When a user of a BI application complains about the application not being useful - something that I hear way too often - what does that really mean? I can count at least 11 possible meanings, and potential reasons:
1. The data is not there, because
- It's not in any operational sources, in which case the organization needs to implement a new app, a new process or get that data from an outside source
- It is in an operational source, but not accessible via the BI application.
The data is there, but
2. It's not usable as is, because
- There are no common definitions, common metadata
- The data is of poor quality
- The data model is wrong, or out of date
3. I can't find it, because I
- Can't find the right report
- Can't find the right metadata
- Can't find the data
- I don't have access rights to the data I am looking for
4. I don't know how to use my application, because I
- Was not trained
- Was trained, but the application is not intuitive, user friendly enough
5. I can't/don't have time do it myself - because I just need to run my business, not do BI !!! - and
- I don't have support staff
- I am low on IT priority list
6. It takes too long to
- Create a report/query
- Run/execute a report/query
7. I need to report/analyze on something that SQL can't do, such as
- Faceted search
- SQL on data with uneven, unbalanced, ragged, recursive hierarchies
8. It's a wrong BI application
- I have strategic decisions to make, but the app is designed for operational decisions, or
- I have operational decisions to make, but the app is designed for strategic decisions
9. The app is not integrated with other applications, processes or desktop so
- I loose context
- Have to switch apps, cut & paste
- Don't know how to act on the info that I find
And my personal favorites
10. I don’t know what I am looking for, but my application is asking to
- Run a specific report
- Pick specific facts and dimensions
So I don't know where to start.
11. The app stops short of helping me, directing me to make the actual decision, even if I know how to use the app, have access to the right data, and can find what I am looking for. It's a loooooong way between finding the right info and actually make a decision based on the info.
What did I miss?
Boris also blogs at http://blogs.forrester.com/business_process/.