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Addressing technology reporting and performance problems in non-profit organization

I am Director of CRM Business Applications for a non-profit organization. We have implemented at our organization Siebel and Business Objects (for reporting). We are currently challenged with reporting in a couple of ways. Because Business Objects is ad hoc, most of our operational reports have been built in an analytic tool. In addition, we clone the Siebel environment for Business Objects twice a week to get near time data. We are challenged with real-time because the clone takes 17+ hours to complete. We are also experiencing performance problems within Business Objects partially due to volume (we have 47+ million contact records, 90+ asset records, etc.). I assume we are not unique in the problems we are faced with...so my question to you is do you have any recommendations on how we go about fixing our problems? Could it be the reporting tool we selected? Have you heard of similar problems with Business Objects from other organizations? What would you say the industry standard is for cloning data and the tool for users of Siebel? Can you recommend any other resources that I can continue researching? Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

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Your volume size is large so don't discount that factor in everything you do. I don't know what your overall data size is, but I would imagine it is up around a terabyte or so. Much advice you will read doesn't apply to those implementations with large volumes so doing a vanilla implementation won't work.

Cloning is problematic and never recommended - not even for small-scale warehouses. Moving changed-only data is always recommended. You should extract from Siebel ONLY records that have changed since the last Siebel extract. This will take a fraction of the 17 hours and is more standard. By moving changed-only data at whatever interval you can - perhaps daily - you begin the process of moving towards more frequent loads. You could then perhaps run that ETL cycle intra-day and more frequently until it meets your real-time requirements.

Since you have said that the ETL cycle time is the issue, not query performance, I don't know if you have query performance problems related to your Business Objects setup.

You move the data to a DBMS, not "to" Business Objects. If you are having query performance problems, the vast majority of those are solved with DBMS (and below - operating system, hardware enviroment, etc.) tuning, not Business Objects tuning.

This was first published in December 2004

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