Stand­ard­iz­a­tion of eval­u­ation processes

Pub­lic Services

short to story

The Fed­eral Office for Agri­cul­ture of Switzer­land (FOAG) is the fed­eral administration’s com­pet­ence cen­ter for the agri­cul­tural sec­tor. In addi­tion to its polit­ical and admin­is­trat­ive func­tion, it is respons­ible for the col­lec­tion, ana­lysis and pub­lic­a­tion of agri­cul­ture-related data. With a data ware­house and report­ing sys­tem, a pro­fes­sional, stand­ard­ized and auto­mated solu­tion for this task was cre­ated through a uni­form data­base and stand­ard­iz­a­tion of the eval­u­ation processes.

"Um unsere BI-Plattform zu realisieren haben wir, aus einer grossen Auswahl potentieller Kandidaten, die synvert saracus consulting AG ausgewählt.

Der Kontakt mit synvert saracus war vom ersten Moment an einfach und wir konnten uns ab der ersten Minute auf die Arbeit konzentrieren, welche in einer ausgesprochen angenehmen Atmosphäre stattfand.

Unsere BI-Lösung musste, von der Infrastruktur über das Enterprise DWH mit komplexen ETL-Strecken, bis hin zum Dash-Board, vollständig neu erstellt werden. Dank den herausragenden Technik- und Sozialkompetenzen der Berater, konnten sämtliche Projektziele innerhalb des vorgesehenen Budgets erfolgreich realisiert werden.

Vor allem die Implementierung der mehrdimensionalen Analyseräume hat sich als sehr vorteilhaft erwiesen. Sie erlaubt heute unseren Mitarbeiter, welche für die Analyse verantwortlich sind, eine grosse Anzahl an Informationen auf eine besonders intuitive Weise zu handhaben.

Um den Betrieb und Weiterentwicklung mit internen Mitarbeiter zu gewährleisten, haben wir zudem den Schwerpunkt auf den Technologie- und KnowHow-Transfer gelegt. Auch dieser heikle Punkt hat sich, dank der ausgezeichneten Coaching-Fähigkeiten der synvert saracus, als echter Erfolg erwiesen."

Olivier Roux (BLW)

Stv. Leiter Fachbereich Agrarinformationssystem

Goals & challenges

The central requirement was to set up a data warehouse in which all agricultural topics in Switzerland could be successively recorded and integrated. Important aspects that were to be taken into account:</p

  • Estab­lish­ment of uni­form busi­ness intel­li­gence expert­ise at the Fed­eral Office for Agriculture
  • Sim­pli­fic­a­tion and auto­ma­tion of exist­ing pre­par­a­tion and report­ing processes
  • Replace­ment of manu­ally cre­ated SQL-based eval­u­ations with a stand­ard report­ing solu­tion that is easy to use (self-ser­vice)
  • Expan­sion of the tar­get group to include spe­cial­ists and pub­lic tar­get groups who, in addi­tion to the annual agri­cul­tural report, should also have inter­act­ive access to the Fed­eral Office’s stat­ist­ics via the Internet


The following requirements were placed on the data warehouse and reporting system by the Federal Office for Agriculture:

  • Defin­i­tion of a data model and data sup­ply for the integ­ra­tion and con­sol­id­a­tion of the indi­vidual sub­sys­tems, with par­tic­u­lar atten­tion paid to per­form­ance aspects in order to enable ad-hoc ana­lyses in addi­tion to stand­ard reporting
  • Simple integ­ra­tion of exist­ing data and future source sys­tems thanks to an expand­able archi­tec­ture using gen­eric pro­cessing methods
  • Cre­ation of uni­form defin­i­tions and cal­cu­la­tion rules as well as stand­ard reports
  • Ensur­ing mul­ti­lin­gual­ism across the entire system


A classic data warehouse architecture based on best practices is used at the Federal Office for Agriculture. Based on various source systems that are operated and maintained directly by the FOAG, various external source systems must be integrated. The source system data can be supplied via different channels and is historicized and persisted in a staging area in the first step. In order to be able to expand the system efficiently in the future, the extraction and transfer of data from the source systems to the staging area has been automated. The staging area forms the basis for the data warehouse modeled in the Galaxy schema. The dimensionally modeled framework manager models are based on this. For selected data-intensive evaluation areas, additional data marts are generated in which performance-critical calculations are available in pre-aggregated form. Reports and dashboards are provided for analysis and monitoring purposes, while standard reports are also used to publish statistics.

gen­er­ated bene­fits

  • Expand­able DWH infra­struc­ture based on best prac­tices with estab­lished technologies
  • Enabling cross-source sys­tem eval­u­ations and util­iz­a­tion of ad-hoc ana­lysis options
  • Stand­ard­iz­a­tion and sim­pli­fic­a­tion of the con­nec­tion of source systems
  • Reduc­tion of manual effort when cre­at­ing evaluations 
  • Cre­ation of uni­form defin­i­tions, report­ing stand­ards and a uni­form appear­ance of evaluations

ser­vices accom­plished by syn­vert saracus

synvert saracus provided the following services as a competent partner:

  • Car­ry­ing out the busi­ness ana­lysis and cre­at­ing the spe­cial­ist con­cepts and tech­nical concepts
  • Archi­tec­tural design
  • Struc­ture of ETL pro­cesses with gen­eric com­pon­ents and com­plex historization
  • Data mod­el­ing of rela­tional data lay­ers (core DWH, data marts)
  • Struc­ture of the dimen­sion­ally modeled IBM Cognos Frame­work Man­ager models
  • Cre­ation of stand­ard reports
  • Con­fig­ur­a­tion of the IBM Cognos BI sys­tem, in par­tic­u­lar adapt­a­tion to the cor­por­ate design and con­sid­er­a­tion of the author­iz­a­tion concept
  • Sup­port with test­ing and pro­duct­ive implementation
  • Imple­ment­a­tion of train­ing courses for admin­is­trat­ors and users

deliv­ery / conclusion

The data warehouse and reporting system has created a standardized and automated technical basis that allows the Federal Office for Agriculture (FOAG) to perform its tasks of collecting, processing and presenting agriculture-related data professionally and with little effort. In particular, the know-how with regard to different architectures as well as the experience in design and conception have created a new, stable platform as the basis for the future BI landscape in a short time. In this respect, synvert saracus consulting has become a valuable consulting and integration partner for the Federal Office for Agriculture

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