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Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Questions regarding existing BI reports to Business Users

Questions regarding existing BI reports to Business Users
  • How do you access these existing reports?
  • Whats the existing frequency of report updates and data updates?
  • What reports go together to make them relevant?
  • What other tools do you use for analyzing the data out of these reports?
  • What are the report delivery mechanisms existing right now?
  • Are these refreshed on a batch process or based on demand from the users?
  • Any specific features in the existing report that you would like most and does not see loosing it which may cause potential business implications?
  • What are the existing bottlenecks with each of these reports?
  • Are the goals in existing reports still relevant?
  • What are the different parameters used in these reports? Whats the frequency of each parameter being used?
  • What reports do you cross check to make sure your reports are upto date and are valid?
  • What reporting metrics/KPI are being created in these reports? Are there special formulae being set in these reports as we bring data from the data warehouse?
  • How do you perform your routine analysis? How does the existing reports aid in getting your job done faster? Do you see any trends in what kinds of routine analysis are you being tasked with?
  • How complicated can these ‘one off ‘ reports being created? How long does it take to create these reports? How often do you think the data is already available in data warehouse but not in reports?
  • Who are the power users for each of these reports? Organizing these users by department, by task can give you a very good insight of what reports can be grouped together in an OBIEE dashboard.
  • Is there report usage tracking mechanism already available? Do we like to see this moving further into OBIEE?
  • Open up your c-level executive’s high level requirements and see whether they are being already covered by these existing reports.
  • Is there a backlog of users requests for enhancing the existing reports, create a new flavor of report based on the existing report?
  • Can all reports be viewed by every one? How are the users segmented so that groups can be created to access these reports?
  • Does the report format change based on the user? Is there any row level security involved? Is there any column level security involved in these reports?  Simply ask ‘Who can see what’ for each of these reports.
  • Do you analyze information or conduct analysis quarter over quarter or year over year? How far back do you go to support your analysis?
  • Ask for access to the recent support ticket logs and see whether there is any trend of problem areas with the reports.
  • Organizing the reports by business importance i.e. mission critical every day, end of month report to be ready by 2nd fiscal week of next month etc. etc..
  • What is the existing support structure for these BI reports? Ex: When a user has problem, he goes to his assigned power user, if power user cant resolve it, create a ticket for BI team.
  • Identify the existing drill down capabilities in the existing reports. Is this still valid? How often does these hierarchies change? Ex: A Product Hierarchy is created every month, we create a new IT request to include this new product hierarchy and it gets added.
  • Identify the common dimensions and hierarchies used in most of these reports. Ex: Time, Product, Customer
  • Identify the common set of filters that are being built across all these dimensions.
  • What are the known gotchas with the existing data in the data warehouse. Do we have reports where multiple versions of truth is always a problem just because the way these reports are set up?
  • Are there any decodes, if this is ‘x’ then ‘y’ kind of expressions developed as part of the reports?
  • Are we happy with the existing refresh schedules?
  • What output formats are being supported by these reports? Ex: Excel, PDF, web-based always.
  • Identify any enhancements that would really delight the customer based on an existing report.
  • Identify opportunities where previous attempts failed and the it did not make any financial sense at that time. Review these with your users and see whether that it is still the same.
  • Document on how each of these reports fits strategically to the organization’s goals and performance monitoring. What are the success factors for your organization? Are these factors quantifiable? How do you know you are on track to achieve your results? How often does the department’s/organization’s goals change?
  • Does any of the existing reports help you predict problems? Are there any alerting mechanisms built into these reports? Who gets these alerts?
  • Check the reports for the visualization techniques used in the existing reports. Does it make sense to replicate them as is or see whether you can add new web 2.0 widgets for data visualizations. Ex: There was never a goal against this KPI before. Now, we have one. We like a dial chart on the first page of our report to show how we are performing weekly, quarterly, yearly.
  • Identify users and see what level of familiarity do they have with this data. Segment these users based on criteria like influence, authority, participation levels. You always need high influencial, high authoritative and high participative users. Deal slowly and patiently with low influential and highly pessimistic users.
  • Identify the BI technology trends in their organization. Ex: We used to have these nice and fancy all excel based reports. Then the IT has changed our strategy 5 years ago and asked us to start using Micro Strategy tool. Now, we are going to go OBIEE. Check the pulse of your users to see how excited they are.  As the technology changed, did something worked better? Did something get lost as part of the transition. Look for those transition pain points and make sure you have/develop some strategies on how to deal with them if you encounter one.

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