SAP Business Intelligence failure

correct example 1 in Blog A HichertBy Anita Gibbings, Director, BI Product Marketing, SAP

I recently had the opportunity to spend some time with . For those who might not be familiar with the professor, he is one of the top visualization gurus. The information he shared with me is relevant to so many organizations that I decided to share what I learned in a two-part blog series.

In my next blog, I’ll describe in more detail the actual methodology and visualization standards that Professor Hichert has defined. These have been adopted by a long list of global companies that include German Telekom, the Swiss post office, and the German military. For now, I want to focus on sharing some of the key things I learned from speaking with Professor Hichert about how you can benefit from his almost 30 years of business intelligence (BI) experience.

Faster BI Project Execution = Reduced BI Project Failures

Just imagine you’ve moved into a new, completely empty apartment and you’re standing in Home Depot trying to choose the pieces you need to put together your kitchen, office, and other rooms. Then imagine that instead of Home Depot, you’re in IKEA, where you see thoughtfully put together examples of various rooms where the pieces all work together to create a harmonious look and feel. Certainly starting with IKEA is going to save you a lot of time and energy.

Your organization should use the same sort of rationale to decide upon using a standard visualization framework. In dashboard design, an enormous amount of time is consumed in order to make all the little detailed choices necessary: What font size? How big should the spaces be between the columns? What format should the title be in and what information should it contain? What color should be used to indicate different categories such as budget, actual, and previous years? How much space should there be between two charts? How should the measures be defined and laid out? In framework, there are literally hundreds of little rules.

Consider the following Example 1:

Example 1: This dashboard shows some of Hichert’s suggestions: Message on top; Standard title concept; Consistent scaling; Red and green only for variances; Selective labeling to avoid noise

Avoid Reinventing the Wheel to speed up your Project

A lot of business intelligence and dashboard projects fail simply because they take too long to complete – before you are finished, the management or the strategy change and suddenly you’re back at square one again.

You can improve your odds of project success by using a standard framework to eliminate many of these decisions and the endless discussions around shades of color, and so on. Don’t reinvent the wheel with each new project.


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