Minor Enhancement Process for BI Solutions
This article will cover the integration of a business intelligence (BI) minor enhancement process into a BI support team.
The definition between a break fix and minor enhancement in a BI solution is always a grey area. From a business user’s perspective, if a BI report is not showing the expected results then this is a break fix. If the issue raised by the business user is consistent between the technical definition in the BI solution and the BI documentation, then from a BI support team’s perspective this is an enhancement and not the responsibility of the support team.
Obviously, this difference of opinion causes tension, extreme frustration and in the end the BI report usage is impacted.
If you’ve a third party external vendor supporting your business intelligence solution, then a possible solution to this issue is to modify the support contract to include a minor enhancement delivery model.
A suggestion is to include the following in the support contract with the external vendor:
Delivery of X number of break-fixes per calendar month
Delivery of X number of operational changes per calendar month
Delivery of X number of minor enhancements per calendar month
This is when the business intelligence technical solution is not in line with the BI documentation.
This area covers performance improvements and scheduling changes. For example, creation of a secondary index would be classified as a performance improvement and a modification to the BI extraction schedule would be classified as a scheduling change.
As discussed, when the BI documentation aligns with the BI solution but does not meet the BI business user’s requirements.
When putting the minor enhancement process in place, there is many areas that need to be clearly defined and documented:
Scope for Minor Enhancements
Consideration and thought needs to be put in place in determining what is and is not allowed to be classified as a minor enhancement. The scope of changes for a minor enhancement will differ from client to client. From my experience, the scope of minor enhancement in a business intelligence solution was changes to query/report definitions and additional requirements to the reporting layer that the query/report definitions are based off. Any other changes, for example extracting a new field/value from a source system that is not available in the BI solution is out of scope for minor enhancements.
Governance Model for Minor Enhancements
Every client will have their own unique approval and governance model for changes to their BI solution. The minor enhancement process covered in this article is basically enhancements to a BI solution deployed by the BI support team. Once it has been agreed to update the support contract with a minor enhancement process, the scope needs to be defined (point approve) and the scope needs to be approved by the Governance model that is place within the client. Basically, approving the support team to deploy minor enhancement changes to the BI solution.
Please note, this is just approval for BAU team to handle these requests, each individual minor enhancement request still needs the validation and approval of the functional owner of the BI report(s) impacted to ensure that the change is beneficial for the BI business.
Minor Enhancement Effort
I’ve experienced where changes are required to many reports and potentially could not be classified as minor enhancement due to the effort required. To get around this issue, I’ve classified a single change as a multiple minor enhancement delivery. For example, changes to 15 BI reports was required and was deployed under 1 transport. This change was classified as 3 minor enhancements (the external vendor had to deliver 5 minor enhancements a month).
In conclusion, I’ve worked with a client before and after the deployment of a minor enhancement process and have noticed a more positive reaction from the business towards the support organisation once this process has been defined and put in place. Also, the deployment of requests from the business is 75% faster via a minor enhancement process done by the support team compared to a project deployment done by a project team. It’s extremely important that the scope is defined up front and approval is sought from the client’s governance model. Once this is in place, each minor enhancement request needs to be approved by the functional owner of the BI report(s) impacted and ensure the support team has the flexibility to deploy large minor enhancement changes that are in the scope of the minor enhancement process by gaining multiple minor enhancement credits for a single change. In 2017 I’ve deployed 96 BI minor enhancements which is evidence that this model does deliver.
Business Intelligence Solutions Support Survey
If you’re open to contributing, we’d love to hear your views in a survey that we’re conducting.
The survey has 17 questions but we’ve carefully designed and tested it to ensure it can be completed quickly, it should take no longer than 10 minutes.
In return for doing so, we’ll send you a report on the study’s full findings and we think you’ll find the results to be of value to your business.