Saturday, 7 June 2014

OBIEE End User Training Concept

The German version of this article was published in DOAG Business News edition June 2014.
Our bundle on Oracle BI education implements the following end user training concept.

Operationalize Self-Service BI on Oracle BI

Business intelligence solutions unfold their leading benefit when many users have access on existing information and can gather new insights on their own. BI project leaders often focus technical criteria and the implementation of requirements to get a broad analyzable data foundation. But, to reach a high self-service level, that’s not the key aspect, it’s rather only the fundament. Concerning daily use the end user know-how determines the level of use of BI tools, which are generally expert tools like Oracle BI Foundation Suite. This article shows a proven training approach which allows an ideal introduction of Oracle BI to end users in combination with the development of self-service BI capabilities.

When introducing new software a relevant factor is the end user acceptance. In case of BI software it makes things worse that analyze needs in business departments are changing regularly. Changes have to be available very fast. Limited IT resources and ambiguously defined requirements often constrain prompt roll-out. But the reason is not missing know-how in business departments. The generation of new insights goes along with searching for facts in company data. In such a process formerly important analyses and even key figures are dropped again.
Oracle BI suite allows end users to search existing data independently. To get to know the functionality of Oracle BI for their daily work end user training needs to be a fixed element when rolling out Oracle BI. On the basis of the following baseline study the closing chapter shows a three respectively four level training concept for introducing Oracle BI to end users.
Self-service level in a company will grow when end users optimize their Oracle BI know-how exceeding clearly only distributed usage of existing content. Furthermore teamwork between business divisions and IT will increase, because end users will be able to phrase requirements more precise on the already located insights. As result you will get a higher agility for all stakeholders, load removal of IT capacity and lower costs.

Baseline Study
It’s common for most Oracle BI projects to be rolled out that available budgets for employee training are tight. If training isn’t disclaimed completely, then a short GUI briefing is done for IT employees and business key users who should forward their know-how to colleagues afterwards.
But both groups have different interests. IT employees await answers on administrative questions. End users ask business questions. Due to timelines these trainings only cover foundations, but no strategies how to solve analysis requirements using the GUI. Exercises aren’t performed. Upcoming questions aren’t handled. Intended know-how forwarding to other employees isn’t done neither, because employees trained aren’t save in handling the tool and they cannot access best practice examples.

When investigating reports and analyses of users having no or insufficient training you can see that the power of Oracle BI is hardly incorporated and analyses partially compute incorrect results caused by errors coming from Oracle BI front end usage. As result no self-service BI mindset is growing and BI systems unfold only low benefit despite the potential available.

Best practice for introducing Oracle BI to end users
Therefore an introduction of Oracle BI ideally considers the topics named above: tight timelines and budgets as well as diverse end user groups having different preconditions.
The Oracle BI user interface offers a large palette of functions that support solving even very complex requirements with IT support. For example calculation of new key figures, hierarchy based aggregates, advanced filter techniques and combination of data coming from different functional sources. Normally end users are not able to learn these functionalities autodidactic already due to reason of time.

With respect to all learning groups a training concept for Oracle BI has three or four levels. Composition of such a group depends on previous knowledge and the topics to learn. Learning groups are defined individually for each company. The main objective is achieving the highest possible level of self-service BI capabilities.

The first step builds the foundation. Users learn to handle Oracle BI user interface on all relevant elements. Two days training are sufficient on this stage. The environment for exercises is optimized for training needs. It’s not the customers’ production environment. In the end the attendees know the relevant Oracle BI functions and how to access them.
The participants start using their own Oracle BI application in the second step. Enhancing existing skills and questions gathering is the purpose. Depending on learning group stage is accompanied by a trainer.
About four to eight weeks after the first step an additional one-day seminar should take place. Focus is responding to questions and further training on the solution of concrete and typical reporting requirements with Oracle BI. Attendees learn how to use Oracle BI correct and which possibilities usage of functions opens. Placing of concrete solution know-how is the learning objective for this seminar day. Users learn techniques to build analyses and reports much more versed than before. This phase builds the basis for enhancing BI self-service level. As optional fourth component further work could be accompanied by a trainer for each participant individually.

Independent from groups defined it’s crucial to have extensive exercise lessons. Only by doing it on your own your skills will grow and you learn how to use them in your daily work.

Any questions? Just ask now. And have a look to our Oracle BI training package based on the training concept described.

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