Thursday, August 28, 2003

Why Enterprise Models Can Help Improve Your Performance

Financial modeling, marketing modeling, activity based cost models, simulations, production models -- they have all been popular since computers started to get widely used in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Buzz words get invented faster that the average manager can keep up but one useful class of models is the "enterprise model". I consider an enterprise model a tool that can help a manager improve his performance by modeling connections and complexity that he cannot model by him or her self. A typical model will look at optimizing the choices and spotting connections that are not easy to address without the help of a tool.

Generally, an enteprise model is characterized by being able to be:

1. Set up quickly.
2. Modified easily.
3. Based up on operational data, but able to abstract operational data into modellable data.

Spreadsheets are one approach, but larger organizations need to look at more capable and robust models. Alacrity Results Management from Cherniak Software at is one such model. It offers the following abilities:

1. Information warehouse class scalability.
2. The ability to provide Business Activity Monitoring or BAM as Gartner now calls the class of software.
3. Modeling and reporting capabilities that can be changed easily.

ARM is unusual in that it can represent enterprise models that traditional technologies such as OLAP (on line analytical processing or multi-dimensional information marts) and relational databases have a hard time representing.

OLAP tools like Hyperion, tend to experience run away growth (or exponential growth) as you try to link too many things together. And they get very slow as a result.

Relational databases e.g. SQL databases such as Oracle or DB2 or SQL-Server have a hard time representing complicated (many-to-many) relationships. They get very slow when the problems become complicated.

ARM is based upon state of the art object database technology but is end-userized to make it accessible to a trained analyst who does not have to be a DBA.

It's very powerful. Take a look at it on my web site at the section on Performance Reporting.

If your OLAP tool is so big that it has to be divided into smaller models. If you can't quite get the information you need out of your databases, then look at ARM. It's an order of magnitude less expensive, can be maintained without a DBA and scales better than traditional technologies. And it can integrate operational and decision support data.

Alistair Davidson

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