Boosting Adoption Blog Series: #1 Know Your Users
Previously, I introduced the importance of high adoption in business intelligence (BI) and analytics environments (read here), and shared some of the reasons why organizations may experience low participation. In my next five posts, I’ll focus on specific strategies for arming and engaging users, and encouraging them to embrace the ever-expanding world of data-driven business.
The first, and perhaps the most effective way to boost BI and analytics pervasiveness is to truly understand your users – who they are, what information requirements they have, how they prefer to receive their information, and their technical skill levels. You’re likely to find different communities throughout your organization, each with very unique needs. Creating an environment that addresses all these needs, rather than taking a one-size-fits-all approach, is the first step towards increased participation.
Keep in mind that the vast majority of your potential user base will be business users – not IT folks. They might be power users and analysts, who possess quite a bit of technical savvy and are looking for sophisticated ways to conduct deep data analysis. Or, they can be casual users – like line-of-business workers, or even customers and partners – who lack the skills needed to access data directly and build their own reports from scratch, and therefore need simpler, more straightforward ways to interact with enterprise information.
Failure to understand and address the distinct needs of each group will no doubt alienate some of your stakeholders. For example, your power users need data preparation, data discovery, and visualization tools, with robust content-sharing capabilities – tools that will likely be rejected by your casual users because they are too complex or require too much training. On the other hand, the self-service applications and pre-built interactive BI apps that will best serve your casual users will fall short of meeting the requirements of your power users, and they’ll look for other means of getting what they need.
Don’t forget your on-the-go stakeholders. Combining data discovery, visualization, self-service, and BI apps with mobile capabilities and portable analytical documents will extend your environment to even more users. Anyone can participate in BI and analytics – no matter where they are, even if they have no Internet connection.
Next week, I’ll highlight yet another one of the keys to increase BI and analytics adoption: Choosing a unified platform.
Thanks for your time today!