I will start with the assertion that different business stakeholders require different types of information. This leads to the discussion that different business audiences require varying intelligence needs and focus - along with differing skills used to create these information flows. If a question is asked by the business, say “What is profit?” we need to understand who is asking and what are they really interested in. Most CFO’s will define profit differently than a business manager who is monitoring his groups’ profitability!  This supports the need for consistent semantics, context and taxonomies to ‘refine’ the data into information.  Just like raw crude does nothing for your car, raw data does very little for the business! Let us start with the different groups or business audiences and define their information needs along with the types of reports they require – and then describe the different BI skills required to support them. On the bottom rung, if you will, are the operations staff that require access to business facts about their specific operations process – they need reports and analytics developed by BI developers that clarify their specific role (i.e.: report of help desk transactions outstanding or to be processed). Slightly higher in the food chain are the operations managers who require reporting alerts of exceptions and key items of interest – operations analysis is best completed by knowledge workers who understand data analytics and also by the operations managers themselves through ad hoc queries and reports.  An example would be the report of help desk exceptions waiting for resolution from say the engineering team. Higher still are the operations directors and management who require performance analysis through predictive analytics and heuristic pattern recognition – these reports are best generated by power users in the IT community using the Business Architecture as their foundational knowledge of the process and functions.  An example of this would be the total number of closed operations issues resulting from help desk tickets versus the number of total tickets and open tickets outstanding. Finally, at the very top of the organization, are the top executives whose focus is business strategy. They require the intelligent presentation (and in turn visualization) of enterprise performance and competitive intelligence provided usually by dashboards and advanced drill-through reporting – best left to Intelligence Analysts. So, as you can see, different audiences require specific information needs and this usually requires different BI skills, business focus and intelligence needs.

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