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Real BI Case Studies Worth a Thousand Demos

I love improv comedy. It makes me laugh a lot more than rehearsed comedy and I find myself much more engaged because neither the comedian nor the audience knows what’s coming next. It’s real and it’s raw.

Having sat through more Business Intelligence presentations than is probably healthy, it is easy for me to differentiate between the rehearsed ones and those that are improvised and guess which I like the best?

Unfortunately the use of Teleprompters and other broadcasting techniques have spoiled the spontaneity and authenticity of many BI presentations. Keynotes at major conferences are renowned for this and when customers who present are told what to say and what not to say by the sponsoring vendor, it simply does not come across as genuine.

One conference I really enjoy every year where there is always an abundance of improv BI speakers is the SAP BusinessObjects User Conference (SBOUC) sponsored by ASUG.

SAP BusinessObjects partners who participate and sponsor SBOUC, like InfoSol, are also encouraged to go seek out interesting BI case studies and ask those organizations to present.

One such case study not to be missed at this year’s event is  “How Bosch Replaced Static Magnet Boards with a Visual BI Dashboard” by Lori Wagner of Bosch Automotive Services. Just the title itself sounds intriguing.

Bosch Automotive Services is a global supplier of specialized solutions for vehicle service and one of these solutions is making specialized tools for servicing vehicles. The life cycle of designing and developing these tools was previously tracked across a manual board using magnets that were written on and had different colored dots stuck on them to indicate their status and activity. The writing, adding and movement of these sticky dots along the magnetic board timeline were all performed manually.

Needless to say, this was not always accurate and having one board at each facility did not allow everyone to see the current status when they needed it.

So, the BI team at Bosch came up with the creative idea of creating a BI dashboard to replicate the magnetic boards while pulling the data automatically from their data sources, providing up-to-date visibility for everyone. They placed large screen monitors in the facility so everyone could view the current and changing status. In addition, they created interactive analysis capabilities in the dashboard to allow supervisors and managers to pivot the data by location, engineering stage, status, location, account, and resources to gain deeper understanding of both the status and the workflow.

One of the coolest features of this BI dashboard was the visual replication of the magnet since this was something that everyone was already familiar with and by keeping the look and feel, user adoption was much easier.


The solution was developed using existing tools at Bosch, namely Xcelsius Dashboards with BusinessObjects XI 3.1 and the InfoBurst XML Data Caching (XDC) for handling the automatic refreshing and dashboard performance.

The result was a huge success for all of the business users involved at Bosch.  It enabled the quick identification of bottlenecks in the process flow, focusing improvement activities on the critical areas , determining daily priorities and allowing Bosch  to benchmark process flow performance through real time use of the visual dashboard.

Now when Lori presents this at SBOUC, she will tell it just how it happened – the “warts and all” version with no candy coating, which is the way most of us want to hear it.

If you are attending SBOUC, be sure not to miss this along with other real customer case studies!  To see everything that InfoSol will be involved with at this years conference, you will want to check out this post.

About Paul

Paul Grill, Co-Founder and CEO of Infosol Inc., is an information technology guru with more than 40 years’ experience in the IT industry. Recognized as an industry expert, Paul’s vision is to collaborate and develop long-term global relationships, resulting in the successful implementation of business intelligence solutions. Paul believes a company’s success with Business Intelligence is a combination of data and people’s insights and actions. He believes in the coexistence of technologies. With a strong portfolio of clients ranging from fortune 50 companies, start-ups, and middle market, Paul takes pride in his ability to deliver positive transformations impacting company’s productivity and profitability through the application of business intelligence. He is often heard saying that “data holds amazing nuggets that can be used to create limitless BI solutions that make a difference in people’s lives”. Throughout Paul’s career, he has been a speaker, lecturer, and writer sharing his passion for Information Technology and Business Intelligence. On a personal note, Paul is an avid runner, Tai Chi practitioner, and youth soccer coach. Paul’s curiosity for knowledge expands beyond technology with a passion for Ancient Egyptology and Gorillas.

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