When you consider how data will be delivered to users, it’s important to consider their specific needs, which will likely be varied, depending on their roles in your organization.
A first consideration is information security. You won’t want every user to have access to every piece of data you are collecting. Someone on your warehouse floor won’t need the same information as your CFO. In addition, you need to think about securing data that a user might access remotely.
You also need to think about your delivery platform. While many users consume data on their PCs, an increasing number of users are using mobile devices. Therefore, you need to think about how they will be viewing data, and what is best for that mode of delivery.
What do you want each user to see? How should the data be presented? Presentation can impact how a user understands the data, so it’s important to think about the best interface for specific roles and responsibilities. Will your users be accessing the system remotely? Do you want them to receive a static report with no ability to interact with or change the presentation of the data? Do you want them to be able to interact with the data by clicking navigation controls and filters? Should they have full ad hoc interactive access to the data so they can dive in, drill down, pivot on different dimensions, and create their own visualizations?
Finally, it’s important to understand your users’ challenges based on their roles and ways of accessing data. Will they need significant training? Is the data organized in a way that allows users to view it logically and gain insight?
You should map out the different types of users based on the issues above and put together a plan for each type. Let’s take a look at the table below to illustrate what we’re talking about.
|Types of Users||Display Types||Challenges|
In this table, we see the different types of users on the left, the different display types in the center, and their challenges on the right. Understanding how users access the system and the challenges for each type of user will enable you to determine the best ways to deliver data.
For example, your executive will likely view data through a portal or dashboard in order to access summarized information. There is typically not a need for static reports and analytics. The data that the executive wants to access must be consistent over time. The look and feel of the data must also be consistent.
For other executives, there are challenges with customization. For example, your CFO needs to view data differently than your CMO does. How will you need to deliver information in the most relevant and intuitive way for each executive?
For your power users who are viewing data from a decision support system (DSS), your challenge lies with freedom: how do you give them the ability to more thoroughly investigate data from whichever angle they’d like to explore it?
When considering remote users who are viewing data through a portal or static reports, it’s important to address challenges related to access, such as ensuring that your data is secure when being viewed outside the firewall.
Training is also important for all users. Even at the most fundamental level, users will need to know how to access the BI tool, what information can be found there, how often it is updated, and how to provide feedback. More advanced users will require deeper training regarding the interface and interactive capabilities.
You’ll see that it’s about mixing and matching these different considerations to balance the needs of your users.
How Dimensional Insight Handles Delivery of Information
We designed The Diver Solution (Diver) to simplify the information delivery process. Diver ensures that users are given timely access to metrics. It delivers data in a format that is meaningful to users’ specific role. It supports role-based access, so different users can be given access to data they are cleared to view. It acts as a reliable, centralized information access point. It uses dashboards, charts, reports and views of key performance indicators (KPIs) to provide a personalized point of information access or retrieval.
Post by: Bernard Seban
About Bernard Seban
Bernard Seban is vice president of channel sales at Dimensional Insight. He is responsible for evaluating and recruiting new ISVs, marketing/channel partners, and VARs. Prior to managing Dimensional Insight’s channel sales, Bernard supervised the company’s technical support group and provided the sales organization with pre-sales technical assistance.