BizTech Blog

"What Reports and Dashboards Would You Like?"

Posted by Stephen Goldsmith

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Apr 7, 2011 11:49:15 AM

Getting started on a Business Intelligence (BI) project can be the most difficult part of the project. There are countless places to start. The common approach is to ask a business user “What reports and dashboards would you like?” This is a recipe for disaster. Most business people will struggle to articulate their requirements and, at best, will provide a set of reports which will likely already meet their needs rather than truly improve their operations.

The best way to begin a BI project is to follow a simple three step process. First, focus on a particular functionally-oriented business problem, objective or strategy. For example, a VP of Procurement who is trying to partner with suppliers to reduce the cost of raw materials, improve quality and on-time delivery.

Second, ask “What business questions need to be answered to address the business problem?” Continuing with the example, a question might be “Which suppliers does the company spend the most money with?”

Finally, once the set of questions are developed, identify specific BI reports that answer the business questions. Again, continuing with the procurement example, the question might lead to a report called “Top 10 suppliers in terms of total spend.”

Again, the options for BI in an organization are vast. Following this three step process can help jumpstart and give focus to any BI project that is lacking a purpose or direction.

Topics: Oracle Business Intelligence