Crossing Human Factors Research and Business Intelligence

Crossing Human Factors Research and Business Intelligence

Cláudio Miguel Sapateiro, Rui Miguel Bernardo
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 15
DOI: 10.4018/IJEIS.2020070106
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Starting from business intelligence (BI) reference models, this work proposes to extend the multi-dimensional data modelling approach to integrate human factors (HF)-related dimensions. The overall goal is to promote a fine grain understanding of the derived key performance indicators (KPIs) through an enhanced characterization of the operational level of work context. HF research has traditionally approached critical domains and complex socio-technical systems with a chief consideration of human situated action. Grounded on a review of the body of knowledge of the HF field, this work proposes the business intelligence for human factors (BI4HF) framework. It intends to provide guidance on pertinent data identification, collection methods, modelling, and integration within a BI project endeavour. BI4HF foundations are introduced, and a use case on a manufacturing industry organization is presented. The outcome of the enacted BI project referred in the use case allowed new analytical capabilities regarding newly derived and existing KPIs related to operational performance, providing insight into the value of the BI4HF framework.
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1. Introduction

Business intelligence has evolved from the earlier conception of decision support systems and executive information systems on the 80s and 90s originally put forward by Howard Dresner while still in the Gartner Group to the early days of the current agile, decentralized and data analytics driven orientation brought to focus by Thomas Davenport. Technological evolution and (consequent) data collection and processing capabilities have nowadays allowed to sustaining further traditional BI goals as well as moving toward the exploitation of new ones. In fact, besides the typical focus on historical data reconnaissance and future forecasting, we currently assist to some BI endeavours’ emphasis being given to inform present action, which is based on immediate analysis of high pace generated information. One may indeed position business intelligence endeavours’ outcomes as actionable at different organizational levels. However, formulating key performance indicators to inform managerial or strategic decisions will rely on different assumptions and requirements toward data, sources, scope, time horizon and pertinent analytical methods, than when targeting to inform immediate operational action (Kasemsap, 2016). Such holistic perspective on business intelligence brings two intertwined challenges to the existing frameworks: 1) what constitutes a fine level characterization of operational related information, which is actionable on 2) informing opportunities for immediate or short termed interventions.

In most industries, as those targeted by this work, operational level characterization encompasses the acknowledgement of the role of human operator. This work roots on the existing body of knowledge on the Human Factors (HF) field to contribute to furnish business intelligence projects’ frameworks. The proposed framework provides fine guidance on the consideration of dimensions surrounding operational context in the definition and analysis of coherent and articulated key performance indicators within the overall BI projects’ scope. Additionally, such aim is accomplished by complementarily extending the existing frameworks concepts (e.g. (Kimball & Ross, 2002)) particularly at the information modelling stage to account for human factors-related data as a significant dimension of analysis. Over the past 40 years, the HF research arena has combined numerous disciplines to study and apply physiological and psychological principles on engineering and design of products, tools, processes and systems toward improved adoption and user experience, reduced operative errors and increased safety and productivity (e.g. (Wickens, Lee, Liu, & Gordon-Becker, 2003)).

Furthermore, this work discusses a use case to depict the pertinence of the herein proposed framework application on BI project endeavours. The use case shows that it was possible to trace derived KPIs related to minor nonconformities on a production line to the operational level data on (work) process, operator and workplace. Both the solid theoretical grounding of the proposed framework and the discussion of the outcomes achieved through its usage on the reported use case unveil the contribution of this work as being one step forward on promoting the accountability of human factors on BI projects endeavours.

This paper is organized as follows: Section 2, Background, addresses business intelligence reference frameworks and introduces human factors’ topics considered in the scope of this work; Section 3 describes the methodological rational underlying the reported work. Section 4 delivers the proposed Business Intelligence for Human Factors - BI4HF framework. A use case of BI4HF is presented in Section 5 and Section 6 presents conclusions and points both limitations and future related research directions.

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