three things:

I.e., I’m talking about what “analysts” and “quants” do. So to put the point even more simply:

One corollary of this approach is that departments should try to adhere to corporate BI standards, at least for routine dashboard and reporting. Indeed, if a department brings in a business intelligence tool different from the corporate standard, there are three main possibilities:


4 Responses to “Departmental analytics — best practices”

  1. Keith Kohl on January 26th, 2012 11:00 am

    Hi Curt-

    Thanks for the post and I definitely agree with you about that the ETL layer should be easy to implement, deploy and manage.

    In your comment about “something may be lacking in your ETL set-up”, I’m interested to know if you observe anything in particular on a regular basis on the difficulties of ETL?

    –Keith Kohl

  2. Curt Monash on January 26th, 2012 1:17 pm


    I suspect that most alleged difficulties with getting data out of a central data warehouse and into a departmental data mart are due to bureaucratic foot-dragging, not technology.

  3. Departmental Analytics — a "pro-local" approach ? | Oracle Administrators Blog - by Aman Sood on January 27th, 2012 10:53 am

    […] Analytics — a "pro-local" approach ? Curt Monash has posted about Departmental Analytics – best practices.  He is of the view that “corporate standards” should NOT be an obstacle to […]

  4. Departmental analytics — general observations : DBMS 2 : DataBase Management System Services on February 21st, 2012 6:33 am

    […] more, there are IT best practices to support department-level analytics. Some of the key ones boil down […]

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