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Getting the Right Information to the Right People

Finding Your Best Path
Now, let's interpret your answers. We won't discuss every combination of answers but rather the most likely combinations of answers in the context of how they relate to different classes of BI solutions.

  • If you answered "a" to questions 1-5 and either "a" or "c" to question 6, you should be able to satisfy your company's BI needs by deploying an enterprise reporting system.
  • If you answered "b" to questions 1 and 2 and "a" to question 3 regardless of your answers to questions 4-6, you should evaluate multi-dimensional data presentation tools. You can decide whether the multi-dimensional tool should function at the desktop or server once you know more about the actual presentations your users need and the volume of data required to support those demands.
  • If you answered "b" or "c" to question 1, "a" to questions 2-5 and "b" to question 6, you should focus on deploying an enterprise reporting system and a data mart.
  • If you answered "d" to question 1, "b" to questions 2, 3 and 5, "b" or "c"  to question 4 and "d" to question 6, your requirements indicate the need for data marts in several areas, ideally supported by an enterprise data warehouse.
  • If you answered "e" to question 1, and "b" to questions 2 and 3 and "b" or "c" to question 5, regardless of your answer to questions 4 and 6, you have strong evidence to support the need for a CRM system. In addition, if you answered "b," "c" or "d" to question 6, you also have a strong argument for building an enterprise data warehouse.
  • If you answered "f" to question 1, youd be wise to explore data mining and predictive modeling solutions. The decision to move ahead with a data mining or predictive modeling project, however, is significant; the training and computing resources associated with this kind of analysis can be substantial.
  • If you answered "g" to question 1, a balanced scorecard project could be in order.

Other BI Options
The two classes of BI systems referenced at the top of this article but not shown as a possible solution for any of the sets of requirements are the analytical application and the Web portal. This is in no way meant to diminish the value of these solutions. The decision to deploy them requires a different type of business requirements analysis.

Analytical applications--Analytical applications can take many forms and usually are specifically designed to serve a particular industry segment. One could certainly make a convincing argument for placing the analytical components of CRM solutions in this segment. It is separate in this discussion solely because of its tremendous popularity.


Bill Langston is director of marketing for New Generation Software Inc., and a developer of iSeries BI software. He can be reached at



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