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“Red Flags” give early warning of impending BI reporting failures January 23, 2006

Posted by Cyril Brookes in General, Issues in building BI reporting systems.
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Successful BI systems developers often rely on many inter-dependent factors coming neatly together.  When they do, they may simply be lucky.

Worse;  failure in BI can result if you get only one significant thing wrong.  Perhaps the best slant on failure is that it ony becomes apparent some time after implementation, and often those responsible are off on other things. The enterprise, however, always suffers in the longer term.  I propose that we can detect potential failure in BI development because it mostly occurs when we build the “wrong things”.   The specification is the culprit.  Here are 5 “Red Flags” that warn you.

  1. Unimaginative Specification – Is your BI System Specification simply a set of KPIs drawn from a standard set of corporate or industry KPIs or measures?
  2. Hard Information only here; Soft Information need not apply Kaplan’s “Balanced Scorecard” approach raises the issue of extended scope in reporting, but the focus is on extended hard data reporting.  However, it is our experience that there is also a need for balance in BI systems reporting that emphasizes and integrates hard and soft sources of information.
  3. No Surprises, in this system – tell me where the problems are!  – Just like corporate customers, executive users of BI systems ought to be delighted, at least occasionally.   This implies that they come across unusual, particularly useful, items, or that they find that it is easy to determine the implications from a set of numbers – for whatever reason
  4. IT Analyst and Executive User Disconnect – Executive users of a BI reporting system and the IT analyst designers have different objectives and reward mechanisms.
  5. Intellectual Property Discarded; repeat BI specification interview coming up –  Nothing turns off an executive faster than feeling his/her time is being wasted because the interviewer is unaware of the content of earlier meetings.

I’ll develop these thoughts  in successive posts.

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