The case studies from the eleven Jisc-funded projects provide excellent examples of how a range of organisations within the sector are currently engaging with the BI agenda. In addition to these ‘real world’ exemplars we have also prepared a series of composite, ‘generic’ case studies.
These are designed to further illustrate the different paths to a successful BI system that exist (in a few cases they illustrate paths that do not lead to fully successful BI implementations). These generic case studies are designed to demonstrate how BI development paths may be influenced by the context within which they exist, as well as showing how different drivers and organisational choices can lead to advances in the maturity of a BI initiative.
While the composite case studies have been informed by discussions with FE and HE organisations and with vendors, each case study is a composite of different organisations and different vendors. Any resemblance to real persons or organisations is purely coincidental.
The purpose of these composite case studies is to show that there is no ‘single, correct path’ to BI; there is no ‘perfect BI solution’. There are many paths to many solutions. What is important is to find the right route, or routes, for your organisation. Each composite case study is structured according to the levels within our stages of maturity, as defined in the section on ‘building the right team’ and help describe what each of these stages may look like within different types of BI implementation.
We also wish to illustrate that BI is not something that can be done to you or for you. You cannot just purchase a BI system off the shelf or out of the box and view it as a ‘job done’. A successful BI implementation requires hard work, thought and difficult decisions on the part of each organisation – as the following case studies make clear.
Composite case studies
- Varied Vendor approach
In this scenario the organisation continues to house data within existing, separate ‘best of breed’ systems, with data being pulled from them as required to populate a front-end BI dashboard.
- Data warehousing
In this scenario the organisation installs a new data warehouse, integrating data from a growing number of business applications and allowing for data quality issues to be resolved and cross-platform data analysis to be performed.
- BI as an IT project
In this scenario an organisation faces an uphill struggle to sell their chosen BI system to users, mainly due to its failure to see beyond its IT implications or address underlying data quality issues.
- Data definitions
In this scenario the organisation is led by considerations of data quality and starts slowly with focused initiatives aimed at improving the collection and management of data through selected BI tools.
- Single central system
In this scenario the organisation takes a ‘big bang’ approach, using perceived problems with a range of existing systems as the opportunity to rationalise their infrastructure through the procurement of an integrated suite of products from the same vendor.