Why user adoption matters in business intelligence

Constant access to informationWe’re fond of quoting Mico Yuk’s infamous statement on BI adoption on this blog: “User adoption is the only metric that matters in BI.”

This is something we are passionate about at Antivia, because we believe everyone in an organization should have the information they need to help them do their job effectively, regardless of their job title or where they are based.

However, despite growing investment in BI, it appears adoption rates have been stuck stubbornly around the 20% mark for the past several years.

Yet, if we can increase adoption and enable more people to access critical business information in a consistent way, then we can help drive our organizations forward with everyone moving in the same direction. This results in more effective execution and ensures the organization can compete more successfully and ultimately perform to its full potential.

The keyword here is consistency. If we want our organization to perform to its full potential, people need consistent information. And for the majority of people in our organization – the front-line workers like store managers, sales people, call center team leaders, warehouse managers, etc. – this means providing them with pre-packaged information in the form of an interactive dashboard (or information app). This allows them to quickly answer the key questions that matter in their area of the business.

Creating these pre-packaged interactive dashboards requires a close working relationship between the business users and the people producing the dashboard. We’ve written extensively about how using an agile or lean approach is the way to create such dashboards effectively, and we’ve recently published an eBook on the subject with advice from industry experts. You can download the eBook by clicking on the image below.

Lean BI eBook

To maximize adoption of these interactive dashboards, they need to provide users with a super-intuitive interface that they can just pick up and use without training. Delivering dashboards that people don’t need to be trained to use is critical to achieving widespread adoption. Experience shows that for every hour’s training required to learn how to use a BI tool, you will see a corresponding drop off in adoption. And this becomes compounded where we have workers spread across multiple sites or working remotely.

The benchmark here should be the mobile apps we use every day in our consumer lives. When did you ever read a manual for an iPad app? Did you go on a training course to learn how to use Amazon’s website? These apps and sites are all intuitive and easy to use, and this is the level we should be striving for when we deliver business intelligence to the front lines of our organizations – information apps that speak the language of the business user, implement workflows that reflect the way they think and provide easy access to lower levels of information and alternative views of information to answer follow-up questions.

Information apps

Over the coming weeks, we’ll explore this topic further, looking at the value that can be achieved by maximizing adoption in specific areas of our organization. For now, check out how some dashboards really are as easy to use as the apps on your smartphone.

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2 thoughts on “Why user adoption matters in business intelligence

  1. Pingback: Top 9 data articles, 15 – 22 June

  2. Pingback: How to maximize BI adoption, part I: how to empower your sales people

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