Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Profile of a WebFOCUS BI Consultant

Good WebFOCUS BI consultants are hard to find. Great ones are in short supply.

What makes an exceptional WebFOCUS BI application developer? Here is my checklist of how you would identify such a person.

User Interface Skills
  • Skilled in WebFOCUS products such as BI Dashboard, Developer Studio, HTML Layout
  • Skilled in user interface design and usability topics 
  • Experience building WebFOCUS dashboards for other clients 
  • Skilled in dynamic HTML topics (JavaScript, CSS, Document Object Model, cookies, etc.)
  • Experience with WebFOCUS user security models 

Web Tier Skills
  • Experience with various web servers (e.g., Microsoft IIS and Apache)
  • Experience with various Java app servers (e.g., Tomcat and WebSphere)
  • Experience with various web security models 
  • Experience with WebFOCUS Client Console and configuration topics 

Reporting Server Skills
  • Experience with various operating systems and databases 
  • Experience with the SQL language, performance tuning, and related database topics 
  • Experience with WebFOCUS products such as Server Console, Metadata Management 
  • Skilled in WebFOCUS architecture (ask him or her to draw you a chalk-talk)
  • Experience with latest WebFOCUS releases 

BI Application Development Skills
  • Experience in full software application development lifecycle and various methodologies 
  • Skilled in application design and project definition topics 
  • Skilled in information design topics (tabular reports, graphs, visual representation, etc.)
  • Skilled in interactive application topics (web integration, drill-downs, hyperlinks, symbolic variables, etc.)
  • Experience with WebFOCUS Developer Studio for building dynamic applications 
  • Experience with Report Layout for building reports 
  • Skilled in WebFOCUS 4GL language and experience with latest features 
  • Skilled in Dialogue Manager language and use of symbolic variables 
  • Skilled in managing software projects and technical individuals 

  • Has access to key technical individuals (e.g., vendor resources, industry experts, etc.)
  • Has personalized Site Code access to vendor's Technical Support website 
  • Has corporate support resources (not a lone independent)
  • Has personal computer with full WebFOCUS environment installed
  • Has a library of past WebFOCUS engagements for use as quick templates 
  • Has software tools to speed application development efforts 
  • Follows formal methodologies to ensure successful engagements 

Life Experiences and Personality 
  • Has at least ten years of WebFOCUS application development skills 
  • Has lead BI application development initiatives at other clients 
  • Has interpersonal communication skills (for both business and technical audiences) 
  • May have been an Information Builders vendor employee 
  • Has a formal degree in information systems 
  • Has a positive work history in information systems 
  • Does not have current personal issues that impact his or her performance 
  • Is confident yet humble and has a heart for serving the client 

Business Acumen
  • Has formal business training 
  • Understands relevant business concepts (finance, marketing, etc.)
  • Has either a broad industry background or specializes in your company's industry 
  • Has experience with relevant business computer applications 

The individual who meets all of these criteria is of course exceptional. If you are lucky to have this type of person on your BI initiative, be sure to treat him or her with respect. If this list describes you and you are interested in an exciting WebFOCUS consulting role, please contact me. 

1 comment:

EverythingGood said...

Great BI profile, Doug, thanks for the blog.

About Me

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I am a project-based software consultant, specializing in automating transitions from legacy reporting applications into modern BI/Analytics to leverage Social, Cloud, Mobile, Big Data, Visualizations, and Predictive Analytics using Information Builders' WebFOCUS. Based on scores of successful engagements, I have assembled proven Best Practice methodologies, software tools, and templates.

I have been blessed to work with innovators from firms such as: Ford, FedEx, Procter & Gamble, Nationwide, The Wendy's Company, The Kroger Co., JPMorgan Chase, MasterCard, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Siemens, American Express, and others.

I was educated at Valparaiso University and the University of Cincinnati, where I graduated summa cum laude. In 1990, I joined Information Builders and for over a dozen years served in regional pre- and post-sales technical leadership roles. Also, for several years I led the US technical services teams within Cincom Systems' ERP software product group and the Midwest custom software services arm of Xerox.

Since 2007, I have provided enterprise BI services such as: strategic advice; architecture, design, and software application development of intelligence systems (interactive dashboards and mobile); data warehousing; and automated modernization of legacy reporting. My experience with BI products include WebFOCUS (vendor certified expert), R, SAP Business Objects (WebI, Crystal Reports), Tableau, and others.