The enemy of BI adoption is treating all your users the same. Each role and person in your organization will use your BI platform differently, so you must deliver a solution that fits each individuals needs. You should consider aspects such as tool complexity, usage of visualizations, navigation and accessibility.
Executive Users will be best served with high level dashboards, mobile access, and real time alerts. The typical executive (an effective one anyways) doesn’t spend a great deal of time behind their computer. When they do, they are likely short on time and are looking for the bottom line on their organization’s performance. Dashboards are great for displaying all the relevant information on a single screen, allowing your user to have a one stop shop for when they are at their computer. With most of an executive’s time comprising of meetings and talking with folks, having mobile access from their handheld device (BlackBerry, iPhone, etc.) will provide them with metrics where and when they need them. Couple this with real-time alerts via email, and your Executive users will be able to leverage your BI platform according to their needs.
In contrast, front line users (Customer Service Representatives, Sales Representatives, etc.) need intelligence that is bundled in with their business processes. To drive maximum effectiveness you want to inject Business Intelligence into the operational systems these people use every day. This can take forms such as surfacing a Customer Lifetime Value score to assist with save strategies when a customer is calling to disconnect, or providing real time alerts into your Customer Relationship Management system when a critical order deadline has passed. You certainly don’t want these roles that are the face to the customer wasting time flipping between their operational screens and the BI portal!
The way you provide a tailored user experience to your BI clients is critical to drive adoption towards the goal of pervasive BI. Spend extra time and attention to this aspect when you are planning any major BI deployment and you will reap the benefits.