As IT people, we tend to forget the ultimate goal of our job. We are in love with data, architectures and design. And the tools we use are usually not understandable by ‘normal’ people, are they? Tables, queries, indexes, join, metadata: this is something that has a specific meaning for us, but not for them.
This problem explodes / comes up every time we need to interact with people, with the final users of our systems.
I want to tell you a story about an usage we have seen of indyco Builder.
A client of ours was in charge of making an AS-IS analysis on the Data Models of several Business Units in a big company and proposing a TO-BE version of this Model, an integrated one.
She started documenting various existing Data Marts, in terms of ER diagrams and with MS Excel and Visio. But barely acceptable results were achieved: they were hard to read, users needed constant explanations by IT, they were not a real sharable view of what users want. On top of that, the tools were not flexible enough when it was time to change things.
When adopting indyco, in order not to start from scratch, they started using the reverse engineer feature of the Data Marts. Some manual work had to be done, as the design was not ‘up to standard’ :).. but in a few days they were able to present a Conceptual Model of the AS-IS situation.
This had two main benefits: the first one was that the representation of the DFM was so easy to understand that she was able to Project directly the screen of indyco Builder and talk over it. The second was that IT and Business were able to talk using the same language: not tables and keys, but Business Concepts. She was able to apply one of the most powerful Data Warehouse design best practices: co-design with end users.
What was even more powerful was that Business Users started interacting with the Model projected on the wall, and the designers were able to keep up the discussion while directly modifying facts, KPIs, dimensions live on indyco.
Moving from the AS-IS to the TO-BE situation was a matter of 3 short meetings, with everyone (IT AND Business) involved. There was no need to circulate not-understandable documents, no need to go through approval steps.
Faster, cleaner and trustful design best practice: co-design together with your end user!