Category Archives: BI Users and Usage

How a modern dashboard answers business users’ questions

modern dashboardDo your dashboards deliver value for your business users? Do they provide enough information to answer the important questions that face your business on a daily basis? Or, is it time to make the move to modern dashboards that provide the flexibility your users need to answer their questions and guide their actions? Continue reading

Two rays of hope from Howard Dresner’s Wisdom of the Crowds

rays of hopeLast week, Howard Dresner, a long-time BI analyst and the person who, back in 1989, coined the modern use of the term Business Intelligence, posted to his blog on Sand Hill an article which, at least to my mind, contained two of the best pieces of news about BI I have heard for a long, long time. These were the following quotes from his “Wisdom of Crowds® Business Intelligence Market Study”:


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How to distribute information to busy business people

Busy usersBusiness users tend to be time poor. So to help them get the information they need to make smart, data-driven decisions, there are a few techniques we can use within our dashboards to guide them in the right direction.

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Why Data Discovery is not for everyone

I like to cycle. When I’m out riding my bike I have a little computer attached to the handlebars that, amongst other things, tells me how fast I’m going with a little arrow alongside indicating whether I am travelling faster or slower than my average speed for the ride.

Underpinning this arrow is a well-known formula: speed = distance / time. If I was a scientist or a mathematician I could go back to the first principles to demonstrate the proof of this formula.

However, when I’m riding my bike I don’t need to know, nor do I care about, any of this. 

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How to get users to use your business dashboards

Interactive business dashboardThe battle for attention is a big part of the success of any dashboard. As Mico Yuk says, “the only metric that matters in BI is user adoption” – if your dashboard isn’t used, it doesn’t matter how good it looks or how efficiently is conveys information.

So how do you design a dashboard that resonates with your business users and increases engagement and adoption?

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Weather web sites and the future of Business Intelligence

Comparing Business Intelligence to weather web sites might seem a little odd, but I am convinced it is valid and more importantly highlights a path to the future for the way we use information in our organizations. Continue reading

The two key types of BI usage

Today, Timo Elliott at SAP tweeted that for BI:

“nobody seems to agree with me, but it’s not about the type of user, it’s about tasks”.

Timo I do agree, and yes it all comes back to the BBC weather site again :-)

Although you can sub-divide BI a thousand different ways, the most important distinction (if you want to deliver successful BI) is between “analyst BI” and “end-user BI”.

I know that sounds like types of user but actually it is not, it is about modes of usage and one user can use both of these at different times.

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A Visionary Example of the Future of End-user BI

My ex-colleague from BusinessObjects, Bill Schmarzo (that is his picture to the left), has just posted a blog entry (here) which should be compulsory reading for anyone in BI and especially for those who are working with BI and “big data”.

Let me explain why …

The opportunities opened up by “big data” are very significant and no-one should be ignoring them. Unfortunately, if you follow the hype in the market today at best you will only realize a small percentage of the value and at worst you will swamp your organization with inappropriate, time-consuming access to data they don’t actually need. Continue reading

Understanding BI Users

To better understand the types of business intelligence (BI) user within our organization we can classify them along 2 dimensions:

1. Activity Performed

This first dimension considers the type of activity being performed.  At one end are people performing the type of deep analysis supported by data discovery tools and the other extreme are those who prefer the simplicity of the ‘just click’ interface of a dashboard. Continue reading