I hear a lot of talk about ease of use but it is usually in a very generic sense, such as “ease of use will facilitate broader user adoption of BI”. So I thought I would be more specific about what I mean when I say ease of use, as well as what I think the technology enablers are. From a business user perspective I see the following aspects of ease of use:
1) Business users don’t have to leave the applications they normally use to get data for decision making. This is enabled by software development kits and service oriented architectures.
2) Business users can create their own ad-hoc queries and analysis. This is enabled by a semantic layer.
3) Business users can quickly find specific information they are looking for amongst large volumes of data. This is enabled by search.
4) Business users have qualitative context associated with the quantitative data. This is enabled by text analytics.
5) Business users can quickly assimilate and understand the business impact of data. This is enabled by data visualization and scenario modeling.
6) Business users can see for themselves where data came from and what calculations were applied. This is enabled by metadata management.