Making Business Intelligence More Usable

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Making BI tools more usable, given at the February 2008 TDWI Executive Summit in Las Vegas. This is a short conceptual talk about what usability and experience are like on the web and with consumer technologies as contrasted with what users see when a BI tool is dropped in front of them. Quite a contrast. Let's push our vendors for usability improvements instead of bogging us down with more features that won't be used or yet another chart type.

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Making Business Intelligence More Usable

  1. 1. Making BI More Usable Have some empathy for non-technical users Mark Madsen – Feb. 18, 2008 www.ThirdNature.net Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivative http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/us/
  2. 2. What Do Most BI Users Want? Not the best of everything, just tools that are not: • Hard to learn • Difficult to use • Time consuming • Frustrating They want what they use at work to be like what they use at home: • Intuitive • Simple • Immediate • Personal This is innovation from the outer edges, the consumerization of BI. Slide 2 Third Nature, January 2008 Mark Madsen
  3. 3. “When technology delivers basic needs, user experience dominates” Don Norman
  4. 4. What’s the user experience here? Slide 4 Third Nature, January 2008 Mark Madsen
  5. 5. “Better experiences, not more features.” Roland Rust
  6. 6. Example: Web 2.0 and Mashups What’s wrong with the City of Oakland CrimeWatch web site? Figuring out what to do Doing it once you figure it out Navigation Control Display Exceptions These are classic BI problems, and you can almost recognize a familiar BI interface process here [demo] Slide 6 Third Nature, January 2008 Mark Madsen
  7. 7. Example: Web 2.0 and Mashups Oakland Crimespotting is an example of a web site (City of Oakland police CrimeWatch) re-imagined using better information design practices. [demo] One non-obvious comment: mashups often remove features and user choice Slide 7 Third Nature, January 2008 Mark Madsen
  8. 8. A Common BI Problem: The Invisible Crowd
  9. 9. Fixing Things A Little Bit Slide 9 Third Nature, January 2008 Mark Madsen
  10. 10. What’s the Most Common BI Activity? Slide 10 Third Nature, January 2008 Mark Madsen
  11. 11. How Does BI Address Findability? Taxonomies aka Categories implemented as Folders Slide 11 Third Nature, January 2008 Mark Madsen
  12. 12. What’s the BI User’s Experience? Slide 12 Third Nature, January 2008 Mark Madsen
  13. 13. How do web sites address findability? Where are my report folders? Slide 13 Third Nature, January 2008 Mark Madsen
  14. 14. How Can Search Be Used In BI? • Search within a BI tool to find: • reports, charts, queries, dashboards • Search within a BI tool to generate an ad-hoc query from the underlying metadata • Search across multiple BI instances or different BI tools • Search across both BI and traditional documents indexed via search engines • But that’s just searching. Building on top of search… • Tags and search • Incorporate user ratings for relevancy • Recommendations for reports, e.g. people who ran X also ran Y Slide 14 Third Nature, January 2008 Mark Madsen
  15. 15. Example: Search Within BI Short demo of one BI search implementation: Progress EasyAsk Slide 15 Third Nature, January 2008 Mark Madsen
  16. 16. How Can We Benefit From Better Usability? • Self service • Discovery • Adoption Slide 16 Third Nature, January 2008 Mark Madsen
  17. 17. CC Image Attributions Thanks to the people who supplied the creative commons licensed images used in this presentation: • motionless in crowd2.jpg - http://flickr.com/photos/laburbuja/149566116/ • man does something about his future - http://flickr.com/photos/eklektikos/77801351 • teapot.jpg - http://flickr.com/photos/joi/411403/ Slide 17 Third Nature, January 2008 Mark Madsen
  18. 18. Creative Commons This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/us/ or send a letter to Creative Commons, 543 Howard Street, 5th Floor, San Francisco, California, 94105, USA. Slide 18 Third Nature, January 2008 Mark Madsen

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