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DSS Methodology
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Methodology: A Critical
Success Variable
Key Advantages of
C-Byte Decision Advantage Methodology
Decision Advantage Methodology Overview
Key Deliverables of Analysis Phase
Key Deliverables of Design Phase
Key Deliverables of Implementation and Testing Phase
C-Byte: Your Partner In Building a Better Business Future
 
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Methodology
For more than five years, C-Byte has been successfully developing and deploying decision support systems (DSS) that link IT investments to business strategy. We’ve built some of the most successful and largest open systems data warehouses in the world. In fact, many of the world’s most powerful corporations depend on us for open high-end, business-driven DSS solutions. The foundation of this trust is C-Byte’s Decision Advantage™ Methodology.

Studies show that the majority of DSS projects fail to deliver value to the business. The major reason for this is the lack of an appropriate delivery methodology. Experience has shown that the best methodologies incorporate three key elements. First, they focus extensively on a carefully constructed architecture to provide a solid foundation for future change and growth. Second, they link this architecture to the specific business requirements. And third, they divide the project into manageable phases, each designed to resolve a specific business problem. C-Byte’s Decision Advantage Methodology delivers on exactly this premise.

Our methodology is regularly evaluated and refined to incorporate best practices and real-world experience. It continues to evolve as we integrate new technologies and practices, such as data mining and metadata, to ensure business needs are met. Through its evolution, C-Byte’s Decision Advantage Methodology has provided the foundation for hundreds of successfully deployed DSS projects.

When you rely on C-Byte as your DSS partner, you leverage our unrivaled expertise in large-scale open systems, our success with leading relational databases, and the exceptional expertise of our professional consultants. As a result, you can rest assured that our technology, our people, and our approach will save you time and money, and maximize the success of your DSS project.

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Key Advantages of C-Byte Decision Advantage Methodology
C-Byte Decision Advantage Methodology distinguishes itself in the following ways:

Business-Driven Focus. First and foremost, our emphasis is on meeting your business objectives. Our business-driven workshop approach is specifically designed to deliver an integrated solution based on the analysis of your business requirements. Developed in consultation with industrial psychologists, our requirements-gathering approach ensures that the DSS is built to address specific business questions, while at the same time creating an ongoing relationship with the user community. This “ownership” by users is critical to the success of the DSS.

Rapid, Iterative Approach. Our methodology takes an iterative approach to DSS analysis, design, and implementation phases. We build the data warehouse in a phased manner by focusing each implementation cycle on a specific business area, such as finance or marketing. Our emphasis on rapid application development enables the initial model to begin providing business benefits in three to six months. Conversely, because we build solutions that scale to meet increasing functional, data and user requirements, you won’t need to redesign your DSS solution as your business needs change. This approach enables a quick return on your investment, broad flexibility, and convenient cost-scalability.

Sponsorship. A DSS project succeeds only if it impacts the business via process efficiencies, process changes, and process additions. However, employees may resist these changes unless the implementation is well-managed. Decision Advantage specifies the appropriate sponsorship to drive project success by ensuring that these changes are accepted by the user community and by guiding the project through potential roadblocks.

Collaboration and Skills Transfer. The DSS solution is implemented by a joint C-Byte/customer project team that shares responsibility and ownership. Working side by side, we pass the essential methodology elements and best practices on to our customer. The result is not only effective skill transfer and an operationally effective DSS solution, but also an organization capable of building and expanding future DSS projects independently.

Future-Proof Solutions. Business requirements, technologies, users’ skills and users’ expectations are constantly changing. Therefore, ensuring that the DSS solution serves not just your current, but also your future business requirements is a complex task. Through the requirements-gathering, analysis and design processes, the methodology addresses the key causes of system inflexibility. We derive DSS requirements by working from consistent themes, such as your business strategy, drivers, and processes. By then applying well-proven design techniques and scalable technologies, the DSS solutions we build allow for future growth.

Change Management. DSS and OLTP systems differ in many ways—especially in the way they are used. Once an OLTP system is implemented, its use is mandatory in order to perform the work that it automates. DSS systems, on the other hand, are ?informational? and thus optional tools for knowledge workers to use in making decisions. Our Decision Advantage Methodology facilitates change management by promoting user involvement and ownership, and guides the business process adjustments necessary to take information and turn it into actionable decisions.

An Open Approach Through Partnerships. Collaborating with leading technology partners, we augment our expertise and methodology with a comprehensive best of breed suite of tools. Our partnership approach involves cross-training, understanding of the architecture of the major technology components, and the appropriate fit of the technology within the DSS solution.

Risk Mitigation. By successfully incorporating best practices from scores of complex DSS implementations, we navigate the DSS implementation through all the pitfalls typically encountered in these complex projects. We apply our extensive knowledge of relational databases, such as Oracle8®, Informix®, and complementary technology components. This knowledge base, combined with definite milestones and deliverables for each project phase, minimizes the risk of your DSS project and ensures consistent, predictable results.

 

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Decision Advantage Methodology Overview
A Methodology Based on Business Benefits
C-Byte’s Decision Advantage Methodology exploits our unrivaled depth and breadth of experience in the rapid, effective implementation of open, scalable DSS solutions. By focusing on the business problems and ensuring that the requirements analysis and design are based on the tenets of change and growth?the two elements that invariably contribute to the failure of DSS projects—we ensure that the implementation is successful in meeting your current and future business needs. This proven approach consists of the following iterative steps: Analysis, Design, and Implementation. Once the business and technical elements are addressed to the satisfaction of the business and IT communities, the Decision Support System is deployed. Your IT organization is able to deliver quick wins within an overall enterprise infrastructure, leveraging C-Byte’s approach.

The four key phases of our methodology reflect a proven approach to a successful DSS solution, with each phase designed to deliver compelling business and technical benefits.

Analysis Phase—Understanding Your Business and Information Requirements
The analysis phase employs innovative workshop and interview techniques to identify and document the business and technical requirements of your DSS project. Our highly trained facilitators and interviewers work closely with your key personnel to pinpoint the key business issues and data access requirements that will become the foundation for subsequent DSS design steps. The key benefits of this approach are:

Involving users in the process
Establishing ownership within the user and IT communities
Building consensus and generating enthusiasm

Diagram

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Key Deliverables of the Analysis Phase
Business requirements document
An extensive findings document, incorporating
  User requirements
  Infrastructure requirements
  Data requirements

C-Byte’s approach identifies a project sponsor who will take ownership to ensure that your DSS initiative is fully supported by both business and IT departments.

Design Phase—Building a Customized Solution
The design phase of C-Byte’s Decision Advantage Methodology builds on the sound foundation developed during the analysis phase. Integrating a DSS solution’s technical, architectural, and business components is a key consideration as C-Byte works with you to design the system. Business users continue to be involved throughout the design phase. Users develop definitions for data and business terminology, which then form the basis for metadata capture. The resulting system is easy for them to understand, since it uses the terminology they know. This phase concludes with efficient and high-performing database design, data extraction and loading mechanisms, and user interfaces.

The design phase of our methodology is divided into four components to ensure the consistency and continuity of your business, technical, and data requirements throughout the DSS development process. These components are end user design, data engineering, schema design, and warehouse management.

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Key Deliverables of the Design Phase
Source data analysis
Data extraction and transfer analysis
Logical schema (business dimensional data model)
Physical schema design
Data engineering architecture
Technical architecture diagram
End user interface design

Implementation and Testing Phase—Building a Scalable, Robust System
The steps involved in implementation reflect the same criteria as the design, but are more tightly linked with the system and integration testing of your DSS solution.

The primary steps of the implementation phase include extraction implementation, data loading, metadata implementation, application development and implementation, and finally, data warehouse implementation. The emphasis in this phase is on the use of tools and techniques to build a flexible, scalable and performant infrastructure. Extensive documentation and metadata capture provide additional investment protection by making changes easier to implement.

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Key Deliverables of the Implementation and Testing Phase
Design documentation
Implementation documentation
Test plan
Test results
Training plan
Scalable, performant, robust DSS, which includes:
  User applications
  Hardware and software platform
  Performant database

Deployment Phase—Realizing Business Benefits
Our iterative approach and the emphasis on rapid application development in our Decision Advantage Methodology shortens the timetable for deployment, making it possible for your users to begin answering business questions as soon as possible. This focus on a “quick win” helps your company realize a swift return on its IT investment.

The deployment phase comprises the rollout of the DSS to your entire organization. Users now have operations and procedures at their disposal that are based on our years of expertise in managing complex open systems. The deployment phase includes the ongoing monitoring of the applications and the formal acceptance of the DSS. For maximum performance and business benefits, C-Byte recommends that the functionality of your DSS solution and its adoption by users be monitored on a regular basis.

As each DSS solution is deployed, a sound business solution is provided for a specific, high-value business need that was established in earlier discovery stages. This incremental approach to implementation ensures that each of your business solutions is fully functional before the next phase begins. Each phase thus increases the cumulative business value of your DSS.

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C-Byte: Your Partner in Building a
Better Business Future

Decision Advantage Methodology draws from the proven tools and techniques of C-Byte’s Professional Services organization. Our expertise accumulated from the Thinker graphic delivering scores of decision support systems helps ensure that our customers realize a rapid return on their investment. Even with all our experience, however, we are the first to admit that building a DSS solution is a complex endeavor. Studies have shown that many decision support projects fail to meet their stated objectives, and that a large number of the projects begun are never completed.

To eliminate the risk of failure, make sure your DSS project begins with C-Byte. We’ve built more than a hundred successful data warehouses, including some of the largest in the world. At C-Byte, our business is your success. We bring to the table our broad-based understanding of your business information needs and our extensive knowledge of how DSS technology can be exploited for competitive advantage. You can’t ask for a better, more experienced partner.

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