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Business Analysis
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Business Analysis

A business analyst who truly understands how businesses and I.T. can both work and integrate together is a rare find. Digital Viper offers a business analyst who has experience in Marketing, Operations, Finance, Business Intelligence, Data Warehousing and Project Management within world class companies.

The majority of I.T. specialists in the marketplace are just that – ‘I.T. specialists’.

When running a project you are often sent:

  • An engagement manager – to scope a brief synopsis of the requirement.
  • A business analyst – to interview and document the requirement.
  • A project manager – to manage the technical staff and liaise with the client.
  • I.T. specialists – to do the development (or fixes)
  • The trouble with this approach is that although each individual understands their area, there is often miscommunication between the individuals (remember ‘Chinese whispers’ at school?).

This leads to a delivery that does not match the original requirement. By using one individual who understands the requirement, recommends solution options, documents and delivers the technical solution there is no misinterpretation.

The following matrix outlines the business analysis services offered:

Business Analysis Services

User Interviewing
In order to fully understand the needs of the user audience, interviewing of key users is essential. Users often know what they want but not what they actually need. A good business analyst can guide this process to identify absolute needs rather than wish lists. This service includes the interviewing of users, documentation of indivdual interviews and the common requirement.

Requirement Scoping
After identifying the needs of the user audience, the documented common requirement is available. The Requirement Scoping service embelishes the common requirement by listing areas of scope that should be included or excluded in order to achieve the project/report requirements.

Solution Design
Once the requirement and project scope has been understood and agreed, a solution can be designed to meet the needs of the users whilst staying within the defined boundaries of the scoping document. The solution design service encompasses all areas of the design or selected sections: Source data feeds, Data warehouse/mart design, reporting design, security design, distribution design and system automation design.

Project Planning
The secret to running an efficient project is 90% in the planning. By identifying the tasks that are required to achieve the objective, the individuals and resources needed to fulfil the tasks, where the critical path lies and identifying the qualified risks to the project errors and wasted time can be negated. The project planning service delivers a Microsoft Project plan document in task and gant format. This planning document will be developed in conjunction with a client's staff to ensure consistency and resource availability.

Data Domain Mapping
This service is the sourcing and mapping of the data required by the reports. By identifying what data is required in a report, the data architect can work backwards through the best structure for objects supplying the reports and eventually back to the data that is avilable in the source database itself. The Data Domain map is used for delivery the most efficient object structures for reports, to identify the source and route data takes through transformation and the basis for a data dictionary for the final system. This service is always used when designing data marts and warehouses.

Data Warehouse/Mart design
What data should be held in the datamart? How much data should be held? What is the best structure for my reports? How can I make my reports the fastest possible? What problems will arise if I report against live data? How can I ensure that my designs work with future needs? How can I ensure integrity within my data?

The secret to efficient reporting is in the structure of the underlying database / data mart or data warehouse. This has to be balanced with the level of processing power available, the breadth and depth of data required in the reports and often traded off against the cost of the final solution. This service delivers physical and logical designs to deliver the best suited solution for your organisation's needs.

Reporting / Scorecard / Dashboard Design
This service delivers a design of the required solution in a document or Flash 'mock up' (for an additional charge). The design and acceptance of reporting solutions is usually an iterative process that demands a high level of interaction with client staff. To this end, solution designs can be presented to the client audience on request. This often improves the final soution as the design has the chance to interact directly with users. See the Digital Viper Blog for more details of report types and measures commonly employed in today's leading companies.

System Automation Design
From file transfer automation to Event Studio workflow design and report distribution methods, this service covers all requirements where the system is required to work without intervention.

Security Design
Every organisation has data and information that they don't want to fall into the wrong hands. Security design is split into two areas; Authentication (who are you and what are you permitted to view?) and capability (What are you permitted to use?). By using both methods at different levels of the reporting infrastructure, an efficient, secure solution can be designed to meet all requirements and make administration easy. This service also includes the use of existing corporate authentication providers such as MS Active Directory.

Test Scripting
Regardless of wether system delivery is performed by Digital Viper or by a third party, Digital Viper can provide test scripts that ensure integrity of the solution provided. This service requires access to the system design, objectives and test data.

Performance Check
As part of overall system testing the performance check is a fast method of ensuring that reports, data marts and automation are running at the expected speed.

Unit Testing
System solutions are normally split into 'units' in order to make development easier to control and test. Unit Testing is therefore the active testing of these units to a test script prior to user acceptance testing.

Acceptance Testing
After passing the Unit Tests, the application progresses into User Acceptance Testing. This testing is normally performed by the clients users but can be performed by Digital Viper where the system has not been developed by us. Additionally Digital Viper can assist users in the best way to approach the acceptance testing of the system and how to log and handle snag lists.

Soak/Volume Testing
An optional area of testing which is too often ignored. Soak Testing provides clients with the confidence that the application (and more accurately) the hardware can cope with high levels of requests and high demand. When Soak Testing, Digital Viper will set up automated tests to fire increasing volumes of requests from many different users at the application in an attempt to 'break' the system. This identifies where the system has bottle necks and/or weaknesses.

System Documentation
A generic service which can be tailored to the client's need. Digital Viper can supply system and process documentation for all data mart / warehouse and Cognos based reporting systems to the required level of detail. See the Digital Viper blog for more details of areas and sections of documentation.

BI Health Check
Is your BI and DW system running at optimum strength and speed? Is your security 100%? If you have any concerns it is probably worth having the system checked using this two day service. The service results in a thorough check of the system and a 3 page summary report with recommendations.

3rd Party Design Validation
This service is actually more popular than expected. You have comissioned a consultancy or supplier to design a data warehouse, data mart or reporting solution based upon either the requirements you have sent them or that they have gathered. Digital Viper will supply a snagging list and recommendations for the design in addition to discussing the review in person if required. By using this service you are buying confidence in the design that has been supplied.

Security Review & Documentation
How secure is your reporting? Do you know? Undertake a one day review of your reporting system to find the weak points. Alternatively take the three day option and gain valuable documentation of your security set-up along with recommendations for change and improvement.

Performance Review & Documentation
Most businesses waste captal expenditure on processing power when it isn't needed. The common answer to poor performance is to throw money and processing capacity at the problem. This often isn't the answer as some bottle necks cannot be resolved by a 'cure all' panecea. The Digital Viper performace review will study your chosen applications and supply you with the ammunition to make changes where you and your users will see and comment on the difference. Be assured however that improved performance isn't always an easy fix.

BI / CPM Strategy Planning
A cohesive corporate performance measurement strategy should closely with the overall business strategy. With over 6 years of BI & CPM strategy planning experience Digital Viper can help. This includes the best return per dollar and focusing your resources directly on assisting achievement of your strategic objectives. Although some BI/CPM implementations have a valid reason for zero ROI (soft benefits are normally the justification) the majority should hit a 'sweet spot' where outlay is far exceeded by return.

Best Practice Guidance
Best practice only comes from two places; Experience and the software house supplying the tools employed. Again, with an eviable level of experience, implementations working alongside Cognos and a far too expensive list of courses, Digital Viper can advise your team or business on the best methods to approach an opportunity or requirement. Guidance can be provided by email, phone, webex, telephone conference and of course in person.

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