Blog de Cristian Fiedler

Dedicado a quienes gustan de la tecnología, en especial a la relacionada con La informática, la Inteligencia de Negocios, las telecomunicaciones, etc., etc..

lunes, 1 de febrero de 2010

Primer acercamiento a la Inteligencia de Negocios

Corría el año 1992 y me tocó participar en un proceso de implementación de todo un sistema administrativo para el control de Inventarios y Ventas de Sony Chile desarrollado con GeneXus para ser explotado en un flamante nuevo AS/400 F35.

Sony Chile hasta esa época tenía sus sistemas basados en un Servidor Netware 3.11 de Novell. Los usuarios accedían a los distintos sistemas desde “flamantes” IBM PS2 modelo 25 que de PS2 no tenían nada ya que no tenían arquitectura MCA (de Microcanal) sino que se trataba de PCs bajo la marca de IBM. Al corto andar pasó lo que era obvio que pasaría: Netware no claudicaba y la contabilidad y otros sistemas permanecían en el mundo DOS mientras que toda la gestión de ventas y clientes se manejaban en sistemas en el AS/400. Por supuesto que este escenario era aun mas complejo ya que adicionalmente había varios usuarios que dominaban a la perfección las planillas Borland Quattro Pro y mantenían verdaderos sistemas de información 100% aislados del resto del mundo. Ante esta situación, que hasta el día de hoy es bastante común, la “alta gerencia” se encontró con dificultades serias a la hora de tomar decisiones ya que consolidar la información era un verdadero caos. La orden no tardó: Construir lo que sea para tener información consolidada. Durante un tiempo, y con la ayuda de un estudiante en práctica nos dedicamos a construir extractores específicos para cada plataforma haciendo uso de toda herramienta posible y llevando todo lo extraído a algún formato común en un ambiente común. Al corto andar teníamos todo tipo de reportes pero no era mas que eso reportes por lo que dimos un segundo giro de tuerca para buscar como hacer “presentable” los reportes. La solución que encontramos al dilema era “leer” estos reportes con herramientas gráficas disponibles en esos tiempos en plataforma Apple Macintosh (GQL y otras).

El problema es que los costos de estas bellezas eran muy superiores a la de los PCs pero la verdad es que ya la misma estética hacía una diferencia. Gracias a que el modelo de estación de trabajo seleccionado venía con monitor “Sony Trinitron” (bajo la marca Apple eso si) no fue tan difícil lograr su compra, aun cuando la decisión fue larga y tediosa. Finalmente a 3 gerentes se les instaló un Mac con Ethertalk en vez de un PS2 o PC y los resultados fueron de dulce y agraz. La verdad era que las aplicaciones eran muy fáciles de utilizar pero requería algún grado de interacción con los usuarios ya que los “Queries” eran dinámicos. Se suponía que cada usuario confeccionaría los suyos pero en la práctica ocurría que había que dedicar tiempo a cada usuario para crearle las consultas lo que no era nada agradable ya que se perdía el concepto de autoservicio. Esta situación no mejoró hasta que Apple nos facilitó una caja cuyo contenido era un producto llamado CrossTarget de Dimensional Insight que se suponía simplificaría el concepto de autoservicio. Dado que se trataba de un producto NO comercializado ni representado por Apple, fue un verdadero “Do it yourself kit”. El producto resultó ser una verdadera joya y se basaba en un concepto muy simple y fácil de comprender sobre todo para aquellos que ya se hubieran enfrentado al mundo de obtener datos de miles de fuentes diversas. Por una parte había un componente que corría en DOS llamado “Builder” y por otro lado un componente “cliente” llamado “Diver” (buzo) que tenía la particularidad de correr tanto en DOS como Mac. Esta fue realmente la solución buscada, ya que “Builder” construía “Modelos” con miles de cálculos “prehechos” y a través de Diver, los usuarios realmente se podían “zambullir” en un cúmulo de datos a velocidades increíbles y transformarlos en información valiosa. Fue tal el éxito de esta combinación que se nos solicitó llevar esto un paso mas adelante y confeccionar un “tablero” que permitiera mostrar en un monitor algunos indicadores de gestión (típicos hoy día pero no a principio de los 90) a todos quienes pasaran frente a dicho monitor. No se cuantos años existió este “Dashboard” pero no fueron 2 ni 3 sino varios mas.

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