Increase Your Business Intelligence User Adoption with User-Tailored BI

March 11, 2015

The Best Data Visualization for the Information Consumer

Did you know more than 70 percent of BI projects fail to deliver on their original objectives? That's because the important data isn't being delivered to the right people in a way that makes sense to them. 

If this sounds familiar, you're not alone. I want to help you and your organization break this pattern so that each business decision taken in the future is a data-driven decision.

TARGIT, through continued partnership with our customers, has identified the need to understand the different personas that will use BI in your organization, their goals, and which distribution channels are best suited for information consumption.

We have identified four different types of personas in each organization:

  1. Information Consumers
  2. Business Users
  3. Business Analysts
  4. Information Designers

You can read about them in greater detail with the eBook "Ensure the Highest User Adoption Rates for your BI Project" available for download. With this new knowledge, you're guaranteed to increase the business intelligence adoption rate at your company.

In this blog, we'll be looking at the Information Consumer to help you better understand who the that persona is in your company and how best to engage these people through the use of data visualization.

As I like to say, all people are Information Consumers, but some people are more Information Consumers than others.

First, let's start by identifying the people -- in and around your organization -- who make good candidates for the Information Consumer persona. To be honest, everyone that has a connection to your organization is an Information Consumer in one form or another. That is why it is such an important persona to get right and ensure that you are delivering information to them in the best way possible. However, we can reduce this broad array of people into small groups.

Management: This group could consist of executives, board members, and senior managers. These people drive the organization and have a strategic overview when making business decisions. That why this group benefits from an overall view of the organization when consuming information.

General Staff: This group could consist of managers, departmental, staff or generally anyone employed at any level of the organization. This group should to be inspired and motivated to perform at their best to reach organizational goals. Consuming both a selected organizational overall view together with a departmental view gives this group the optimal level of information.

Outsiders: This group could consist of shareholders, partners, suppliers, the general-public, or the media. This group consumes information in a tailored overview of the organization distributed in very different channels or platforms than the other two groups.

Information Consumers benefit from consuming data that is quick to decode and easy to understand without extensive knowledge of the detailed processes that generates the information in front of them. Finding the best distribution channels to support these requirements is necessary to optimize the insight gained within the information. 

There are three data-visualization-rich TARGIT distribution channels that work really well for an Information Consumer:

Dashboards are the perfect way to view organizational or departmental overviews. These present the most important information at a glance and on a single screen. Dashboards also enable quick navigation to management analysis for problem areas within the organization. I've made a number of interactive dashboards for the Information Consumer on the TARGIT Anywhere client that you can play with here.

Embedded Dashboards are even better at getting the right information to the Information Consumer where they work most. Embedding analyses on the product card in your ERP system or on the customer card in your CRM system is an easy way to make sure you don't interrupt people's work, making it even more likely BI will become a part of their daily routine and increasing overall business intelligence adoption.

Storyboards provide an organization the means to communicate specific tailored organizational messages to a larger audience at one time. By using techniques such as annotation, emotion, and narration, each storyboard will deliver a powerful message that will be remembered and will evoke action. Check out this interactive Storyboard analysis on TARGIT Anywhere. All you need to do is click the next/previous circle to go forward/backward in the story. 

Mobility gives Information Consumers access to updated organizational or departmental overviews whenever and wherever needed. In TARGIT Decision Suite, there is no need to create dashboards specific for mobility as any TARGIT dashboard or management analysis can be used.


With all three of these channels, data visualization plays a large role and each channel shares some of the same data visualization principles with the others. 

Structural Design

By giving dashboards and Storyboards similar and consistent structural design, it becomes easier for Information Consumers to follow the flow of information in any one channel. Structural design of dashboards and Storyboards should be consistent throughout the organization. Only allowing for small changes to reflect the differences in departmental dashboards and Storyboards.

Passengers Organization Dashboard:


Departures Organization Dashboard:


Destinations Departmental Dashboard:


Location, Location, Location

Positioning Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) or Key Result Indicators (KRIs) in strategic areas of the screen allows the Information Consumer to focus on important information first before turning their attention to the other parts of the dashboard. There are many studies about which areas of screen real estate are more important than others. I simplify this by splitting the screen into four sections and giving each section an importance value.

Dashboard split into prioritized sections:



All the while, these channels should encourage simple and intuitive navigation, giving the Information Consumer access to related overviews, and giving a holistic view without compromising the structure of any single overview. 

Dashboard with two types (Internal and External) of navigation:



With limited screen real estate available, it's important to make the most of what you have. That's why when building overview dashboards or Storyboards, the use of graphical objects that are instantly recognizable to the Information Consumer can be invaluable for quicker and easier decoding. Below are two different representations of the same data, the one on the top (#1) is an organization diagram which gives the consumer instantly recognizable feedback, which with the bar chart on the bottom (#2) requires some more time and processing.





Watch how intuitive it is to click through a Storyboard designed specifically with the Information Consumer in mind in this short video taken from the TARGIT Anywhere Storyboard I mentioned above:

I hope that your have been inspired by this blog post to start creating powerful and insightful dashboards and Storyboards for the Information Consumer in your organization. If you need more information or inspiration on data visualization or increasing the business intelligence adoption rate at your company, feel free to contact me and I will be very happy to help. And stay tuned for more guides on how to create ideal data visualizations for the other BI User Personas in your company.

In addition to the eBook guide to increasing business intelligence adoption, you can also watch the on-demand webinar to learn more about the User Personas in your company.