2012-12-16

Office activity peaks and Business Intelligence users

Every Database Administrator knows there are work related activity peaks during the day in the office. You have a long peak of activity shortly after most workers arrive in the morning and another shorter one before lunch. After lunch there is an hour of intense activity and a short burst of activity at the end of the day. In between those two peaks not much is happening. How do I measure? In the ERP systems of course, when we work we tend to use the ERP systems, so to measure the work activity rate just calculate the ERP transaction rate. As you may have noticed I’m vague in timings of the peaks. If you have observed activity peaks in different countries you know activity  differs between countries.  I will not mention more about that other than Swedes tend to come in early in the morning, I myself is a bit extreme I often start between 05.30 and 06.00.
A good friend of mine and ex-colleague Ulf Davidsson co-creator of the Data Warehouse used the Business Intelligence system activity to categorise BI-workers into ‘ doers ’ and ‘thinkers ’. The doers start early in the morning and pick up the reports they need for their day tasks. The thinkers tend to come in later their activity peak coinciding with the after lunch peak. The classification into doers and thinkers are quite useful. Doers need precise detailed but rather limited amounts of information in Excel format, while the thinkers are more for quantity ‘give me all, I want all goods movements in all factories since the days of Eden’ and they prefer olap  presentation of the information, today we use Qlikview  for olap visualization. The doers request 100% quality of data, while thinkers demands performance. (The first thinker using the Data Warehouse Styrbj√∂rn Horn  forced me to upgrade the hardware, at the time we were operating on scrapped laptops, ‘I go bonkers while waiting for my reports’. Styrbj√∂rn later founded his own company Navetti .)
A common mistake creating BI is to create the BI for thinkers, since they seldom have detailed knowledge of data, they assume it is correct and when they finally find bad data quality they can be nasty to deal with. When you create a BI application you should find the doers that benefit from the system and start by create reports for them, if they find the reports useful they will help you iron out quality issues. (You should base your BI on solving problems rather than visions and grand ideas.) When the application is stable with correct data it is time to invite the thinkers, if they find your application useful they will help you with the performance issues. Thinkers often have a budget and they can be surprisingly generous if they like your BI system.
This post is based on generalized observations, there are swedish nighthawks and early birds from other countries. We do not only work in ERP and BI systems. BI doers can also be thinkers and vice versa.
I have no connections to those behind the olap video link, I stumbled across it and I like it, especially the brick wall, to create successful BI you must be in the business.
My only connections to Navetti are professional, we use their software and ‘my’ systems feed their software with information.
 
     

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