NiSource Gas Distribution
Business Intelligence/Data Warehouse
In early 2010, NiSource Gas Distribution (NGD) embarked on an initiative to address the growing need for a Business Intelligence team. Source system data existed on different platforms and were difficult to access in a timely manner. Reports were generated by various groups and resources specific to the systems they supported.
Reporting tools consisted of EZTrieve, Excel, and Cognos 7 directly against operational source system data and mainframe file extracts. There was no established Data Warehouse in place. In addition, reporting was tactical in nature and the scope was primarily limited to supporting the Operations Department within NGD
Establish a structured Business Intelligence environment and team within NGD to support the following goals:
- Improve access in scope and speed to market with actionable information from source systems required to run the business.
- Promote transparency of data and reporting from which to report against (Data Warehouse/Data Marts).
- Eliminate the negative system and performance impact of directly accessing operational data for reporting.
- Provide for cross-departmental (Operations, Planning, Engineering, and more.) reporting and analysis with a combination of tactical and analytical reporting.
Strong technical expertise and vision was critical to the success of the initiative without a B.I. infrastructure and tools that didn’t meet the current needs.
NGD partnered with HMB in May, 2010, initially with the addition of a single technical resource to address the Data Warehouse component of the BI environment. Extract, Transform, Load (ETL) tools were identified and the necessary hardware infrastructure was established to support a Data Warehouse DB and ETL processing. A short time later, NGD extended the partnership with HMB and augmented the team with additional Cognos, ETL, and program management resources to keep pace with the growing demand and to take advantage of the BI environment.
HMB remains a partner with NGD today, fully embedded within the Business Intelligence team and providing Data Warehouse/Data Modeling, ETL, and Cognos 10 reporting solutions.
With the constant addition of source data/content to the Data Warehouse, the reporting capabilities, requests, and value to the business continues to increase. Cross-departmental reporting and analysis is a reality. Interactive/analytical reporting has become the focus, with Cognos Dashboards providing real-time analytical capabilities to support the needs of the business. Access to a broader scope of data needed to perform analysis and support decision making is more readily available and easily accessible within the Data Warehouse.