Five Things You Need to Know About Your Users BEFORE You Deploy BI – Part 1 – The first two questions.

Kevin R. Quinn's picture
 By | februari 17, 2011
in BI Standardization
februari 17, 2011

Have you deployed a BI application to satisfy end user demand, only to have it ignored?  You gave them what they asked for, why don’t they use it?

The answer is simple. What you gave them is not really what they needed.

Here’s an example. A smart IT professional will survey end users, before embarking on a BI implementation. “What information do you need?”, “How do you want it formatted?”, etc.  Users will say what they really need is flexibility, and the ability to ask ad hoc questions, since their information requirements constantly change. 

The IT professional will often interpret these responses as a need for a BI “tool” and a data warehouse.  However, anyone with extensive BI experience knows that 95 percent of users have neither the time nor the skill to use a BI tool. In other words, their answers – and IT’s interpretation of them – are wrong!

This scenario may seem extreme. But users often unknowingly provide incorrect information about their reporting needs. Then, IT mistakenly assumes that users know what they mean when they request things like “ad hoc tools”. 

We’ve learned that there are five things you need to know about your users before you deliver BI technologies. Here are the first two questions which are probably the most important and will require more than just simple polling. You’ll need to ask yourself some important questions, and gather information from your company’s managers:

1.    What is the technical skill level of the user(s)?

While many people consider themselves technically savvy, few really understand how to use ad hoc BI tools in conjunction with available data. 

2.    How much time can they spend accessing and analyzing information?

Even with the right skills and tools in place, users rarely have the time to utilize them.  So providing the tools can be a waste of money if it is never used.

If you answer these two questions about your users you’ll realize (in many cases) an ad hoc BI tool is not what most of them need.

Stay tuned I will tell you the next three questions in my next posts.