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The Decision Factor offers insightful comments and observations on analytics—from views on new technology approaches and market dynamics to the latest industry trends driving demand for faster, smarter information analysis. This blog contains personal views, thoughts, and opinions from SAP employees, mentors, and friends working in the area of analytics. It’s not endorsed by SAP nor does it constitute an official communication of SAP.


Is Your Business Intelligence Implementation Like a Game In Real Life?

Now that you’ve implemented your business intelligence (BI) solution, it’s time to “play the BI game”. Not long ago, SmartData Collective presented an Infographic and article surrounding a LogiXML survey of folks likening their BI systems to video games. The overwhelming favorite seemed to be Pac Man (stable, but boring). Let’s bring another piece of gaming culture and apply it to BI. Abbreviations and acronyms for internet slang are used by gamers, texters, and others to shrink larger phrases down. If we applied these gaming shortcuts to BI, which ones might we use?


Nerf: to tone down or decrease the power of something

  • Gaming usage: A Modern Warfare player may complain that a particular weapon was nerfed. “I can’t believe they nerfed that shotgun!”
  • BI usage:
    • Sometimes nerfing your BI application is unavoidable. You implement the latest service pack and a particular feature is disabled accidentally by the vendor. This is bound to happen to you at some time. Either you rollback the service pack or raise a ticket with the vendor for a hotfix.
    • Nerfs are avoidable too. For example, your administrators might rollback a send-to-user feature, thinking that it’s a security risk. Before doing that, poll your users and make sure that’s the case. Management would prefer that you create security groups, despite the work involved, than deal with angry users raising a ruckus because they can’t do their jobs.


XP: the number of experience points earned by playing the game. More XP unlocks better weapons or features.

  • Gaming usage: The more a gamer plays Halo, the more XP they earn to unlock player armor or powerful weapons.
  • BI usage: As your users gain XP, they can become some of your most powerful ‘weapons’. Power users can assist with user acceptance testing of new features, create and run user groups, and help with upgrade justifications. They can also be a great asset by helping to train your “noobs” (a gaming term for new users)!


AFK: acronym, away from keyboard

  • Gaming usage: If a player steps away from a game for a quick break, they’ll type AFK into the chat window to let their teammates know so they don’t think they’ve abandoned the game.
  • BI usage: If you put your BI solution on autopilot, you’ve managed to AFK your users. They’ll be stuck in a holding pattern with their current feature set with no hope of upgrades. Now, upgrading to every single new version isn’t a must. By keeping an open dialog between the business and the information technology department, you can maintain forward momentum instead of unplanned obsolescence.


FTW: acronym, for the win

If you want to get an FTW, keep up with current topics and features with your business intelligence implementation. You’ll lag out of the game if you don’t. And then it’ll be time for someone to say that you’ve GTG (Got to Go).

Work together with your users to have a GG (good game) and avoid that IRL (in real life).