Six Questions You Need to Ask Before Deploying Business Intelligence - Slide 3

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This critical question, arguably the most important of the five, is often completely neglected. Yet if it is answered realistically, an accurate plan for deployment can be formulated, even without responses to the other four questions.

In a typical organization, most people need to access information, but very few of them have a lot of time to do it. If your users don’t have a lot of time to spend finding, accessing, and analyzing information, then they don’t require a business intelligence tool.

How much time someone has to devote to reporting is often related to their role in the organization. For example, executives may have very little time to spend analyzing data, while analysts will have much more time, as analysis is their main job function.

Have you ever deployed a solution or a capability in response to constant end-user demand, only to have it ignored once it was delivered? You gave them what they asked for, so why aren’t they using it? The answer is quite simple. What they say and what they mean are two different things.

A smart IT professional will ask end users about their requirements, before embarking on the implementation of a business intelligence (BI) application. They will ask questions such as: “What information do you need?” and “How do you want it formatted?” The varying answers they receive seem to indicate that what users really need is flexibility. People will also often say that they need to be able to ask ad hoc questions, because the type of information they require is constantly changing. So, the IT professional interprets these requests for ad hoc and flexibility as a need for a business intelligence tool and a data warehouse.

However, anyone with extensive experience in business intelligence will tell you that 95 percent of your users have neither the time nor the skill to use a BI tool. In other words, their answers and the IT professional’s interpretation of them are wrong!

This scenario may seem a bit extreme. But the truth is that users often unknowingly provide incorrect information when expressing their reporting needs. Then, IT mistakenly assumes that users know what they mean when they ask for things like an ad hoc tool.

Through years of experience working with companies of all types and sizes to design and deploy business intelligence systems, Information Builders has determined that there are six key things you need to know about your users before you roll out related technologies to them. In many cases, discovering these six things will require more than just polling end users. This slideshow highlights the six questions you need to know to provide the right business intelligence capabilities to the right people.

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Related Topics : Business Intelligence Vendors, Data Quality, Data Warehousing, Key Performance Indicators, Knowledge Management

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