Tag Archives: participate

become rich and famous, well kind of famous, next year

Stephen Few, over at Perceptual Edge, last month launched their 2012 Dashboard Design Competition and you need to hurry up and get cracking as the closing date is Sept 21, 2012!

The basic idea is to present student performance data in a dashboard so that a teacher can rapidly and effectively monitor the performance of students to help them improve their math skills.

Links to the data are provided on the blog post here and contain behavior, aptitude, and achievement information for students in a single high school mathematics class.

I wish I had some spare time to devote to this exercise.

The winner of the competition will get their dashboard included in Stephen’s Second Edition of Information Dashboard Design, due out in 2013.

Bootnote:  Stephen has also just released the Second Edition of his first book:  Show Me the Numbers, available now.

why connecting matters

I have been lucky enough to present and attended several conferences in the last year – while I like presenting and attending presentations, what I find most important are the chance conversations with other users and industry experts.

One example during a recent conference, was a presentation on developing business intelligence for a US based city council – the speaker talked about how they were able to pull in many disparate sources to provide a single reporting platform that covered almost everything the city covered from water quality to fire response times to even prisoner data …

At the end, I was asked what I thought the dashboards and how they were presented – from the brief overview it seemed to provide the information the users were asked for.  We chatted for a while discussion the various metrics and how they actually worked out how to determine when the fire engine response time was calculated, but finally we got to some more in depth questions:

So after reviewing the key charts and metrics, what did the user do next, where did they navigate to?

While they knew what the users had previously as reports and what they had requested, there was no way to know exactly how they used the system or after reviewing the data where they went next, if they looked at other information.

While users within an organization can use a report differently they tend to separate into two areas – executives and analysts.  Execs are mainly interested in several key metrics, with which they measure the business, while analysts and business managers like to be able to drill to the details behind trends and outliers.

This made me think of how difficult it really is to understand how users interact with the systems even with users who are in a fairly close geographical area … I’m dealing with a similar issue at a current client in developing reporting for users but it’s more complicated as their users are located all over the globe in Asia, Europe as well as North and Latin Americas.

So how do you determine what they are actually doing?

– asking questions can help, but you need to also ask, after you have looked at the report WHAT do you do next, WHERE do you navigate and WHY?

At a previous engagement the process was documented by the users as a “standard P&L” they actually looked at the operating expenses & headcount data first, comparing budget vs actuals to see who was over spending – so they knew who to call first!   We were able to replace this with an dashboard style report which highlighted these key metrics in colors, so they were spending more time connecting with their business managers rather than going from report to report.

This made me view the interactions that report consumers have with the reports in a new light – I’ve always been a fan of learning and previously relied on structured learning environments like classrooms or tutorials but I’m now on the outlook for chance encounters more often and what I can learn from them.

Have your say on how you use Business Intelligence tools

  Ever thought that it would be nice once in a while that you could actually reach out to the folks that make products to really tell them how you use their products?

Well, the Oracle Business Intelligence User Experience (BIUX) Team are doing just that, wanting to know what and how you use various Business Intelligence to do reporting. They ask several questions about what you use and how you use it and also cover the topic of mobile reporting.

OBIEE 11.1.1.5 released earlier this month introduced support for iPhone and iPad, if you didn’t know.

Click this link to have your say.

It’s listed as being able to complete in 10 minutes, although you should be able to do it in 5, I reckon 😉

The survey remains open until May 31, 2011. So get cracking.

your chance to provide feedback on Oracle Hyperion products

It’s not often that users have the chance to provide direct feedback and suggestions to product managers and designers.

The UK Oracle User Group are providing a format for that in their annual Hyperion survey. They then feed the results directly to Oracle, so that they can act on the feedback they receive.

What would you say to a senior member of Oracle staff if you were given the chance?   Take the opportunity to submit your views today: www.oug.org/epmsurvey

Please note that the survey close date is July 28th, so get cracking!