Christmas Windows and BI Portals

Although I am originally from London, UK, it has been a long time since I checked out the Christmas window displays at the major retail stores. The world famous department stores like Harrods, Selfridges and Fortnum & Mason go all out as do the elite fashion stores on Bond Street and you could spend hours (as I did) just staring in wonder and amazement.

This year, I would give the top award to Selfridges with their amazing signs of the horoscope displays but I also loved the Christmas trampoline video at Burberry which kept me mesmerized for at least 10 minutes.

Of course the whole purpose of a store window display is to attract people into the store and to hopefully purchase items. I did actually go into Burberry but decided against buying a $900 scarf which seemed to be the cheapest item in the store!

As I stared at all these really cool Christmas window displays, it occurred to me that In the world of business intelligence, the portal for viewing and accessing your BI applications is very much like these store windows. If you want to get people to use the Bi applications, you need to make it attractive, compelling and interesting so they will become engaged.

When building BI applications, we know that is the reason to use interactive dashboards but what about the portal itself for accessing  and controlling access to these applications. Typically, this has been a custom web application development or a commodity portal like Microsoft’s SharePoint. These both have merit but are usually quite corporate and bland in their look and feel and lack the dynamic visualization of the BI applications themselves. It’s like have really cool stuff inside your store but just static signs in your store window.

So what about the idea of making the portal itself an animated  BI dashboard and really sprucing up your window display?

This idea is starting to gather momentum as more organizations realize that the key to successful BI is user adoption through application engagement and this starts with the portal.

Using an SAP BusinessObjects dashboard as your BI portal allows you to create engaging visualizations with integrated infographics, geo maps, videos, playback and “what if”  scenarios and get the user into your BI applications quickly and effectively.

Integrating add-on solutions like InfoBurst, you can also provide write back functionality so that you can save user preferences, collaborate with other users and capture constant user feedback through surveys and polls.

The dashboard can call or link to other dashboards , reports or actions (alerts, starting other activities etc.).

The possibilities are as vast and exciting as the London store Christmas window displays and I’m looking forward to seeing a lot more BI Portal Dashboards in the coming year.

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