When people ask me what I do, I tell them I am a computer programmer. That is a pretty broad profession just like a doctor is as broad as all the specialties there are. Hence, each one of us has a specialty. Mine is report development which also goes by the moniker, business intelligence.
According to Wikipedia,
“Business intelligence (BI) refers to computer-based techniques used in identifying, extracting,[clarification needed] and analyzing business data, such as sales revenue by products and/or departments, or by associated costs and incomes.BI technologies provide historical, current and predictive views of business operations. Common functions of business intelligence technologies are reporting, online analytical processing, analytics, data mining, business performance management, benchmarking, text mining and predictive analytics.
Business intelligence aims to support better business decision-making. Thus a BI system can be called a decision support system (DSS). Though the term business intelligence is sometimes used as a synonym for competitive intelligence, because they both support decision making, BI uses technologies, processes, and applications to analyze mostly internal, structured data and business processes while competitive intelligence gathers, analyzes and disseminates information with a topical focus on company competitors. Business intelligence understood broadly can include the subset of competitive intelligence.”
I like to think of myself as someone who not only knows how to develop reports but who also knows how to present the data in a professional and efficient manner that decisions can be made almost immediately. I think of myself as “a programmer who thinks like a user and a user who thinks like a programmer.” I try to understand who is the audience of the data as well as what are they trying to do with it.
For example, if it’s a report of key performance indicators will the use of traffic lights in addition to the data? Presentation isn’t about numbers. It’s also giving instant visibility to a favorable or unfavorable condition. I want the report to tell the user something is happening that requires their attention. Instead of “what”, I want them to ask “why”.
I believe in taking as much ownership for the results as the person who is requesting the report. I want to be that person’s partner, to help them do a better job or make a better decision. That is why I sit down with them and together, we define requirements. I have a form that I developed that asks all the right questions. Together, we blueprint out what the report should look like.
The above is just a small part of the role I play whether its a computer programmer or report developer. If you are interested in knowing more about my skills and how your organization or client can benefit, please check out my resume.