MACRO Case Study – International Client BI Portal
Operational across 4 continents, Macro provides strategic and tactical facilities management services on projects as diverse as Invesco’s property portfolio, to running the operation of the Emirates Air Line.
A wholly owned subsidiary of Mace, the international consultancy and construction company; Macro needed to provide their clients with a single system where they could securely log in, view and interact with their data that was automatically integrated from various line of business systems. The system needed to be accessible from external client sites at worldwide locations and be content driven based on the logged in user.
Client managers need the ability to administer various parts of the system for their own departments, view dashboards of reports & be directed to areas of problematic data. They then needed the capability to compile end of month reports and summaries, and assign tasks & actions to staff members based on data discovery.
All of this functionality needed to be provided in an easy to use system that didn’t require high level training to use.
Dolphin Networks Solution
To meet the requirements of the system, Dolphin Networks designed a business intelligence application developed on SharePoint 2013 and hosted in Microsoft Azure Cloud. Cloud hosting meant that access by all clients both internal and external to the company could be easily achieved via a secure forms based authentication logon. The speed to market that can be achieved from cloud hosting also meant that the whole solution was delivered to the client within 3 months.
SharePoint 2013 was the perfect platform to develop this application with built in features such as business intelligence, search, work flow and security. This meant development time was minimised and licencing costs were absorbed by the company’s existing volume licencing agreement.
SQL Server 2012 was the obvious choice for the data warehouse backend to drive ETL with Integration Services & reporting with Reporting Services, including Analysis Services for multi-dimensional reporting and fully interactive user data analysis.
How it works
On a nightly schedule the ETL packages collect data from the various line of business applications and merge that data into a SQL Server hosted data warehouse, specifically designed to offer historical reporting, trend analysis and to provide a fast and content rich schema for reporting and dashboards. Analysis Services Cubes are used to provide fast interactive multi-dimensional reporting.PrismScreengrab2
SharePoint Server 2013 provides the custom development platform using Performance Point, SSAS & SSRS to build informative dashboards and reports. SharePoint built-in features also make it possible for each user to have a personalised experience allowing them the permissions they need to access various parts of the system and only see the data relevant to them.
Interacting with reports and providing custom data analysis is all part of the business intelligence functionality offered by the Microsoft BI features, but at a significantly lower cost than most vendor BI apps.
The system delivered to Macro by Dolphin Networks allows their clients to explore their data, create their own analysis and then add comments to dashboards around their findings or assign tasks to other team members for action.
Dolphin Networks has been instrumental in the development of our online SharePoint hosted BI reporting platform, consistently bringing new ideas and processes to us that have enabled the implementation of a new and effective system across our global business. They are responsive to any issues, offering quick resolutions or clear plans on improvements. The value they bring to the project is extensive and we have been fortunate to have them on board as part of this project and into the future.
Philippa Beale, Macro