It goes without saying that any company’s IT department should be knowledgeable about the overall technical specifications and abilities of its current or prospective BI solution. What may not be so obvious is that beyond the technical side of things, your tech-savvy employees need to be aware of some other aspects pertaining to your reporting solution and your solution provider.
Below are four main areas that IT folks should be familiar with, either when deciding on a BI solution or in utilizing your current one. This is not of course a full list, but it is a good starting point in getting IT positioned as an effective BI support-player.
Customization: Having all of your data available to you whenever you need it is great, but you don’t need to see all of it at once. Your BI software should allow you a high degree of customization. For example, Entrinsik’s Informer allows users to customize just about everything, including the specific reports you run, what columns and groups you see in that report, and even what information from a report you see in a dashboard visualization.
Ease of use for your end-users: As an IT professional, what may be the most important thing you need to know about your BI solution is how easy it is for non-IT users to effectively use it. A simple, straightforward user interface, no complicated data querying, and the ability to run customized, ad-hoc reports is essential to usability. If end-users can use your BI solution software without IT assistance, IT professionals can focus on other issues.
Tech support: Along with being easy to use, IT staff should know that there is reliable technical support available to them and end-users from your BI solution provider. Having customer support that both IT and non-IT users can utilize eliminates the need for IT to be the first stop when users have questions.
Functionality: Above all, IT employees need to know how their BI solution software works, from implementation to upgradability and maintenance. How long does it take to install the software and are there additional hardware or server requirements? How will the software affect the company’s servers? How often are upgrades available? Is the application web-based and what browsers will it work with? Can the software report off of my data sources whether they’re SQL, U2, etc.? These are just a few questions that your IT employees should ask before choosing a provider or be able to answer about your current BI solution.