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Beware of the SPOF

At a recent regional BusinessObjects user group meeting, an attendee from a large healthcare organization was telling me about his background in supporting the system administration of BusinessObjects and how he had become a “SPOF”.

Never having heard this term before I asked him what it meant and he explained it stood for “Single Point Of Failure”! Upon hearing this, I fell in love with the word and have been using it incessantly ever since.

With so many hardware and network platforms, operating systems, databases, applications, tools and Business Intelligence suites, more administrators and support specialists are needed than ever before and this often leads to a lot of “SPOFs “. The truth is that if you assign a single individual to support any application or platform and especially your BusinessObjects environment, you are taking a big risk.

Larger organizations will often have 2 or 3 people trained as BusinessObjects administrators but that will only be effective if all of them are working supporting and managing the environment on an on-going basis and staying current with both the latest software updates and changes to the platform.

A better approach is to have both an internal team and external backup support from a qualified partner consulting company. The internal team should be a minimum of two people but preferably three and they should work as a team supporting the administration and management of the BusinessObjects environment on a daily basis. Depending on the size and complexity of the implementation, this may range from an hour or two a day to as much as four to five hours a day. The tasks of the administrator include user and object security, configuration, performance monitoring and tuning, troubleshooting application and software issues, testing and installing fix packs and software updates and generally keeping the deployment running efficiently and effectively.

The reason for the external backup support is to have a reserve team to bring in and help out when the unexpected happens – things like people leaving, medical leave, vacations, reassignments, major upgrades or major issues. The external backup support team should preferably come from a certified partner who can provide senior qualified BusinessObjects administration experts and who have worked with you before and know your environment. Many organizations will have the external partner perform BusinessObjects health checks on a regular basis to maintain that familiarity with their system. These health checks often take the form of audits, performance tuning exercises or small administration projects and will last typically 3 to 5 days and delivered every 3, 4 or 6 months.

It is wise to avoid the SPOF or you could end up having to deal with a lot of MUD (Multiple Unexpected Downtimes)!


About Paul

Paul Grill, Co-Founder and CEO of Infosol Inc., is an information technology guru with more than 40 years’ experience in the IT industry. Recognized as an industry expert, Paul’s vision is to collaborate and develop long-term global relationships, resulting in the successful implementation of business intelligence solutions. Paul believes a company’s success with Business Intelligence is a combination of data and people’s insights and actions. He believes in the coexistence of technologies. With a strong portfolio of clients ranging from fortune 50 companies, start-ups, and middle market, Paul takes pride in his ability to deliver positive transformations impacting company’s productivity and profitability through the application of business intelligence. He is often heard saying that “data holds amazing nuggets that can be used to create limitless BI solutions that make a difference in people’s lives”. Throughout Paul’s career, he has been a speaker, lecturer, and writer sharing his passion for Information Technology and Business Intelligence. On a personal note, Paul is an avid runner, Tai Chi practitioner, and youth soccer coach. Paul’s curiosity for knowledge expands beyond technology with a passion for Ancient Egyptology and Gorillas.

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