The single most important consideration with your Business Intelligence Migration

By Joseph Borojevic, Senior Business Intelligence Architect

The single most important consideration with your Business Intelligence Migration

I have been asked time and again, what is the single most important consideration of a successful Business Intelligence migration? Is it data base sizing? complexity of reports? platform architecture? Clients are always surprised by my answer. Corporate buy-in with the understanding the mission-criticality of accurate and timely business information is the most important success factor in any migration. This mission criticality will dictate the size and complexity of your future BI solution and associated effort and methodology of your BI migration and the Management buy-in with ensure the appropriate time and effort can be applied to achieve success.

BI System Architecture Considerations

From a system architecture point of view, the level of BI Systems mission criticality will dictate the degree and required form of system redundancy. Initially we determine future system size based on the current use (if applicable) or by using the BI sizing guide. From that point, for most small to mid size customers, system mission criticality will dictate the architecture and deployment of the BI system.   Increased mission criticality means increased redundancy and failover and this becomes the driving factors in BI system size and architecture deployment. Without an end-to-end understanding and buy-in as to the BI mission criticality, many decisions that will critically affect future BI system performance are made for the wrong reason and with the wrong sizing inputs.

Do all BI systems require a Dev and QA environment?

Depends on the Mission criticality. As a rule of thumb any system that is considered at least marginally mission-critical should have a Development, QA and Production environment along with a security and software development life cycle implementation that ensures each system is actually used. (It may surprise you, the number of times I’ve worked with customers who have Development and QA systems that are simply not used). If your BI systems is considered at least somewhat system mission critical and you do not have a Development or QA environment (that you use), expect problems. In many medium to large size, non-mission critical systems, licensing or hardware costs will dictate the size of your BI system.

Which Methodology is right?

Agile - WaterfallMission criticality will also be a major (but not the only) driving factor to understand the amount of effort and methodology type required for a migration from the old to the new BI systems.   The first method, commonly known as a” Waterfall” or “Big Bang” methodology takes all content from one system and moves it up through the new system in one step very quickly. The second method, an “Agile” or “iterative” migration approach, is used where the BI content is separated into logical groups and then each logical group is moved, tested and promoted from the old, through the new landscape. Generally, with the first method, systems are less mission critical and timelines dictate our milestones. With the second method, content mission criticality is very high and timelines are driven by content testing.   It is important to note that each method (or some combination of the two that works for your particular company needs) can be modified to fit the needs of your company based on mission criticality.

However, unless you understand (and have corporate buy-in) your BI system mission criticality, the wrong migration type or wrong migration type

focus may be used and final migration results may not be acceptable from a timing, cost or success basis.


Joseph Borojevic, Senior Business Intelligence Architect – Performance Analytics Corporation