Thoughts | Feb 22
In my previous post, I talked briefly how companies that can afford expensive BI solutions are still using outdated, on-premise software, built mostly for desktops and used by analysts or IT professionals.
What does it take to start adopting BI as a service and put it in the hands of the people who really need it?
When it comes to working with data, at least 4 phases must be taken into account: collecting, processing, analyzing and delivering data. From that perspective, there are countless vendors out there that do a great job bringing data together and processing it, while others do an even better job with the analysis part. But really few vendors are narrowing down on how to deliver these crucial business insights on mobile. With more data/analytics solutions than ever before, the odds should be in favor of the mobile subsidiary. Instead, nobody is taking the “last-mile” in data delivery as one of the key components.
If mobility is to trigger the shift, it’s not likely to drive the consumerization trend in the Enterprise on its own. Easy self-service is paramount to get maximum adoption of and benefit from a BI implementation. Here’s why self-service is the second, but also an essential part in this story:
Simplicity is driving adoption
The majority of the available BI solutions are still built as complex tools that require extensive technical skills and understanding of its mechanics. Basic deployments and on-boarding courses can take up to several months and in many cases require additional staff training. While they can provide all the computational power for the enterprise, they are really useful to only a handful of people — ironically enough, in a few months after seeing things moving too slow, management hires additional analysts to get the data from the software to where it’s actually needed.
It’s the people serving the software not the other way around.
On the other hand, self-service solutions are driven by simplicity. If you can’t start using the product right away, you won’t — and some vendors are well aware of that. Great user experience and simplicity is the single best recipe to drive massive adoption in the Enterprise.
Democratization of data
A truly data-driven culture starts with data democratization. Meaningful, real-time and on-demand data is needed across all levels to keep the pace in today’s competitive environment, where more and more end-users across organizations demand data access 24/7. Right now, this is done with a little help from your friends in IT. On average, it can take up to a few days for IT to process your request and get back with the required information (that by the time being delivered, is already outdated). Companies will need to remove bottlenecks of the traditional BI model to stay competitive. This means adopting self-service solutions that empower decision makers by giving them on-demand or real-time data access, with no IT required.
Personalized for you
Today’s world is moving fast and being able to see and act on important data instantly is crucial. Having easy-to-use tools to prepare additional reports and the ability to setup additional alerts or scorecards without technical skills will become as important as working with Microsoft Word was in the 90’s. More and more products on the market will have built-in intelligence that will enable the user not only to get the data required, but to present this data in ways never before possible.
With a self-service approach it’s now the user who has the power to customize metrics so that they are most useful. It is amazing to see how a CMO and CFO look at the same data and see a different picture. In fact, every member of the executive team should be looking at a personalized representation of company data, the metrics that they care about most and can also effectively act on.
Only by providing a self-service platform that enables them to build their own reports and intelligence features can we help them make the most out of their data. As a business user, I should be able to do all this by myself, since I most likely am the only one who knows exactly how I want it tailored.
“Why should we, in times when you can even customize what’s written on your soda, be at the mercy of generic BI solutions that serve all — but none in particular?”
Self-service and mobile BI are opening a whole new set of demands and opportunities. This will force vendors to rebuild their legacy software from ground up or give way to new innovative solutions that will empower the next generation of mobile workers.
When business users play with their data, understand it at-a-glance and see results in real-time, they get more confidence in their decisions, ultimately becoming more successful. Because in the end, the consumerization aftermath shouldn’t be measured by the number of enterprise implementations, but in the success rate of individuals.