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Interesting note on eBay putting there data in a readily accessible cube to reduce/eliminate standardized reporting. We've played with this concept and are in the process of developing a framework for our sales data (non-web stuff at this point). Beyond the technological challenges this presents, my concern is the usability of having access to so much granular data. There are two main parts to that concern (at a quick thought at least):
1. Users understanding: Most of our executives and managers understand the various data points at a high level, but when you get into specifics, and how they inter-relate, that knowledge level starts to quickly break down. It's common for them to ask me to combine or cross reference data points in ways which really make no sense or lead to misleading/misunderstood results. The report is often not telling them what they think it is.
2. Fishing expeditions: We all like good news and reports which substantiate what we think. And most of our folks have strong enough integrity to be honest with data, even when the news is not what they want. But there is a certain percentage of people who are all to willing to keep slicing and dicing data until they get a 'good' number. I've had people ask for a report to be tweaked time and time again in what quickly becomes apparent is a fishing expedition for better numbers.

Ideally there is a balance between standardized reports and the ability to drill down. Different levels for those of various abilities.


Great comment - I pretty much agree. I do see advantages - particularly since so much standardized reporting is ignored after the first few iterations. Much, obviously, depends on the willingness and ability of your management team to use data interactively, but I think there are significant advantages and disadvantages each way.

On the whole, this is probably something you couldn't convince a management team to use if they didn't already want it. And if they do want it, they'll probably let you know in no uncertain terms!

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