Stacy Jones’ focus at global shipper UPS is enterprise business intelligence strategy. He works on the IT side in the corporate repository and architecture departments and deals with standards and strategy.

UPS has hundreds of databases, some of which are data warehouses that arrived by acquisition. “We undertook a study to understand what we have, how we’re using BI tools and why,” Jones says. “We found that where data wasn’t in a data warehouse, users who need to access multiple systems can’t leverage our tools effectively. So they were exporting data from an SAP system or Cognos system and then creating spreadmarts with their tools or Excel.”

The undercurrent of the study was that UPS analysts and other users really need self-service agile business intelligence, which Jones and others are charged to fill. While he can’t provide much detail about the system he’s about to roll out, he does say that the work done has brought UPS to the brink of filling that need. 

This in turn will support a budding enterprise strategy in mobility and an architecture that could also carry benefits of data federation and virtualization.

“Something I am a big fan of is rapid virtualization strategy where you can build a BI solution on a virtual layer, deploy it immediately and then decide, if it’s still around in a few weeks, whether you need to move that data to a data warehouse,” Jones says. “It may be that we find a lot of things we never need to put into a data warehouse because they are short-term uses or lose their usefulness. You don’t want to spend more on a data warehouse than makes sense.”

Quotable: “Technologies like federation and virtualization are going to be a big thing, but mobile BI is going to be huge and in everybody’s hand. It’s already a fundamental paradigm shift in the entire IT industry. I embrace change and this is where it’s happening."

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