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Sam Vanga

Sam Vanga helps business people solve their data problems and enables them make data-driven-decisions. His specialties include data integration, data warehouse and database development, and BI design. Sam blogs at http://SamuelVanga.com.

BI Pyramid (read categories of users in a BI solution)

Purpose of any business intelligence solution is to provide users information and enable them to make intelligent decisions that benefit their business. But one size solution doesn’t fit all.

Depending on their job duties and where they fall in the management chain, users can be categorized into at least three groups. A successful BI solution will come in different flavors to fulfill the requirements of these different users.

A pyramid resembles the users in an organization.

Operations: Draw two imaginary lines horizontally across the pyramid dividing it into three sections. The bottom section is the widest, this can be attributed to a group of users that are responsible for day-to-day operations, running business as usual (BAU). These users will be interested in transactions and detail data. Report requirements from these users are predictable, predefined and standard. Predefined or canned reports from components like SSRS, Excel are created for this purpose.

Analysts: The next level up is a group that can be called data analysts or middle management. Identifying trends, detail business analysis, strategic decision-making is carried out by this group. They usually start at a place, drill down into more details, slice and dice the data across different areas. Report requirements from this group are unpredictable. Ad-hoc reporting capabilities are to be provided to them by using tools like report builder, excel pivot tables, power pivot for excel.

Executives: Last but not the least top section of the pyramid represents the key group of users that make executive decisions. Users like sales managers, execs. They are highly interested in summary information like yearly sales amount, total items sold etc., In addition these users can’t spend a lot of time to go through all the reports and get what they want. Dashboards will provide executives the ability to get results fastly.

In summary

Canned Reports for Operations
Ad hoc reports for Middle Management
Dashboards for Executives

~Sam


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