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No Surprises in my BI reporting system! Red Flag #3 on why BI reports fail February 2, 2006

Posted by Cyril Brookes in BI Requirements Definition, General, Issues in building BI reporting systems.

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.

Is your BI system just a single shade of grey?  How did this happen?  Surely the specification must have been lacking something that might have given it a sparkle?

Therefore, the symptoms of Red Flag 3: No Surprises in this system include a specification where:

  • Reports and displays, dashboards, etc. focus on numeric data, without analysis
  • No attempt is made to interpret, alert, forecast or determine trends in the information and advise the executive user of same.
  • Relative importance of numbers presented is hard to determine – a bad number and a good number live side by side.
  • Positive swings in one area can cancel out negative swings in another, so the significance of each is lost.

To avoid this Red Flag 3 waving, it is necessary to ensure innovation and variation in the reporting based on the importance, significance, trends, novelty, etc. of the information being presented.  Special emphasis is needed on supporting the vital problem finding activity that executives are always monitoring. Bald statement of supposed factual numbers will set the Flag waving early on in the project life, dooming it to insignificance and disutility.



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