Embedded BI is known for being an especially “sticky” class of software. Like other embedded applications, there’s code to integrate and employees to train, but BI gets the bulk of its staying power from the reports, dashboards, and other assets users build in the solution. These documents in their raw form can only be read, opened, and run by the proprietary software that created them, so the natural growth of a report library becomes an increasingly powerful incentive to continue using the product.
But sometimes the value of switching to a new BI tool outweighs the cost of having to migrate all those assets. In those cases, the transition can feel a lot like moving: it’s messy, it’s complicated, and it makes everyone involved at least temporarily irritable. Thankfully, like moving, there are established practices designed to make the experience a little easier. Below are some that can be used when transitioning to Exago BI.
The Gradual Move: Accessing Legacy Reports in the Exago UI
Just as overlapping leases can give you more time to haul boxes, overlapping licenses can give you more time to recreate legacy reports in Exago BI. Many BI companies will give their clients an extended grace period during which to complete the transition. After the license expires, however, those clients no longer have access to the software or its reports.
Re-creating legacy reports using the new BI tool can be a long and involved process, but users still need access to their assets during that period. One option is to give them access to both the legacy and new BI solutions concurrently, but this can pose problems on several fronts. Supporting both solutions in the host application is more technically involved than simply replacing the old with the new, and it can also discourage end user adoption. Those users who do adopt the new platform will likely find it tedious to switch from one to the other in order to read old reports.
To avoid these issues, Exago introduced a way to view HTML renderings of legacy reports through the Exago BI interface. As long as the legacy BI license is still active and the legacy report output can be reached through a URL, users can access that output from the report tree the way they would a native Exago report. Double-clicking the report name triggers a new execution of the legacy report and displays the output in its own Exago tab.
Since users are able to easily view their legacy reports during the transition, there’s less pressure on admins and analysts to recreate those reports, giving them the time they need to do a thorough job.
The Yard Sale: Cull the Legacy Report Library
As we prepare for a move, we often devise ways of getting rid of the belongings we don’t need or want anymore. The less stuff we have to move, the better; and the same holds true for reports.
Recreating legacy reports is time-consuming and therefore expensive, so it’s important to cull the list as much as possible. Many BI applications store tracking information as database tables, file system timestamps, or in-file property values like XML elements, and this information can indicate how long it’s been since a report was last executed. Depending on your industry, it may be safe to skip reports that have been dormant for a year or more.
Exago can track this type of usage information either via a its monitoring feature, which can be configured to log details such as execution date and time, or using a folder management assembly.
The Moving Company: Have Exago Services Handle Report Recreation
Given the resources, hiring a crew to help you move (or move for you!) can be a worthwhile investment, especially if your time would be better spent on other activities. In the event that your analysts won’t be able to recreate the legacy library before the legacy license expires, Exago Services can be contracted to do report building for, or in tandem with, your team.
This offloading approach will necessarily result in your analysts getting less hands-on experience with the application than they would otherwise, but if getting outside help is the difference between meeting deadline and exceeding it, Services becomes an invaluable resource. Exago’s Services team is comprised of subject matter experts who can analyze a report’s output and manipulate the available data to match, rebuilding the report in record time. Some companies choose to recreate the bulk of their legacy reports, passing only the most complex to Exago Services.
Our clients find that these transition methods work best in combination with one another. Giving end users access to their legacy reports while they explore the new BI interface smooths the transition while also boosting UX, improving adoption rates, and buying your analysts time to cull and migrate the legacy library.
For more about viewing legacy reports in Exago, visit our Knowledge Base. If you have other migration/transition tips to share, leave us a comment!