Category Archives: BI Strategy

Self-service BI requires more than generic data exploration tools

gas station In a recent blog post: “The Myth of Self-Service Analytics“, data visualization expert Stephen Few took BI vendors to task for their use of the term “self-service”. He opened with the remark: “Exploring and analyzing data is not at all like pumping your own gas”.

The pumping gas analogy is one I like. It is also one I have used myself for some time. The earliest example I could find being this slide from a presentation I gave back in 2013: Continue reading

Calculating the cost of moving to a new BI tool

BI Tool Switch ROI Calculator - AssumptionsIt’s funny. As business intelligence professionals we spend our lives trying to encourage a data-driven decision making culture within our organizations.

But, at the end of the day, we’re all human, and we’re as prone as anyone else to making decisions based on gut feel rather than facts.

A common example I see of this is when it comes to considering replacing an existing business intelligence product. The current product may be old and cumbersome. It may take an age to create new content with this tool. Maintaining existing content may be onerous and time-consuming. And, all of this may require specialist skills. Continue reading

Google’s Olympic Self-Service BI Lesson

Google Olympics Rio 2016For a lesson in how to deliver Self-Service BI to the majority of people in your organization, you could do worse than to look at how Google is serving up information for the 2016 Rio Olympics.

If you search Google for an Olympic event or sport (e.g. try typing in Olympic Swimming), you get back a thoughtfully designed, mini information app. Continue reading

What you need to know about information applications

4 information appsInformation applications are a new way of delivering information to front-line decision-makers to enable them to answer their immediate and follow-up questions and to guide them in their daily activities.

Donald MacCormick recently explained that: Information applications look a lot like interactive dashboards, but they also look a lot like the web and mobile ‘applications’ we use every day (on-line banking, on-line weather, on-line stocks and shares, … in fact, pretty much anything we do on-line in our non-work lives). Interfaces we can use almost without thinking and certainly without any training or documentation.”

This no need for training is critical, because, as we’ve said before, end-user training is a sure-fire killer of BI adoption and BI project success. Continue reading

If you wanted a sandwich, you would not tolerate BI-style “self-service”

Self-Service Sandwich BarIn his recent blog post, Wayne Eckerson opens:

The promise of self-service analytics is almost too good to be true. Business people get the information they want, when they want it, how they want it

From there, he goes on to explain how he has seen this vision fail inside organizations, in a post which nicely articulates some of the pitfalls of self-service analytics.

However, I want to take a step back and look at his opening premise. Particularly, the aspect summarized as: Self-service analytics gives business people information “how they want it”. Continue reading

How to put information into the hands of front-line workers

In a recent post on this blog, my colleague Donald MacCormick, picked-up on a comment from Howard Dresner’s latest Wisdom of Crowds® Business Intelligence Market Study: “for the first time, operations moved ahead of executives in 2016 as the leading driver of business intelligence initiatives”

When discussing the findings of this report on Howard’s regular Friday #BIWisdom tweetchat, one contributor said: “More people are recognizing that the value of their data increases when put in the hands of people on the front lines.”

This is a sentiment we at Antivia wholeheartedly agree with, and so, in this post, we’re going to look at some examples of how we can put information into the hands of our front-line workers: Continue reading

Is end-user training killing your BI project?

User TrainingDo you have time set aside in your business intelligence (BI) project plan to train your business end-users? If you do, then I would urge you to think hard about what you are doing, because the need for business user training may well be an indicator that your project will not be the success you are hoping for.

As Mico Yuk is fond of saying, there is only one success metric which matters in BI: User Adoption. And, there are three reasons why the need for business user training kills adoption: Continue reading

Is your organization measuring the right things?

Are you measuring the right things?A while back we worked on a project to improve visibility into sales metrics for a large manufacturer.

Historically, the finance team pulled together a spreadsheet each month which they shared with the sales team. Sales people and their management used this information to track progress against target and to plan their activities for the following month.

The spreadsheet was complex. It was built from multiple data feeds and contained large numbers of interdependent calculations. Each month, it required a Herculean effort to pull the required information together on time and to validate it, ready for the sales team to use. Our remit was to show how we could help reduce the time and effort required to produce this information using dedicated business intelligence software. Continue reading

Two rays of hope from Howard Dresner’s Wisdom of the Crowds

rays of hopeLast week, Howard Dresner, a long-time BI analyst and the person who, back in 1989, coined the modern use of the term Business Intelligence, posted to his blog on Sand Hill an article which, at least to my mind, contained two of the best pieces of news about BI I have heard for a long, long time. These were the following quotes from his “Wisdom of Crowds® Business Intelligence Market Study”:

 

Continue reading

“Should everyone have access to self-service data integration?”

data scientistAlmost as soon as I had published my last post (speaking up for forgotten business intelligence users), I saw the following question in a tweet from industry analyst, Wayne Eckerson (@weckerson):

“Should everyone have access to self-service data integration?”

This is a bit like asking:

“Should we give sharp knives to all children?” Continue reading