How biGENIUS helped build a data warehouse for production, providing flexible evaluation of large amounts of data without disrupting operational applications.
A large motor vehicle manufacturer based in Germany.
Employees are constantly dependent on data from internal systems. For example, they must be able to query information on production orders, quality measurements and material availability. Whether this information is informative and understandable, however, depends largely on how the data is prepared and provided. Inadequate data up-to-dateness can lead to errors if employees do not have the data they need to correctly complete their tasks in a timely manner. With business intelligence solutions, too, current data is a prerequisite for making decisions based on the correct information. In a company, a lot depends on the provision of data - from efficiency and susceptibility to errors to the basis for planning for decision-makers.
An automotive manufacturer has therefore looked at new technologies for how their data can be processed and made available with little effort in such a way that it is provided at the right time, of the right quality and in the right format wherever it is needed. Employees in production should be able to access the relevant information as quickly and easily as possible. Connecting the self-service BI tool (QLIK) directly to the operational data sources of the production applications was out of the question. As a result, the automotive manufacturer decided to set up a new data warehouse specifically for production, which serves as a data source for the BI tool. To implement the data warehouse, a Microsoft SQL server was chosen as a cost-effective and proven platform within the IT department. In order to avoid costly, time-consuming and error-prone manual programming, the automotive manufacturer started looking for alternatives.
They found what they were looking for with their long-standing partner Trivadis (Trivadis is now part of Accenture - read about biGENIUS Spin-Off 2021), who developed their own data warehouse automation tool with biGENIUS®. The smart data automation tool biGENIUS® is able to generate the entire data warehouse fully automatically, from the connection of the data sources (operational applications) to the data provision for reporting. The tool generates transfer tables (staging area layer) in the SQL server to the connected data sources, transfer procedures for collecting the data from the source systems, preparing them, saving them in the SQL server (ODS and core layer) and providing them to the BI tool (mart layer). In this way, the copied data can be visualised via the dashboards of the BI tool. Due to the procedures generated by the biGENIUS® generator, these data copying and data preparation processes take place automatically in so-called execution plans and thereby always guarantee that the data is up-to-date and the data quality is in accordance with defined specifications for each data object. Errors in the data supply can be detected and rectified in good time via monitoring.
In order for the necessary data to be made available in the data warehouse in good time, the biGENIUS® users work closely with the individual departments of the automotive manufacturer. New data sources or new data objects are first connected in the development environment and then in the test environment. After approval by the department, the changes are then imported into the productive environment and the periodic loading jobs are set up. In this way, all data requirements of the departments involved have been gradually met. In addition to selecting and generating the interfaces for the relevant data for the individual areas, the frequency at which this data can be updated, provided and retrieved was also decisive. The loading jobs are scheduled as required; where appropriate and desired, even at intervals of one minute. The automotive manufacturer currently uses these short-cycle data updates in logistics, where open transport orders from a certain area are displayed on large screens on the ceiling
1. Large amounts of data can also be quickly evaluated by the data warehouse without disrupting operational applications. For the departments, this means that prepared data copies are automatically available to them and at an update frequency required for their analyses. On this basis, they are able to make faster and more targeted decisions and work more efficiently. According to the automotive manufacturer, this is reflected in higher customer satisfaction.
2. The simple connection of the data sources to the data warehouse and the data visualisation in the QLIK dashboard enabled additional and flexible evaluation of their data for the employees. They can now access all relevant information interactively and with just a few clicks, select according to certain criteria and, with biGENIUS®, are able to model new data sources in the data warehouse and evaluate them with QLIK.
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