Users are annoying, do we have to involve them now?

As an IT professional, users are your customers, and they should be treated as such. Speak with them, and get them involved now! A contractor couldn’t build a desirable house for a family without knowing the details of what that family needs…Do they have children? Pets? How many cars or boats? In this scenario you are the contractor. Your job is to design and build a business intelligence solution that meets the needs of your customers, the users.

In my experience users are very enthused about implementing a new business intelligence solution. They look forward to better tools, richer data, and an all around more robust system. When you are determining what data needs to be included in your data warehouse, leverage the users’ enthusiasm to help you construct the metaphorical house that they will be living in.

Yes! This means having meetings! Meet with analysts and marketers. Meet with executives and department heads. Meet in groups and meet individually. Meet often! Users will likely not know how to communicate with you exactly what data they need, so it is your job to extract this information from them. Have a list of questions for each of your users. This will likely spur delightful conversation that is loaded with data requirements. The key goal here is to figure out “What are your customers/users trying to accomplish, and what data do they need to be successful?”

 So find out what your users need, help them to accomplish their goals, and they will help your new business intelligence solution shine in all of its glory (which of course, makes you look good).

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