We want to be data-driven, so why don’t users use our BI solution?
Read our suggestions of why many good BI solutions are not used – and avoid that the investment in your own BI solution is not wasted in advance.
11. June 2018
The diagnoses can be many when you experience that the report or analysis delivery that the BI team has delivered to the users is not used at all to the extent you expected - especially when "it was business critical" that this particular solution was prioritized and delivered.
There may be historical and cultural conditions that lie behind a lack of use of a specific BI delivery. It can be about who drives the requirements specification, and what kind of collaboration you have with the management in the business area for which you have made the delivery.
There may also be specific shortcomings in the solution in relation to what the business really needed - you can read about examples in this blog post.
Basically, however, there are three main problems that we often encounter in companies where the need for data is great, but the BI solutions that are made available are still not really used:
Education & support
The biggest reason why a BI solution is never really going to matter as much as it could to the company is due to managerial sponsorship. The best BI solutions are based on the business strategy and support this with relevant measurement points so that both employees and management can focus on what is relevant to achieve the strategy. The ownership of the strategy lies with the management and so should the ownership of a BI solution.
For both top management and area managers, this means that the strategic goals must be broken down and translated into key figures, which the BI solution can then be used to show. The specific questions on which the BI solution is based will then be:
How will I manage my business area so that I reach the strategy?
How do I define and communicate the key figures I want to manage?
What do I want my employees to do with them?
Education and support
If the solution contains the relevant target points and is anchored in the management, then the lack of usage of a solution may also be due to the users lacking introduction to the purpose of the solution and sufficient training to be able to use it. At the same time, a BI solution may represent something new for the employees in the same way that a business strategy can be an expression of a new turn of the company, so an introductory course may not be enough - and then the support setup comes into the picture. Users should have the opportunity to ask questions and get help with the details, even if it is not actual IT errors they have problems with. To ensure that users can use the BI solution, you can ask yourself:
How do I ensure that my employees have the necessary functional and business competencies to navigate the solution?
How do I ensure that employees do not just fall into their usual patterns?
How do I ensure that employees get the help they need?
Everyone who works with BI talks about BI not being a project, but a journey - and in many ways it is organizational maturity that is meant when the expectation is that the area will constantly develop. All organizations have a data maturity level; if it is a large organization it can be different from department to department, which should be taken into account when planning a BI roadmap. Since the expectation from most organizations is that all employees should end up using data as an integral part of their work day that also means that there is a task of developing the organization's use of data over time. The level of ambition must be set where the bar can be raised continuously, and it is the BI organisation's task to help and support with inspiration and examples of business value in the use of data, so that the culture moves towards being data-driven.
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