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The challenges of large-scale BI deployment

February 16, 2016

In a recent webinar, Dave Fackler (business intelligence architect and author) from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) joined Peter Sprague (VP of Product Marketing at Pyramid Analytics) to talk about the challenges of large-scale business intelligence (BI) deployments. Dave shared his experiences implementing Pyramid Analytics’ BI Office Suite in the VA.

Over the last 18 months, Dave has helped architect and build an enterprise-wide BI and analytics infrastructure that runs on top of a large-scale, multi-tiered data warehouse. This infrastructure supports more than 20,000 Pyramid Analytics users, 350,000 VA professionals, and 6 million veteran patients annually.

Watch the Challenges of Large-Scale BI Deployments webinar.

Key points of discussion

Among the key topics in the webinar were:

  • Selecting appropriate tools and training plans to accelerate adoption.
  • Providing governance and usage monitoring of access, content, and data sources.
  • Providing appropriate resources to support a BI platform/infrastructure that serves more than 20,000 users in hospitals and clinics across the country.


  • Every day, the VA collects data from 130 hospital systems and clinics across the U.S. The data is loaded into a large-scale, multi-tiered, data warehouse environment.
  • Dave’s group—the Business Intelligence Service Group (part of their overall IT organization)—provides BI as a service. The group gives people across the VA access to the data warehousing environment, and to the BI and analytics tools, data, and training they need. The organizations then create their own reporting solutions and content, based on specific user requirements.
  • There are hundreds of reporting teams across the entire VA that build data marts, cubes, reports, and dashboards using this provisioned environment.
  • There are diverse users (internal and external) in multiple locations. This includes doctors and nurses in medical centers and hospitals across the U.S., but also teleworkers who have to rely on different access methods like a virtual private network (VPN).

Highlights and results

  • Over the last year, there were around 20,000 active users of Pyramid Analytics’ platform, more than 50,000 reports, and some 10,000 slides across dashboards.
  • It’s simple for users to get up and running; they’ve been able to build dashboards and reports quickly using the Pyramid Analytics platform.
  • People are able to analyze data much more quickly and easily than they could before.
  • Teams can build their own dashboards and content from scratch, but they can also access content that’s already built from trusted reporting groups, and that’s centrally managed.
  • It’s very easy to reuse content.
  • Choosing a web-based platform like BI Office—where everything is centrally managed and that everyone can connect to—has “paid dividends” to the VA.
  • The department anticipates scaling out to many more users in the future.

To learn more about the VA’s large-scale deployment and use of Pyramid Analytics, watch the free webinar.

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