Discover why the Faroese Home Rule is more effective at systematically streamlining operations and how your business can utilize its efficiency.

by Eyjólfur Gislason

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There is a discrepancy between the large amounts of data that exist in your organization’s databases and the information you can see on your screen.

In traditional management information systems, you are forced to accept an uncomfortable compromise. Either you have only aggregated data, which gives you a reasonable response time, or you have detailed data in the system at a significant reduction in response time.

In almost every major management information system, it takes more time than necessary to retrieve useful information at your screen. Your underlying IT systems are simply too slow to be able to give you a streamlined, intuitive user experience. This is because it is surprisingly difficult to build a responsive interactive system that gives you easy access to the management information/data you want on both an aggregated and detailed level.

Today’s Users

There are three trends that currently run together, and to satisfy all three will require a breakthrough in the way management information is provided.

The first of these trends is that organizations live under ever-increasing pressure to become more efficient. They have to find new opportunities for better efficiencies, savings, and the need to manage effectively within tight budgets. This requires leaders to become even better at keeping track of spending and budgets at all levels of the organization.

The next of these trends is that people increasingly want and demand self-service access to management information and data. They do not want a complicated system they cannot figure out. They desire simple and user-friendly systems they can use without much training in their daily work.

The third of these trends is that today, people are becoming increasingly impatient. They are used to fast information. They do not have the patience to wait a long time for a web page to load or for a Google search to run. A typical Google search takes 0.2 seconds, and a typical web page loads in 2.5 seconds, on average. Users want this with everything.

Can we provide management information so quickly? (Here’s where Faroese Home Rule enters the discussion.)

Take, for example, Faroese Home Rule, which is a governmental organization that manages a population of 48,000 people (we’re talking about the Faroe Islands, for those who don’t know).

The government has a budget of about 5 billion Danish kroner, about the same size as the budgets in the larger Danish municipalities, such as Roskilde and Slagelse. The population base is the size of the population base in medium-sized Danish municipalities, such as Kalundborg, Ballerup, and Lyngby-Tårnbæk. In the Faroe Islands government, there are roughly 80 managers who are responsible for budgets ranging from 1 million up to 3.4 billion Danish kroner. These managers maintain the various monetary allocations, such as social pensions, hospitals, schools, roads and ports, etc. One of the institutions, Gjaldstovan (the Payment Office), administers a common, centralized accounting system for all home rule institutions.

From this centralized accounting system, information is transferred daily and loaded into a management information system. In the management information system of the Faroese government, there are 623,130 tables.

Friday, 6 December, 2013

Let’s look at the speed of the system. December 6, 2013 was a normal day for the management information system in the Faroese government.  This day, users issued 5,168 queries; 4,942 of these were answered immediately in less than one second. This corresponds to 95.6% of the total number of queries; 194 queries were answered almost immediately with response times between 1 and 4 seconds. This equates to 3.8% of the queries. Only 32 of the questions were answered slowly, meaning that response times were between 4 and 53 seconds; this corresponds to 0.6% of the queries. None of the 5,168 inquiries had response times that exceeded 53 seconds.

The average response time for the immediate inquiries was 0.2 seconds. The almost instantaneous average time was 1.7 seconds, and the slow average was 10.6 seconds. Needless to say, in most cases, speed and data volumes are linked so that if large amounts of data are to be accessed, it usually requires more time than if only small amounts of data are to be accessed (which makes logical sense). However, these speeds were almost previously unheard of.

Why so fast? The Faroese government uses Teldware, which was awarded US Patent #8676772.

The Teldware software enables you to break away from the usual dependency between data volume and response time. These techniques of Teldware promise to revolutionize the entire data warehouse and business intelligence industry, which for decades as has struggled with problems that now are solved with Teldware. These problems include complex ETL (extract transform load) processes, which usually have taken away 80% of the implementation cost of BI solutions, slow the update speed in refreshing data in a data warehouse, and slow query time in querying a data warehouse.

When Teldware hits the market, no one can really know for sure what the effects will eventually be. Often, an invention can unleash a cascade of innovation that the original innovation enables. Teldware enables consistently fast response, which is ideal for interactive use. This, in turn, enables new forms of interactive navigation not previously seen and which are implemented in the business information system of Gjaldstovan.

 

In addition, by using the techniques of Teldware, you will be more effective at systematically streamlining operations; you will be able to do away with running reports and replace them with an interactive user experience where every display is produced on the fly. Thus, you can do away with prescheduled reports (and the time it takes to manually create them).

You can also do away with distributing reports via e-mail, as each user can get the data they need on demand directly from the frontend web application. Cool, huh?

One prevalent problem in data warehouse solutions is the lack of user adoption, which most BI systems struggle with. For the system at Gjaldstovan, user adoption has been unusually good, with 700 active users out of a total number of employees of 5,000. That means 14% of all employees actually use the system. Contrast that to the small handful of users other organizations of similar size have on their BI solution. This is because Teldware is easy to use.

As mentioned earlier, good response time is something you quickly get used to and then expect.

Some Points

The Faroese Home Rule has worked towards and obtained a business information system which:

  • Gives you quick overview (interactive speed)
  • Gives you quick access to details (interactive speed)
  • Is easy to use for ordinary people (14% of all employees actually use the system, which is a very high number.)
  • Gives you extensive navigation options (interactive speed)
  • Gives you context-dependent navigation (interactive speed)
  • Is reliable (99.9% uptime)
  • To a large degree, is self-correcting after errors (due to the simplified extract transform load process, as described in US patent #8676772)
  • Gives you quick access to voucher documents (interactive speed)
  • Shows you forecast(s) for expenses (interactive speed)
  • Gives you the ability to compare expenses and appropriations (interactive speed)
  • Gives you correct results in agreement with source systems (due to the simplified extract transform load process, as described in US patent #8676772)
  • Is relatively quick and inexpensive to implement, adapt, and integrate new data sources (due to the simplified extract transform load process, as described in US patent #8676772)
  • Is simple in troubleshooting
  • Contains a built-in access control that reflects the organization and the chart of accounts (built into the frontend application)
  • Provides a personal home page for each user (generated by the frontend application)
  • Is tailored to the actual account structure in your financial system (build into the frontend application)
  • Does not require installation of software on the user’s PC (utilizes a web-based frontend application)
  • Refreshes the entire underlying data regularly (2-3 times per day)
  • Allows for input of user-defined budgets (built into the frontend application)
  • Provides an overview of how various parts of the system are being used/served by the front end
  • Can be used while the underlying data is being refreshed (as explained in US patent #8676772)
  • Provides a quick and easy way to export data out to a spreadsheet (built into the frontend application)
  • Gives you relevant graphics in a single click (built into the frontend application)
  • Is inexpensive to operate and can easily be adapted to new environments and changes in data (due to simplified robust ETL and centralized frontend application)
  • Includes data from all important data sources (due to continued investments in the system)
  • Is suitable for a complex organization with about 5,000 employees (due to many years of iterative improvements)
  • Maintained and operated by the supplier (due to specialized knowledge)
  • Is developed iteratively using agile development methods (enabled by the techniques described in US patent #8676772)
  • New versions can be installed without disturbing the users (due to the frontend application technology platform).
  • Works as one centralized web application for all users (in order to avoid cross dependencies and keep centralized control)
  • No ad hoc access to data bypassing the centralized application and user control (in order to maintain data security and control)
  • Supports the export of data to external systems from the centralized application (in order to facilitate specialized external needs)
  • Is able to service about 700 active users per day (without resorting to expensive, high-end hardware)

Is the Faroe Islands government’s solution also your solution? We’d be happy to answer that for you with a consultation. Click here to learn more.

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