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Beyond reporting – delivering insights with next-generation analytics

Are you a business or technical manager responsible for measuring, monitoring or managing business performance? Do you oversee teams of analysts responsible for analyzing data to support strategic and tactical decisions and ongoing planning efforts? Are you trying to decide how best to outfit your organization with business intelligence and analytical tools to increase its analytical literacy? If so, this comprehensive report by The Data Warehousing Institute’s Wayne Eckerson is for you.

Eckerson says that one of the mistakes that organizations make when choosing business intelligence tools is “straddling the middle” – purchasing tools that are too complex for casual users and not sophisticated enough for power users. The key to successful deployment of BI technologies is to understand your users, their roles, the information they need and the way they want to consume and analyze the information. Unfortunately, there is no magic formula for providing users with the appropriate tools. Therefore, Eckerson recommends that before beginning the process of providing business intelligence and analytical tools to your organization, you should take the time to categorize users based on how they consume information.

Based on his research, Eckerson has devised a classification scheme to help. It divides all users into two main categories: consumers (casual users) and producers (power users). Consumers represent approximately 80 percent of most organizations, and producers make up the other 20 percent. Because producers generate information for many others to consume, their impact on the BI environment is greatly increased. His classification further divides the two main groups into subcategories, and from there he suggests mapping the groups to the types of BI output they use and/or produce.

Furthermore, he provides a framework called MAD (monitor, analyze, drill) that he says represents the optimal way to design your BI environment. The report then delves into the details and comparisons of the different types of analytical tools with plenty of charts and graphs to illustrate which users can benefit the most from which types of tools. It concludes with Eckerson’s easy-to-understand recommendations.

This research report was sponsored by eight vendors, including SAS, but no company names are mentioned and specific products are not referenced. It is a report that can help most any organization better understand their business intelligence needs and increase their analytical literacy.

Download the white paper: Beyond reporting – delivering insights with next-generation analytics

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