User Experience (UX) service

Business Intelligence / Management Information user research

We engaged with BI/MI users from across the University to gather insight into the motivations behind BI/MI use and to clarify how staff use it to support their duties at work.

The client

The Service Management team in IS are responsible for supporting BI Suite, the main BI tool used across the University.

The challenge

Staff at the University of Edinburgh rely on a vast range of facts and figures in order to do their jobs. In order to access this data, staff use BI tools to query the relevant databases and extract meaningful information from them.

Ongoing work as part of the Digital Transformation Initiative is looking at how BI Suite and other tools should be supported.

To inform this work, the UX Service was commissioned to speak to BI/MI users and find out more about how they use data and information in their work.

The scale of the University means that the technical support team have limited access to their users, and one aim of the project is to bridge that gap.

What we did

We started by working with Service Management to gather pre-existing knowledge and to clarify the focus of the upcoming research.

We then identified a pool of BI/MI users, recruiting key people from this pool to take part in interviews and workshops.

After analysing and synthesising our findings, we shared key trends identified in the research in the form of personas, a user journey map and two presentations.

Outcomes and benefits


The personas allow Service Management to take their varied user groups into account as they develop new BI/MI solutions for the University.

They also present the research findings about user needs, goals and frustrations in a form that can be easily incorporated into future projects.

Journey map

The user journey map clarifies the typical process a member of staff goes through as they try to gather BI/MI in the course of their work.

It highlights pain points and what people are experiencing as they go through the process of collecting BI/MI.

This helps the Service Management team prioritise what to work on, and identify opportunities for development of their service.

UX techniques used

Experience mapping

Interviews and contextual inquiry



Client quotes

The research review session really got my team focused on our users. Better understanding their needs and frustrations will help us design better services and support their adoption across the University.

 Susan CookeEnterprise Data Services Team Manager

The research presented in the session gave us a clearer idea of what users want from our service, and how they’re currently using the tools we support. It has confirmed a lot of what we already knew or at least suspected. Staying user focused is going to help us develop better solutions to the problems colleagues encounter when working with data.

Alex CarterHead of Service Management

Further reading

Blog post on the BI/MI project