Always go MAD!

by Arwold Koelewijn on May 21, 2012

When working with reports using a BI tool, the discussions are often not about the value of the measure. But rather about the validity of the data or the definition used. One of the best ways to avoid this discussion is to use the ‘go-MAD’ framework.


When reports are built with the go-MAD framework in mind, it is possible to zoom in on the detail, starting from the highest aggregation level. The ‘Go-MAD’ framework is a way, according to Wayne Eckerson from the TDWI, to create a ‘Self Service’ BI environment. Setting up the framework requires IT skills, but once this is done, users can go mad. It is a very powerful concept, especially in an SAP eco environment, where data structures are not very self-evident.

The go mad framework in short is about the following:

M stands for monitor, an easy to read report with table(s) and graph(s). Only filtering can be applied to this report. The main insight can be obtained from this report.

A stands for analyses, a flexible where data can be analyzed. Filtering and drilling on the most relevant characteristics is available. Typically the Monitor graphs trigger a question, that instantly can be answered with the Analysis report.

D stands for detail, this is where the lowest detail information can be found. Typically the Analysis report ends with the questions ‘who/what precisely are we talking about?’. The detail reports contains data per customer/vendor/transaction/… With the data in this report, it is possible to go to the transactional source system and find the transaction that is the base for this data.

The BI architecture technology should allow to make the connection between the 3 types of reports as easy as possible.

In an SAP BEx environment, this can be achieved using the report to report interface. With this interface it is even possible to drill through to the SAP transaction in the SAP ECC source system.

With the set-up of the go-mad principle, it is very efficient to build reports that answers questions for a lot of users, without having to train them intensively. Also it enables every user to check and validate the data. or, in the case of managers with no detail authorization, at least make them realize that this is possible and that the BI reports reflect the transactions in the source.

Based on my experience this advice: always use the go-mad principle.

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