An Enterprise Reporting System Gives Multiple Options

This is the continuation of the transcript of a Webinar hosted by InetSoft on the topic of "An Explanation of Business Intelligence." The speaker is Abhishek Gupta, Product Manager at InetSoft.

An enterprise reporting system is going to give us multiple options. If you remember our little pyramid, let me draw a straight line. So we've got our pyramid. Down here are the executives, and up here we've got the team leads. So if we are a team lead, our reporting is probably directly into these systems here. We are wanting to see the individual defects. We are wanting to take a look at a particular order.

We are wanting to look at one or two or three individual entries by our team members. Down here with the executives though, the executive reporting is wanting to go against the data warehouse. The executives want less detail, more aggregations. We want to see how this is working within the enterprise. So that's likely against the data warehouse.

Now this is not all. There's one more aspect of a business intelligence implementation. Can you guess? Can you imagine what it might be? I'll tell you it's not technically software. It's not technically hardware based. We have the databases people put stuff into. We have the reports that people read and theoretically used for smart decision making. What's missing here? What's missing is training.

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Give People Great Reporting Systems

You can give people great reporting systems. You can give them great reports, but if they are not trained on how to use them, if they don't understand the meaning of these reports, if they don't stop bugging your programmers to create new reports because those reports already exist out there, but this person just refuses to listen and understand that they are already there, then it's just going to be a failure for that person. So training on how to use the reporting system is going to be very important.

I did segment this originally in my first version of this slide, and there were multiple areas of training, but in the end I just left it to be training on how to use the reporting system because I felt the other segments were covered already. The other thing that I was going to include just to kind of give you an idea, is that your users or your programmers, somebody needs to be trained on data quality. Garbage in equals garbage out, right.

So as the data comes into the data entry systems, we need to A, make sure that it's consistent as it comes into the data warehouse. We need to B, make sure that it conforms to a unified set of agreed upon rules and principles. We were all going to be reporting from the data warehouse so we have to interdepartmentally work together to come up with what the accepted things that go into the data warehouse are.

I know that's an understatement. We will cover more of that when we talk about what the data warehouse is. But this is your pretty standard very generic version of what business intelligence is all about. It's not a system. It's not a methodology. It’s not just about decision support. It's about the training. It's about the hardware and the software. It's a whole system that has to be implemented by the organization.

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About Monitoring Change

Now another thing about BI that I want to bring to mind is I think that it's all about monitoring change. It's identifying the things that are trending upwards or trending downwards and understanding why, understanding the context. For example, we are a supermarket, and all of a sudden we had this huge spike in sales in potato chips one day. If we were looking at it out of context, we might think that we just need to make sure on Fridays we have a large stock of potato chips.

But what if it just so happens that there was some major community food drive that gave people a tax credit for buying potato chips and donating them, and so therefore it was a one-time thing. We don't want to have a lot of potato chips in the store anymore. Let’s wait until next year if they do it again we’ll order extra potato chips, okay.

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