Chapter 28. Ten Questions to Consider When You're Selecting User Tools

In This Chapter

  • Asking questions about using tools

  • Getting the scoop on how a tool might work in your organization

  • Finding out about the quality of online help

  • Figuring out how a tool deals with the computer-crash test

Few things are more frustrating than successfully building a data warehouse and then having it rendered unusable by less-than-satisfactory user tools. This chapter presents some questions to consider when you're evaluating tools that you might want to purchase.

Do I Want a Smorgasbord or a Sit-Down Restaurant?

Bet you weren't expecting a question like this to pop up, were you? I use this analogy often because it helps frame the discussion of what you're looking at in a tool. When business intelligence was initially created, there was a broad vision that users could serve themselves. The user would go to one environment, insulated by all the underpinnings of the data, and merely ask a question and get an answer, ask the next question, and so on. But IT has often restricted the tool so that end user can't access it, so they can't self-serve — like in a sit-down restaurant. Let me explain:

  • The diner must wait to be seated at the restaurant, which is equivalent to the user trying to find someone in IT to listen to him or her.

  • When a waiter is assigned to a section of the restaurant that the diner is seated in, that waiter must serve the other customers while the diner sits and waits, much like someone in IT ...

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