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BI Program IT Mistake 1 - Data Warehouse Fever

"We Love It, So Will The Business"

There are many instances of IT [with best intentions] building a data warehouse in advance of understanding business user needs and without business user input. They have forged ahead, believing that if they build it, the value will be evident and business users will flock to use it.

The reasons data warehouses sometimes fail to attract users or generate ROI include:

  1. The user interface is too complex
  2. The data is presented in a way unfamiliar to business users
  3. It does not offer the appropriate capabilities, addressing the needs of business users.

Business Solution

  1. The correct BI Program approach is based on a combination of business relevance with strong architecture.
  2. The data must be appropriate for business users, and it must be correct and precise.
  3. The BI insights must be able to answer the questions normally asked by the business in normal day to day scenarios.
  4. A BI Competency Center [BICC] is established to drive the adoption of BI in the business, as well as to gather the business, technology and communication skills required for successful BI initiatives.


Technical Solution

Most BI software is only aimed a power users, a group that account for no more than 5 percent in most organizations.

For BI to be a catalyst for better performance, organizations must engage the remaining 90 percent. [There will generally be around 5 percent that do not need BI capability.]

BI users include casual business users, managers, and executives. Anyone who needs to make decisions. If the functionality and interactivity of the BI solution is overwhelming to the user, the casual user will not employ its use. BI should use simple business terms and present information clearly.

Casual Users - have a mixed set of needs pertaining to the particular set of tasks they perform each day and decisions they must make. For lower need users, they are sometimes better off with easy access to regularly scheduled and pre-formatted reports that prevent the need for interaction with complex tools and data hierarchies.

Business Managers demand a wider range of capabilities to meet their wider responsibilities:

  • Reports with drill-down to detail and context
  • Basic reporting, and occasional ad hoc queries and analysis
  • Author basic reports and queries using drag-and drop functionality.

Executives need:

  • Dynamic Dashboards and Scorecards to provide an at-a-glance view of organizational performance
  • Drill-down to regular updates and status reports
  • Secure access to BI across a wide range of devices
  • Alerts that notify them of key events.

Most past BI deployments have not targeted 90 percent of business users. By aiming to serve all users from a single BI solution helps an organization align with both its business and IT strategy and coordinate its response to changing business conditions for better results. The BI solution must act as a central source of consistent information for the entire organization. Consistent information leads to people collaborating more effectively and making decisions with more confidence.

NEXT: BI Program IT Mistake 2 - Our ERP Solution Can Do BI


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