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Medallion Architecture: The Key to Resolving BI Inefficiencies

Have you ever wondered why updates to your business intelligence (BI) dashboards take longer than expected, or why data-related requests seem to bottleneck instead of streamline decision-making?

In the rapidly evolving landscape of business, having a BI system that acts as a drag rather than a booster can severely hinder a company's strategic agility and growth potential. Inefficiencies can be symptomatic of deeper systemic issues within the BI architecture and operational methods. Identifying these red flags is crucial in transforming your BI systems from potential business liabilities into powerful assets that drive innovation and facilitate growth.

This post will delve into the common indicators of a BI system in need of an overhaul. We'll explore how these issues might be manifesting in your organization and discuss how a structured solution, such as Mammoth Growth’s Medallion Architecture, can resolve these challenges—turning your BI processes into tools for faster, more effective decision-making.

When Do You Know You Have a BI Problem?

It can be challenging to pinpoint exactly when your BI systems are failing to meet your needs. However, there are several telltale signs that your BI processes may require a closer look and potential overhaul. Here are some common situations indicating that your BI systems might be underperforming:

  • Excessive Number of Dashboards: If your organization manages more than 30 dashboards, it's likely that many of them are underused, redundant, or no longer relevant.
  • Long Wait Times for Changes: When your BI team is consistently waiting on the data team for weeks to implement changes or updates.
  • Frequent Breakdowns: Regular issues with dashboards not loading, showing errors, or breaking down when attempting to update or modify them.
  • Inconsistent Data Across Reports: Different departments or systems report conflicting data for the same metrics.
  • Difficulty Accessing or Using Data: Business users find it challenging to access or use the data due to the complexity of the BI tools or the way data is presented.

Recognizing these signs early can help you take proactive steps to address BI inefficiencies before they become more significant obstacles to your organization's decision-making capabilities.

Identifying Inefficiencies in BI Processes

Effective BI systems are foundational for agile decision-making and maintaining a competitive edge in today’s business landscape. Below, we delve into specific issues grouped under broader categories that significantly hinder their performance:

Long Response Times for BI Requests

This category addresses the inefficiencies that extend the time taken to fulfill BI requests, leading to delays in decision-making and strategic planning.

Complex Dashboards and Calculated Fields: Complex dashboards with numerous intertwined calculated fields often require BI teams to navigate through a dense web of dependencies. This complexity necessitates repeated learning each time modifications are made, significantly slowing down the response time for BI requests. Additionally, for business users, the need to frequently consult BI teams to understand and verify multiple table calculations can hinder their ability to quickly leverage data for decision-making, increasing the time to insights.

Example: A forecasting dashboard designed to predict returning customer revenue from different platforms, each with its unique methodology for calculating customer return rates.

Inappropriate BI Tool Selection: Choosing the wrong BI tool for the team can severely impact the efficiency of BI operations. If the selected tool lacks necessary features or functionality, or if it is overly complex for the team's skill level or the business's current needs, it can lead to prolonged project timelines, increased training requirements, and a higher likelihood of errors.

Example: A small, business-user led team selects Looker for its powerful features, but its complexity overwhelms their basic dashboard needs, leading to significant delays.

Dashboard Performance Bottlenecks

This category focuses on technical inefficiencies that cause delays in dashboard responsiveness, impacting user experience and operational efficiency.

Excessive Table Referencing: When multiple dashboards reference the same underlying database table, it can lead to significant downstream issues such as breakages and slow performance during updates. This setup increases the time it takes for dashboards to load as the system struggles to fetch and compute large amounts of interdependent data.

Example: At a retail company, multiple operational dashboards rely on a single product database table for real-time tracking of inventory and sales, including high-demand events.

Overloaded Dashboards: When too many departments and users rely on the same information, there is a tendency to include all available information in one place, rather than creating efficient, targeted dashboards for specific business use cases. This approach results in overloaded interfaces, slow performance, and can create significant bottlenecks if there's an error or a new feature is needed.

Example: In a multinational corporation, a single dashboard is used to track sales performance, marketing metrics, and customer service data across various regions.

Poor Data Governance

This category encompasses problems related to the management and oversight of data resources, which can lead to inefficiencies in how data is utilized and maintained across the organization.

Dashboard Sprawl: An excessive number of dashboards can lead to redundant, neglected, or rarely used BI resources. This sprawl not only complicates data governance but also strains maintenance efforts and divides attention, potentially diminishing the overall effectiveness of BI operations.

Example: A large financial institution maintains over 200 dashboards, many of which duplicate information or remain unused, resulting in significant resource waste and confusion among users who struggle to find relevant data.

Excessive Stakeholder Input: Having too many different stakeholders who can make or request updates to data, business rules, or dashboards can lead to a backlog of requests and result in poorly defined or constantly changing business requirements. This situation often causes delays and confusion, impairing the ability to maintain clear and effective data governance and complicating the prioritization of BI projects.

Example: At a technology firm, project timelines are frequently extended as multiple departments continually request customizations to the same BI reports, causing ongoing revisions and conflicting data interpretations.

Medallion Architecture: Streamlining BI Processes

Mammoth Growth's Medallion Architecture strategically addresses core inefficiencies in business intelligence systems through its structured three-tiered approach. Each tier is designed to optimize different aspects of data management, significantly improving long response times, resolving dashboard performance bottlenecks, and enhancing data governance:

Bronze Tier: Acts as the initial collection point where all raw data is captured, ensuring robust data integrity and facilitating the initial stages of data processing.

Silver Tier: Focuses on transforming raw data into structured insights through rigorous processing and application of business rules, preparing the data for strategic use.

Gold Tier: Enhances data accessibility by optimizing it for end-user consumption, ensuring that the insights are reliable, timely, and actionable for business decision-making.

To further illustrate the effectiveness of this architecture, let’s explore how it can contribute to resolving the BI inefficiencies outlined above.

Addressing Long Response Times

The Silver Tier processes and transforms raw data into structured formats, ready for business analysis. By centralizing data transformations here, it reduces the computational load on front-end tools, and creates a reliable source of truth for the BI analyst to utilize without needing to manipulate complex logic. Additionally, by decoupling data processing from data presentation, organizations can choose BI tools that are best suited to their user’s expertise and reporting needs without compromising on the power or depth of data analysis.

Resolving Dashboard Performance Bottlenecks

The Gold Tier is tailored for high-performance data presentation, focusing on optimizing data for end-user consumption. This tier aggregates and indexes data efficiently and provides a space to create more granular data sets, ensuring that dashboards load quickly and remain responsive, even under heavy user load. Additionally, the Silver Tier streamlines the resolution of performance and development bottlenecks by centralizing the code for business logic and calculations in a single, well-organized layer, making it easier to read, update, and maintain. This is beneficial for addressing long response times as well.

Enhancing Data Governance

By centralizing the presentation layer in the Gold Tier, the architecture limits the creation of new dashboards to those that are essential and vetted for business relevance. This approach reduces the clutter and sprawl of dashboards, ensuring that each one serves a distinct purpose and supports decision-making processes effectively. This tiered system streamlines the BI request process and reinforces compliance and oversight, making it easier to manage data across the organization in a coherent and organized manner.

By implementing the Medallion Architecture, organizations can overcome common BI challenges, ensuring their data management systems are not only more efficient but also strategically aligned with business objectives. This approach ensures that BI systems are robust, agile, and scalable, capable of adapting to changing business needs while supporting growth.


In today's data-driven business environment, the efficiency of business intelligence (BI) systems is not just a luxury—it's a necessity for maintaining a competitive edge and achieving strategic agility. Our discussion highlighted several critical inefficiencies in BI processes. These issues, if unaddressed, can severely restrict a company's ability to effectively utilize its data, leading to delayed decisions and missed opportunities.

Mammoth Growth’s Medallion Architecture offers a comprehensive approach to redesigning BI systems for enhanced performance. By implementing this tiered architecture system organizations can ensure that their data processes are optimized for current needs and future scalability.

Next Steps with Mammoth Growth

If you're experiencing challenges with your BI & Analytics systems or are seeking ways to improve your data management processes, consider the strategic advantages of implementing Medallion Architecture. Connect with Mammoth Growth today to explore how we can help you streamline your data operations and harness the full potential of your data systems. Visit our website or contact us directly to schedule a consultation and begin your journey toward a more efficient and effective data-driven future.

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