MODERN ARCHITECTURE PROPOSAL FOR BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE/REPORTING SOFTWARE SYSTEMS

laurelsandwichSoftware and s/w Development

Nov 25, 2013 (3 years and 6 months ago)

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MODERN ARCHITECTURE PROPOSAL FOR B
US
I
NESS
INTELLIGENCE
/REPORTING SOFTWARE SYS
T
EMS



Cătălin Strîmbei

“Al.I.Cuza” University of Iasi, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration

Iaşi/Romania

linus@uaic.ro



Abstract


The main
concern

of this paper cons
ists into

an

analy
sis of

how the MDA
-
based approach
and associated frameworks will affect the architecture, design and implementation of business
information system from the Business Intelligence and/or reporting category.
Also, one of the
m
ost critical pe
rspective of the

analysis context take
s

into consideration the modern form to
provide such business systems
as on
-
line services so that the broadcasting and acceptance to
be as effective as possible.


Keywords

Business Information Systems, Business Intel
ligence and Reposting Software,
Modelling Driven Approach, MDA, Service Oriented Architecture, SOA



1.

INTRODUCTION

AND

PROBLEM STATEMENT


Research
context

target
ed

by this work paper
is related to
management

information
systems in general

and business
repor
ting

sub
-
systems in particular.
Our main goal
is to
foresee

the extension of business intelligence research area towards emergent
methodologies and tools like model
-
driven software engineering and architecture,
enterprise engineering and modelling, service
-
oriented architectures, advanced web
componentization etc.


Actual

state of the art


methodologies and technologies
allow
building reporting
and advanced
-
reporting applications as versatile business intelligence services
:




versatile

as high customizable
functional architecture that will
allow to
define and customize business intelligence functionality in different
components
ready to be easily integrate
d

in a very flexible manner

with
other inner components or to be exported as specific BI
-
related functio
ns;




services

to deliver
BI
functionality on
-
line and to divide monolith
functionality in different components
(see
versatile

objective) in order to
integrate with other customer
-
provided business intelligence modules.


Our view
,

on minimal

set of

constrai
nt
s

to
allow

proliferation of such functional
business intelligence
architectures
,

concerns the following features
:



d
ata

source standard models and formats
;



w
eb
-
available

and accessible services (open
web protocols like RESTfull
services
)
;



o
pen source appr
oach of full
stack of products
;



h
igh declarative customization using UML notations and formats plus
business rule engine as main vehicle

to inte
grate

client or user
specifications in customized final BI products.



2.

PLA
T
FORM DESIGN PRINCIPLES AND APPROACH


In the last 4
-
5 years it seems to be a big comeback of management reporti
ng

software applications reshaped as
business intelligence suites
. This consistent trend
comes from commercial production houses, but also from open source initiatives.



Figure 1.

B
usiness Intelligence Stack


Most important commercial products come from leading enterprise
-
resource
-
planning software providers as SAP, IBM or Oracle. Among this kind of BI tools
can be enumerated:



IBM Cognos,;



SAP Business Objects,;



Oracle Business Intel
ligence Suite
.


Because of high initial prices to acquire and of high supporting costs later on for
maintenance, these commercial products are affordable only for
wealthy customers
that can assume high risks also. This way
,

small and mid
-
size company becam
e
potential market segment targeted by
open
-
source BI projects. Among these kind of
projects can be enumerated at least:



JasperReports and JasperSoft BI
,



Eclipse BIRT
,



Pentaho
.


Open source project often are build in such
a
way that they can be combined or

integrated with other open source projects
. In this manner
,

full
-
fledged BI suites can
be achieved. Anyway, a common architecture for a BI software stack can be
presented as in figure 1.


Such architecture encourages a well
-
integrated but proprietary pla
tform.
This
approach is deliberately chosen by commercial providers because
it
create
s

a bigger
dependence
for the customer
.
On the other side, open source projects are not so
-
well
integrated per se, but

are

deliberately build to be integrated with other
products and
systems so that their functionally could be leveraged to almost reach
their
commercial rivals
’ feature set
.


Our
goal

is to continue and
to
augment open source initiatives
using their

open
-
integration perspective and already
-
built functionalit
y. In figure 2 we have tried to
synthesize this vision. In short, our perspective is related to
integration of
services
and components
with

inner and external BI products and functionalities.










Figure
2
.

Business Intelligence Service
-
based archite
cture



The g
uiding functional principles

of
our

BI vision
,

presented in figure 2
,

are related
to:



Business Intelligence as
a
Service Oriented Platform

to support:



e
xternal data source integration (client

orient
e
d

protocol)
;



v
arious
BI report
publishing fo
rmats
, like:



p
ortal
web
-
View
;



c
ommon export printing
-
ready

files: XLS, PDF
;



c
ommon
export file
s

to

allow

restor
ation of the

presentation
-
v
iew on
customer
-
side or other target side
;




c
loud
-
host
ing
-
based

services
, as a
combination
s of

the following
functi
onalities:



s
torage for inner BI data structures

[S]
;



p
rocessing power for BI (ETL) data transformation rules
(or procedures)

[P]
;



BI Reporting
v
isuali
sation portal with different w
eb
presentation
technologies: HTML (HTML5),
AdobeFlex/Flash, JavaApplets (li
ke JFreeCharting) [V]
;




c
lient oriented customization
workflow

to define
:




e
xternal data source access (based on standard SQL and
OMG data
models
)
;



BI
s
pecific
p
rocessing rules (based on business area oriented
templates)
;



r
eporting
o
utput
p
resentation
f
orm
at
;



r
eporting
o
utput
e
xporting
f
ormat
,
based on standard
formats,
coded as XLS or

XML
,

and
specialized in different business area
document templates,
like
XBRL
.


The service
-
oriented architectural variants can be designed as:



complete BI

Services
,

PSV
:



pro
cess external source data, store BI data structures resulted, and export
reporting output in different portable formats
, PS;



external processing of source data, store BI data structures resulted, publish
reporting output using different presentation techno
logies
, SV.



3.

IMPLEMENTATION TOOLS AND FURTHER
DEVELOPMENT
S


To achieve the building of
such service oriented and highly integrable BI stack , we
assume that there are

most of

the

necessary implementation tools. They came from
five sources: Model
-
Driven Ar
chitecture and Design, SOA as Service Oriented
Architecture standards and specification environments, business rules engines and
reporting and web authoring tools.


An effective
MDA
b
usiness
c
omponent
g
eneral
m
ethodology

for this kind of BI
architecture mu
st take into account:



Business Transformation Meta
-
Rules
;



UML meta
-
models;



Standard (m
ostly

SOA) connectivity to integrate
:

o

p
eer
-
to
-
peer (collaboration)

components
;

o

layered
(up
-
layer service)

components.


An effective
MDA
b
usiness
c
omponent
s
pecific
m
ethod
ology

for

this kind of BI
architecture must
be concerned of the following issues:



d
ata source integration components
;



d
ata processing (ETL) components
;



p
ublishing
info
-
components
as

o

Web
-
presentation

components
:

HTML ajaxified (JSF,
ApachePivot, Vaan, GWT),

AdobeFlex, JavaFx and JavaApplets
(like JFreeChart based)
;


o

r
eport
s

in popular formats like XLS or plain XML
.


The final outcomes from implementation of propose
d BI

architecture

can consist

in:



(at least) a p
latform and API

to define and integrated custom
ized BI
components
,
covering all types: data source components, data processing,
components, publishing components
, and

based on open
-
standards
: UML
-
MOF, BPMN
-
BPEL, JPDL etc.;



I
ntegrated
D
evelopment
E
nvironment

based on MDA (
dedicated to
roll
down meta
-
mod
els and models)
;



A p
ortal
site template that can be used to centralize management, access BI
individual services and publish customized BI reports. These portal
s

must
be accompanied with:

o

a

s
tart
-
up configuration guide and documentation
,

o

a

c
loud
-
based depl
oyment or configurable distribution pack
,

o

t
he
(
o
pen
)

source code to
sustain platform evolution

o

a

c
ommunity or client
-
based social platform
.




BIBLIOGRAFIE



[1]
Larissa T. Moss

(Author),

Shaku Atre

(Author)
,
Business Intelligenc
e Roadmap:
The Complete Project Lifecycle for Decision
-
Support Applications
,
Addison
-
Wesley
Professional

[2]
Efraim Turban
,

Ramesh Sharda
,

Ja
y E. Aronson
,

David King
,
Business
Intelligence
, Prentice Hall, 2007

[3]
Anneke Kleppe
,

Jos W
armer

,

Wim Bast
,
MDA Explained: The Model Driven
Architecture(TM): Practice and Promise
, Addison
-
Wesley Professional
, 2003

[
4
]

***, Cognos presentation,
http://www
-
01.ibm.com/software/data/cognos/

[
5
]

***, SAP Business Objects presentation


ht
tp://www.sap.com/solutions/sapbusinessobjects/index.epx

[
6
]
***, Oracle Business Intelligence Suite Presentation,
http://www.oracle.com/us/solutions/ent
-
per
formance
-
bi/business
-
intelligence/index.html

[
7
]
*** Jasper presentation
,
http://jasperforge.org/
,
http://www.jaspersoft.com/

***
Eclipse BIRT

presentation
,
http://www.eclipse.org/birt/phoenix/

***
Pentaho
,
http://www.pentaho.com/