Home / Business Intelligence / Europe Trip 2010: Day 6 Snowboarding Lessons

Europe Trip 2010: Day 6 Snowboarding Lessons

After my previous disastrous attempts to ski when I visited my son last year, he suggested I try snowboarding. When I told him I had heard it was more difficult than skiing, he just shrugged and said that I couldn’t do any worse. I figured he had a point and agreed to give it a shot.

After spending 20 minutes putting on all the protective equipment and some bright purple pants that my son insisted were an essential part of any serious snowboarder’s attire, we headed for the slopes where he showed me how to strap my boots to the snowboard.  The next part was significantly more challenging, namely how to stand up when attached to your board. After scores of failed attempts that amused the groups of youngsters watching to no end, my son finally showed me that if I rolled on my belly and then pushed myself up while facing up the mountain, I could actually stand up without immediately falling over again! Of course, this made me look like a beached whale, but it did work!

My first run down the slope was not very graceful and ended with a spectacular head first crash into the snow.  On my second run I collided with my son who bravely tried to slow me down and paid the price as I simultaneously wiped us both out.

The third and forth runs were not actually bad as I completed a couple of 50 yard runs at some speed. Amazingly, I survived my first ever 90 minutes of snowboarding with no broken bones or serious bruises but I was so exhausted from all the falls and attempts to stand up, that I could barely move a muscle.

As we sat and ate lunch, my son explained that I did better on a snowboard than I did on skis because my feet were locked in a position on the board and I could not move them like I can with skis.

Sometimes when there are less options or steps involved, we tend to master them quicker.  The same is true in Business Intelligence. If you give a user a Universe or View with access to hundreds of objects in different databases and a tool like Web Intelligence for self-service query and analysis, they will usually struggle to create any type of useful report, get themselves tied up in knots and become frustrated to the point of blaming the tool and not wanting to use it again.

If, on the other hand, you create a small specialized universe or view for a user with just a few relevant objects and a pre-made report that with which they can start, they have less options and directions to choose and they can master the tool a lot easier. They can still add, delete, modify, sort, filter and save in different formats but they are working from an already created report and do not have an overwhelming number of choices to select.

While many Business Intelligence tools have become more powerful, feature-rich and versatile, most users just want information delivered in a simple, easy-to-understand way and do not want to spend time learning products and becoming experts in tools that they may not use that often.

InfoSol has developed many self-service business intelligence solutions using Web Intelligence, Xcelsius Dashboards and InfoBurst and applying best practices to allow users to get immediate benefit from them without weeks of training and usage.

Now, not everyone wants to be a casual user and those individuals should take more advanced training.  But, for the novice snowboarders like me, just standing, staying up and gliding for 50 yards is great!

About Paul

Paul Grill started his career in Information Technology in the U.K. in 1978, as an Executive Data Processing Trainee for Honeywell. More than thirty years later, he still has a voracious appetite for learning as Information Technology continues to advance at an ever accelerating pace. He was first introduced to the world of Business Intelligence in 1991, in France, when he saw a demonstration of an early version of BusinessObjects on Windows 2.1. He returned to the U.S. to rave about this phenomenal product, but it was many years before BusinessObjects made it into the mainstream. Paul founded InfoSol in 1997, and made Business Intelligence one of the key solutions offered by the company. Today, InfoSol is a leading SAP BusinessObjects solutions partner, known for its expert consulting, education and innovative add-on solutions. Paul is well known within the SAP BusinessObjects community for his extensive knowledge of Business Intelligence, and he has lectured and written many articles on the subject. Paul enjoys writing, running and coaching kids soccer, and is passionate about Ancient Egyptology.

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