oracle aide

July 25, 2013

Are you overpaying your BI engineers?

Filed under: Uncategorized — oracleaide @ 6:28 am

We had a team exercise to design a simplest-possible-but-still-useful BI dashboard / report / KPI.

Our minimalist requirements were very simple – the report should look great, be informative and useful on:

n  iPhone at 2AM – even for a sleepy  person;

n  Twitter;

n  Paper WSJ in black and white.

These requirements were against all the industry “best” practices (such as: impress your boss with flashy reports, increase the Wow! factor etc).

We (humbly: me – myself) discovered a minimalist design using the old German principle “Less is More”.

A stock ticker.

A whatever ticker.

Let’s say we are building a DAILY DEMAND dashboard for an Animal Farm Forecasting Engine.

Here is a ticker for a daily forecast – which is informative and almost self-explanatory:

MAPE/CHICKEN/EGG1,000          @1.02%0.02pp

This means:

n  MAPE  – Mean average percentage error of the forecast. The key metric for this dashboard;

n  Chicken/Egg – we are measuring prediction for chicken eggs, not alligator ones;

n  1,000 – volume, units (eggs in this case);

n  @1.02% — value of the MAPE, with 1K volume the error is about 10 egg;

n  ▲   0.02pp  — forecast change since yesterday, in percentage points.

Another example:

MAPE/GOAT/MILK2KL@1.02% ▲   5W ▼   2Y

The forecast for Goat Milk has a 1.02% error with volume of 2000 liters.

The error went up by 5 percentage points since last week and down by 2 percentage points since last year.

 A ticker represents a single point on a curve with:

n  Context (which helps to answer the usual WTF? questions);

n  Volume (which helps to assess the metric weight and possible repercussions – a 50% error with a volume of 2 units is not that bad);

n  Velocity of change;

n  Difference from the previous measurement.

What else do you need for a quick status report?

The ticker tape was invented more than 150 years ago.  Since then Wall Street gave us many well designed reports based on stock tickers. For example – the famous Smart Money heat map

http://www.marketwatch.com/tools/stockresearch/marketmap

Why not use them?

All you need is to express your metrics as tickers.

Everything has been already invented!

So if you ask your BI engineers to design a minimalist report, and they come back with tables and diagrams – they are probably overpaid.

 

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