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BI’s biggest threat: not the right context

W hen implementing an BI system where part of the expected user group is located in the higher echelons of the organsiation, there is always some fear that these casual users will misinterpret the information. This is usually based on past experience. The level of fear is determined by the hassle the misinterpretation has been for the organization in terms of escallation. The misinterpretation of the data is typically caused because the regarded casual user didn’t know the context of the report, and was too quick in drawing conclusions.

These thoughts came into my head when I encountered the graph below, from the website http://www.economist.com/blogs/graphicdetail/2011/12/daily-chart-1

According to this graph it seems that the Dutch are not a very generous bunch of people. In the commentary text with this graph this conclusion is worded in a friendly way.  However, these numbers concern Christmas gifts, and don’t take into account the money spend on gifts at ‘Sinterklaas’, a typical Dutch festivity that also takes place in December.

In conclusion: ‘Am I looking at the data in the right context’ is always the
question to ask before drawing any conclusion.