The World’s largest direct selling company has grown consistently and expanded its network to include millions of independent associates and over 19000 employees across 100 countries. The wide range of products manufactured and distributed by it also continues to expand across nutrition, beauty, personal care, and home products. The company understood that managing such a large and complex operation requires a BI platform with comprehensive reporting and dashboarding capability to support business users and leaders in sales, finance, and audit functions. After an internal review, the company leadership determined the following as key characteristics that they wanted in their BI platform to deliver their business strategy –
● Extensive customizability by developers
● seamless integration and embedding in their home-grown and 3rd party applications
● reduced TCO(Total Cost of Ownership) while supporting expanding scale and complexity
After reviewing the available alternatives and their alignment to their medium to long-term goals, the company decided to convert from their existing Oracle OBIEE environment to Jaspersoft. DataTerrain was chosen as the partner to lead this transition effort based on its established track record for completing such large scale transitions using its proprietary automated approach with emphasizes the following –
● Thorough upfront analysis to identify roadblocks in advance followed by the creation of plans to address them, and ensure accuracy of estimates
● Enabling the right architecture and standardization
● Enforcing best practices based development approach
● Creation of quick prototypes to detect any residual issues early in the process and addressing them before a wider rollout
DataTerrain’s proprietary transition methodology
DataTerrain deployed its proprietary automation-based accelerated transition methodology for this project and adapted to the unique needs of the company. The entire project was executed in 3 major phases as detailed below –
1. Transition assessment and planning – DataTerrain used its home-grown tool to perform a detailed analysis of the existing reports in the source Oracle OBIEE platform. This included –
a. Creation of a detailed list of reports, fields used, object counts, data definitions, dependencies, source code quality, business logic distribution, runtime references
b. Identification of unused objects and redundancies that could be cleaned during transition to simplify the setup in Jaspersoft
c. Creation of documentation on how and where each report was embedded and used on the 3rd party tool, navigation, and flow
d. Clustering the components into smaller, manageable parts for phased transition
e. Deciding detailed technical actions based on the unique characteristics of each cluster and its constituents
Based on the above, detailed estimations were created along with a plan and a consolidated transition plan document was generated with the following contents –
● Transition strategy based on value/effort prioritization
● Detailed target state design including options
● Functional technical improvement of the existing reports during transition to JasperReports®
● Installation, embedding, and configuration plan for JasperReports® application with the 3rd party application and database server
● Detailed project plan with dependencies identified on the company’s stakeholders to plan their availability in advance
The plan was then signed-off by stakeholders from the company and DataTerrain for progressing with the transition.
2. Automated transition and development – DataTerrain’s automation tool was used to convert the source code and objects from Oracle OBIEE to Jasper environment. Some of the major steps involved include –
a. A preparatory phase that involved clean up of redundant objects and code
b. Creation of prototypes covering all major scenarios. These were run based on the project plan and manual intervention was applied where required.
c. Finalization of coding standards and standardized naming conventions for implementation across the repository for all types of reports like PDFs, CSVs, etc. DataTerrain SMEs took a consultative approach to help customer stakeholders through this process and obtained suitable approvals.
d. Automated layouts and data models transition and manual fixes where applicable. Care was taken to ensure that one-to-one transition was handled while retaining the formatting and data.
e. Implementation of priority changes to address critical needs of key stakeholders.
f. Code changes to the 3rd party tool and new business logic as applicable to integrate and embed the converted Jasper reports.
g. Automated testing using DataTerrain’s tool to accelerate quality checks throughout the transition.
3. Validation, acceptance, and rollout – Key stakeholders from the company validated the converted reports embedded on the 3rd party application to complete the acceptance process in the UAT environment. The approved changes were then promoted to production along with appropriate user training. DataTerrain enabled a Train the trainer approach to accelerate user training and adoption.
The customer obtained the following benefits following the transition to Jaspersoft through its engagement with DataTerrain –
● Retention of accumulated knowledge base reflected in the unique formats and presentation of reports in the source system. DataTerrain ensured a one-to-one transition to minimize change and disruption to end-users and ensured that the reports looked and behaved the way the users expected them to in the target system.
● Accelerated transition due to the Global delivery model of DataTerrain which ensured that project tasks continued to be executed round the clock by DataTerrain team members from the global delivery centers
● Standardized, best-in-class Jaspersoft environment set up by DataTerrain SMEs that minimized technical debt and reduced maintenance effort to reduce TCO.
● Creation of a scalable and lightweight platform that creates the foundation for easy integration with numerous modern platforms and data sources
● Enhanced capabilities available to transform decision making with dashboards and data visualization
● Additional flexibility for developers to manage complex layouts, certified documentation requirements, and more.
With its accelerated, automated transition approach DataTerrain has created a future-ready platform that is cost-effective for the customer. The customer is now in a better position to achieve its strategic goals since their new Jaspersoft-based BI platform is well-positioned to help them improve decision making and communication.