Sunday, April 24, 2011

When should you use thrid-party MS BI tools and utilities ?

I'm reading: When should you use thrid-party MS BI tools and utilities ?Tweet this !
Most companies would not entertain use of third-party tools and utilities, for the obvious reasons of cost, developer expertise and corporate policies. But it is not that tools should not be used at all, it's just that there should be correct reasons when you should consider the options of using freeware or third-party licensed tools and utilities. Below are some of the reasons in my viewpoint when usage of tools can be justified and considered.

1) Shortage of skills: As an architect or tech lead or team lead or dev lead, you would always want to have "The A Team" for your project. But this is hardly the case if real-life situations. Most IT companies who serve their clients as services / solution provider, houses thousands of employees and it's always a mix of knowledge workers with all the different level of proficiencies in skill sets. For example, for your reporting project where you plan to use SSRS, you might get a Crystal Reports developer who have been trained in SSRS for a week. You might be in a situation that you need to start development instantly and you would have to live with such team composition. At such times, tools can make your life easier and take care of many things that you would not get out-of-box.

2) Time to market: Say you are having a product development project in-house or for a client, more the time you take to release the product in production, more is the loss of business. Developing components in-house is always possible provided one has the luxury of time, but in real-life you would find such projects very rare where you have such luxury. In such cases using third-party products can be a huge catalyst and in many cases it would be the only option. Say you need an ETL component that reads data from Amazon EC2 EBS data store, connect to EBay web services and makes a transaction. Developing such component can take a significantly long time, and third-party components which does the same can be your silver bullet in this case.

3) Development Accelerators: In medium sized companies or in the in-house IT department of an organization, IT staff would be very limited. You might not be in the need of any specialized component that is available only from third-party market, but the set of artifacts that you need to develop would be such huge that it would take lot of hands to complete and manage the task within a given time frame. For example, you intend to create a data warehouse end-to-end solution where you need DW, schema, ETLs, Data Marts, Stored Procs in OLTP etc. All these are regular development artifacts, but if I ask that the data warehouse needs to be delivered in 15 days, however modest the complexity of the solution may be, a modest staff would not be able to complete it. You need a reasonably large team size with a lot of experienced hands. In case you do not have this option, third-party tools can be your rescue boat.

4) Value Addition: For this category, most companies would not entertain tools unless and until they are either free or the technology / product that has been used is seriously paralyzed and some oxygen is required to survive the same. Freewares from community portals like Codeplex can be a huge value addition even if the technologies you are using are up to date. For example BIDS Helper is one of the highly recommended add-on to BIDS, and practitioners know the real value of the same.

I would love to hear your viewpoint on this topic. Feel free to comment on this post or email me your viewpoint.

No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails