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Tips to Streamline Decision-making with BIP

Did you know that Albert Einstein favored suits of the same design and color, so that he didn’t have to waste mental energy deciding what to wear? President Obama takes the same tack too, explaining that he has too many other decisions to make to add further choices about what to eat or to wear. Decision-making in projects is similar. There’s usually more than enough going on without having to worry about the underlying mechanics of information formatting and presentation. That’s why it’s important with a powerful tool like Oracle’s BI Publisher to get beyond the ‘How Does It Work’ stage and leverage the ‘What Can It Do For Me’.

Word and Excel may be All You Need to Start

Yes, it’s true that BI Publisher runs on XML, and that’s what allows it to hook up to so many different applications (including your Oracle project management favorites) to then generate reports of many different flavors. What’s XML, you may ask? At this point think back to Albert’s suits. If you want to have your project achieve the right results, you may not need to worry about what XML is. There’s a much more practical benefit if you’re looking to get a decision out of management and stakeholders. You can use well-known, easy-to-use applications like Microsoft Word and Excel to design the reports to go in front of your decision-making audience.

Ask Your Audience

Now that you feel empowered by the accessibility of BI Publisher via Word or Excel, the next (and the most important) question is – what do you put in the report? BI Publisher can provide you with a whole range of data sources to draw on. It can package up your reports to send them off to other applications, or out as email, PDF files and more. True, it can’t tell you what should go into those reports. But your audience can. Ask them nicely what they’d like. Then, armed with the right data and report shopping list, you can then use BI Publisher to get what you want.

Decision-making Basics

Not every decision-making audience is forthcoming about its wishes. External stakeholders may be unavailable, or internal management may be too busy to respond. If so, you’ll need a few handy rules about what to ask BI Publisher to provide.

Keeping in mind that you want to present the right data, rather than just lots of data, use the following ‘Triple A’ rule:

  • Accurate. What’s written on the box must match what’s in the box. Data must be what they are presented to be. They must also have enough focus to be of value.
  • Actionable. Data must support a clear action that optimizes results for the business. Added (in some cases, essential) bonuses are actions that are immediate and scalable.
  • Agile. Data have to be available on an as-needed basis and in a current up-to-date version. Business objectives and projects may change rapidly.

Putting It into BI Publisher Terms

The Triple A rule then translates directly into BI Publisher capabilities. You’ll know where your report data come from and what they represent. You’ll be able to easily design reports that link those data to recommendations for action. You’ll be able to generate up to date versions of those reports at any time to take account of any changes in between times. With the time you save, you may even find a moment to ask your colleagues in the IT department to explain XML to you – if that’s important to you!

We’d be happy to give you more tips related to data streamlining your decision-making with BIP. So ask away. Call +1 978.685.9715 or email Sales & Marketing.

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