Giving BI a Human Touch


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Behavioral BI is a human-centric approach to business intelligence, providing users with customized and credible information. The result: increased BI adoption, better ROI, IT/business alignment and information management maturity.

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Giving BI a Human Touch

  1. 1. • Cognizant 20-20 InsightsGiving BI a Human Touch Executive Summary intuitive as possible. To achieve this, IT organiza- tions must listen to what business users want and To ensure widespread adoption of business intel- provide them with the required information while ligence (BI) practices, organizations have been delivering an appropriate user experience. increasingly deploying state-of-the-art tools and techniques. However, most of these initiatives We have created a unified and human-centric have met with little success. Why? One reason: The solution that provides users with customized majority of BI systems have been designed on the and credible information, business continuity basis of how technology approaches a problem. and an avenue for virtual collaboration that we However, BI technology rarely meets its objective call behavioral BI (BBI). BBI espouses four key of aiding human cognition of a particular business principles to recreate the BI foundation required scenario. Even the improvements in technology to deliver a superior user experience (see have not helped to increase BI adoption, because Figure 1). lost in the pursuit of technological excellence is a lack of focus on user behavior. This white paper lays out the conceptual framework for embracing BBI. We then discuss Instead of forcing the user to adapt to the BBI’s implications and benefits across industries. technology, it is necessary to make BI tools as The Four Pillars of BBI Information Business Information Contextual Customization Continuity Credibility Comprehension Address the Provide a seamless Help users Improve information changing user experience understand the sharing by integrating decision-making by decoupling the business context BI artifacts with behavior of presentation layer and data lineage by Web 2.0-based individual business from the BI providing information mechanisms. users by continuously infrastructure. and its related revising BI content metadata in the and presentation. same view. BI Personalization Information Interlinked Virtual from BBI Delivery with BBI Metadata Collaboration Services in BBI of BBI Figure 1 cognizant 20-20 insights | november 2011
  2. 2. Information Customization Seamless Business ContinuityBy personalizing the report or dashboard views This principle involves the decoupling of the pre-that users access, companies can enrich the user sentation or access layer from the rest of the BIexperience. Here, personalization does not merely infrastructure. An independent and centralizedrefer to modifying report color and background; Web-based report access application has multipleit primarily attempts to capture the information benefits:access behavior of the end user. Getting thererequires a customized BBI portal that serves as • The BI team can drastically reduce its efforts and costs around training users on BI tools.a one-stop-shop for all BI user needs. Access toinformation (e.g., relevant processes, reports • End users avoid a steep learning curve eachand metrics) is determined by strict access and time a BI tool migration or upgrade exercise issecurity privileges mapped to specific roles within undertaken.the organization. • BI users can have an enriched view of insights integrated from multiple BI tools (e.g., BusinessFigure 2 illustrates the home page of our Objects, Cognos, MicroStrategy, SSRS, etc.)BBI-based BI solution portal. Our solution tracks and information sources (Internet, RSS feeds,individual usage patterns to display reports that market news, etc.).were recently retrieved, are frequently accessedand are similar to reports retrieved by peers. The This principle is also based on the premise thatuser can easily drag and drop portlets to design a removing the dependence of the access layer onpersonal home page. Our approach allows users the BI tool enables “back-” and “front-end” envi-to add/remove applications from the portal in a ronments. By making the back-end infrastructurefew clicks. Users can also choose from various available as an ensemble of service-orientedlayouts and designs to suit personal taste and components, IT organizations can more effective-convenience. The landing page carries a snapshot ly manage technology changes while minimizingof key metrics in a dashboard, enabling users to the impact on end users.get a quick view of the data, easily track informa-tion and take immediate action. Information Credibility One of the key benefits of BBI is that it wraps theOver time, the system is intelligent enough to reports/dashboards with operational metadata.notice a trend in the user’s access behavior, and This helps answer many questions that otherwisethe reports will dynamically adapt the content to would result in a gradual drop-off in user inter-reflect these patterns. est and trust in the data. Metadata provides usersPersonalized BI Portal ViewFigure 2 cognizant 20-20 insights 2
  3. 3. with process details, as well as definition, lineage, to view more granular data without switching tolatency, percentage of data rejects, etc. This helps another report.users understand the process related to creatingthe report, the business and technical metadata Contextual Comprehensionthat underlies the report and information regard- Peer-to-peer communication is the most effectiveing the report owners. Tech-savvy users can tool for learning and enhancing BI adoption.apply these technical insights and even suggest Leveraging Web 2.0 technologies to promoterequired changes to the system administrator. BBI for instant feedback and peer-to-peer com- munication improves sharing and understandingInterlinking an information unit with metadata of information. It allows users to instantly log anyand its source and transformation lineage allows issue or even a wish list that they discover whileusers to verify the data in a few clicks. This lends browsing through their reports. Users not onlya great deal of credibility to the data. By wrapping can provide reviews, but they can also see howthe metadata into the reporting architecture, others perceived a particular report, which helpsbusiness users can better understand the process increase credibility and user interaction. They canunderlying the report, as well as the attributes also request the administrator to publish the newlyof the technical and report owners. This insight created report to the whole team and, important-increases trust and user adoption. ly, instantly chat with other users and administra- tors to clarify and resolve problems. This helpsA “report search” facility linked to business the admin understand user needs promptly andmetadata is embedded to transform users from improve the delivery of required finders to information seekers by providingan effective search capability that leverages the With BBI, users can also create mashups ofunderlying business metadata model. The solution reports by combining two reports into a singleis capable of performing advanced file search, one. This helps in comparing the results of twodatabase search and content search to discover reports side-by-side. They can use the easy-to-usespecific reports. Because users can retrieve interface of BBI to select the two reports, whichrelevant reports, this approach prevents report will be displayed side-by-side on the same screenproliferation. It also allows users to drill down (see Figure 3).Comparing Two Reports on One ScreenFigure 3 cognizant 20-20 insights 3
  4. 4. BBI: A Before-and-After View Benefit Scene 1: Scene 2: Industry Illustrated Before Behavioral BI After Behavioral BI User Experience Record and Logistics The fleet efficiency of a When the manager drills down to identify particular geography has been state-level metrics three times in usage running low for the past few succession, the system identifies the patterns months. The manager opens access behavior and displays the and modify the dashboard and drills down metrics directly on the dashboard report views to the metrics for the state home page. accordingly. every day. Track Telecom Churn figures drop When the region head “right-clicks” metadata unexpectedly. The region head the churn figure, he or she can alert and lineage calls all business managers to the system administrator about the directly from a meeting. After three days of suspected error. The administrator the report. analysis, the data used in the checks back and locates the error churn calculations is found to immediately. be incorrect. Obtain Manufacturing A procurement manager The central Web-based report insights from (a Cognos power user) draws viewing application integrates multiple inventory reports, receives inventory levels from Cognos, sources and vendor alerts using Hyperion, vendor alerts from Hyperion, cost analyses in obtains cost analyses using analyses from SAS, inventory levels the same SAS and tracks industry news from Cognos and an Internet RSS view. via RSS feeds. feed in the same view. The manager no longer needs to be a power user of any tool. Get instant Media IP creation and knowledge- An ad campaign lead can search the collaboration sharing on ad campaigns business wiki for ideas for adhesives and Web developed by subsidiaries and contact the author of the wiki 2.0-based across the globe are done on best-suited to current needs. One knowledge an ad hoc basis. Many good click opens a messenger window sharing. ideas that are created in one and sets up a VOIP call between the region are not shared with involved parties. teams in other regions.Figure 4BBI Applied Across Industries • BI-User Proximity: Through a “pull effect” on users, BI adoption can be increased.Figure 4 explains the impact of implementingBI in different scenarios across a few industries. • Increased ROI: Through BI adoption andScene 1 refers to the scenario prior to the imple- usage, ROI can be increased.mentation of the BBI framework; the correspond- • BI-Business Alignment: IT can react ining Scene 2 depicts the change in the situation real-time to business needs/changes.or experience once the framework has been suc-cessfully implemented. • BI Maturity: The organization is elevated to the next level in information management.So what is it in it for you? With BBI deployment,your organization can achieve:About the AuthorKarthik Krishnamurthy is the Global Business Leader for Cognizant’s Enterprise Information ManagementPractice. Karthik holds a post-graduate degree in business administration from the Indian Institute ofManagement (IIM), India. He can be reached at cognizant 20-20 insights 4
  5. 5. About CognizantCognizant (NASDAQ: CTSH) is a leading provider of information technology, consulting, and business process out-sourcing services, dedicated to helping the world’s leading companies build stronger businesses. Headquartered inTeaneck, New Jersey (U.S.), Cognizant combines a passion for client satisfaction, technology innovation, deep industryand business process expertise, and a global, collaborative workforce that embodies the future of work. With over 50delivery centers worldwide and approximately 130,000 employees as of September 30, 2011, Cognizant is a member ofthe NASDAQ-100, the S&P 500, the Forbes Global 2000, and the Fortune 500 and is ranked among the top performingand fastest growing companies in the world. Visit us online at or follow us on Twitter: Cognizant. World Headquarters European Headquarters India Operations Headquarters 500 Frank W. Burr Blvd. 1 Kingdom Street #5/535, Old Mahabalipuram Road Teaneck, NJ 07666 USA Paddington Central Okkiyam Pettai, Thoraipakkam Phone: +1 201 801 0233 London W2 6BD Chennai, 600 096 India Fax: +1 201 801 0243 Phone: +44 (0) 20 7297 7600 Phone: +91 (0) 44 4209 6000 Toll Free: +1 888 937 3277 Fax: +44 (0) 20 7121 0102 Fax: +91 (0) 44 4209 6060 Email: Email: Email:© Copyright 2011, Cognizant. All rights reserved. No part of this document may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, transmitted in any form or by anymeans, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the express written permission from Cognizant. The information contained herein issubject to change without notice. All other trademarks mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners.