REVIEWER: Rod Grey, data modeler/data architect for FHLBank Topeka.
BACKGROUND: FHLBank Topeka is one of 12 federal home loan banks providing a variety of financial services to members, other banks and business associates.
PLATFORMS: Microsoft SQL Server 2005 database management system (DBMS) platform.
PROBLEM SOLVED: We initiated an ongoing data management program (DMP) about a year ago following the deployment of two data marts. We are actively involved in building an enterprise data warehouse and data marts. Embarcaderos ER/Studio Enterprise Edition is my primary tool for the design, creation and management of our semantic, logical and physical data models. I have also become very interested in the creation and application of business metadata to our data management program initiatives. The new ER/Studio Enterprise Portal interests me as an option for making visible and promoting the use of business metadata. Facilitating the communication of data-centric information to our business and technical communities is a primary challenge for the DMP team.
PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: The ER/Studio Enterprise Portal provides a range of functionality enabling self-service exploration of conceptual, logical and physical models created in ER/Studio and shared via the ER/Studio Repository. The home page presents an integrated set of search, browse and reporting capabilities that are intuitive and support drill-down, bidirectional navigation based upon active links. By integrating with the ER/Repository, the ER/Studio Enterprise Portal provides seamless search, access and side-by-side comparison of models that are otherwise maintained in separate files. A user can explore the range of technical and business metadata shared between multiple data models. I expect to leverage the ER/Studio Enterprise Portal support for viewing, printing and emailing diagrams to promote discussion and concurrence around semantic and conceptual models that were difficult to publicize. The custom report builder has a nice range of grouping, filtering and formatting options. Users can save reports in HTML, PDF or Excel formats. The ER/Studio Enterprise Portal provides a set of report templates and integrates with our email system.
STRENGTHS: The easy-to-use search and drill-down capabilities are the strongest features of the ER/Studio Enterprise Portal. Whether for general exploration or a narrow focus, the refinement of search criteria is easy to figure out. The drill-down is well designed and responsive, presenting results in a new window when appropriate and providing bidirectional navigation between result sets that facilitate discovery and exploration. Also, the ER/Studio Enterprise Portal support for the graphical presentation of data model diagrams is key to sharing visual concepts for collaboration on business domains and semantics. ER/Studio Enterprise Portals optimized integration with ER/Studio Repository raises the bar for cross-domain analysis, reporting and communication of data asset characteristics.
WEAKNESSES: The ER/Studio Enterprise Portal only works with models managed in ER/Studio Repository. As such, it is not a complete metadata reporting application. Report layouts are somewhat constrained due to the trade-offs involved in providing a simple interface for a variety of interested parties. This is noticeable in the sizing of windows or columns.
SELECTION CRITERIA: Search results that we are looking for and having an intuitive interface are key requirements when evaluating new reporting tools. The ER/Studio Enterprise Portal delivers on both. The custom report process is well designed for the business user; it provides a solid set of grouping, filtering and constraint options and the ability to drag-and-drop objects into report parameter controls. For the criteria most difficult to satisfy - data model diagram viewing and sharing - the ER/Studio Enterprise Portal is up to the task.
DELIVERABLES: The most important output of the ER/Studio Enterprise Portal is the live links that integrate multiple navigation paths into our business and technical models, facilitating cross-model exploration and analysis. The ER/Studio Enterprise Portal reporting capabilities are a significant improvement over the previous HTML and RTF report formats embedded in ER/Studio. The ability to forward reports or diagrams via email from within the application complements the ER/Studio Enterprise Portals search and reporting capabilities.
VENDOR SUPPORT: Embarcadero staff is always responsive to inquiries regarding licensing, installation and other technical questions. They were also supportive and proactive in providing access to the beta version.
DOCUMENTATION: I found the product functionality to be very intuitive and felt no need to consult a user manual in that regard. Installation documents are adequate.
ER/Studio Enterprise Portal
Embarcadero Technologies, Inc.
100 California Street, 12th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94111
Register or login for access to this item and much more
All Information Management content is archived after seven days.
Community members receive:
- All recent and archived articles
- Conference offers and updates
- A full menu of enewsletter options
- Web seminars, white papers, ebooks
Already have an account? Log In
Don't have an account? Register for Free Unlimited Access