If you are going to spend time and energy on developing and launching a Business Intelligence project, you are going to want to make sure that your customers actually use the reports and dashboards built in that effect. This is true for internal and external users. This is not only relevant for your own personal ROI but more importantly to ensure that the goals of your BI project are met. Obviously just like a used product is pulled of the market, your project will not last if users are not engaged. Hopefully this short blog article will give you a few tips and ticks to prevent this from happening.
Recognize the symptoms
User adoption is a challenge that is common to a lot of tech projects. There are a few conditions under which user adoptions are more likely to decrease or worse, never show.
The lack of user buy
This is probably the most frequent… Just like you should have some target sample test your product before launch. Another issue could be the lack of training time or more precisely the lack of availability of your users to attend the training sessions that you have set up. Setting sessions are not enough, you also need to make sure that your target users actually have the capacity in their day to day job to including showing up at the training. Checking with their team leaders is probably a good idea.
The lack of implementation strategy
Putting the new tool out there is definitely not enough, the same way you can’t launch a new application on a store without a proper marketing strategy. Your end users need to know about it! They need to understand the benefits of this new initiative, why you selected that particular tool etc.
Are you too disruptive?
Last but not least, your project may simply be too disruptive: maybe your users may just not be ready for what you have to offer which means you will have to prepare them for the change: new culture, new habits, new skills.
Make your BI dashboards sexy!
Turn your BI launch into an event
Inspire your future users! You may have the best BI project in the world, if your users are not inspired by your vision and what you propose, there is little chance that they will take a look at your reports and dashboards. To generate buzz for your new BI initiative, you need to promote the use of your technology by hosting special events. It’s exactly like launching a new product to your customers which is why a tip could be to enlist the help of your marketing and communication teams to build expectations and plan a launch event. To ensure your event works as a nice teaser, leaving the future users curious and wanting more, take a look at Apple Special Events:
Make the event mandatory for all teams involved in the BI project so that everyone gets to attend in person and via video conference
• Invite project leaders to share how the new BI platform will impact teams and individuals in their day to day job life.
• Show real-life examples of how your BI project will make their life better.
Don’t hesitate to add goodies and games to the mix to entice them such as free t-shirts or other cool gadgets to get everyone excited.
Communication and testing
Key users should be involved in the project from the start. People tend to resist change, or anything impact their current working environment even if it’s for the better. Involving them from the start will help gain their trust and thereby encourage other future users to give it a go. A nice format to do that is via the creation of focus groups with key users. During the implementation of BI platform, it’s critical to have discussions about its benefits to users. Keep in mind that your initial goals don’t necessarily align with users’ needs, especially as time passes. That’s why it’s relevant to keep the channels of communication open between the teams that will create and implement the dashboards and the end users of these dashboards. Tracking the usage will also help with ongoing discussion to maintain users’ satisfaction and adoption, this is not a onetime exercise at launch! You may need to bring the end users together with the analysts on a regular basis to discuss unused areas of the dashboards, or how to increase dashboard adoption in general.
On top of relying on your focus groups and one or 2 power users, we would advise choosing a BI ambassador: appoint a person in your company who is an ambassador for BI in general and your project in particular. Here are a few simple activities that your BI ambassadors can do to promote the project:
- Campaign to highlight key milestones in the project adoption process, from the launch and ongoing training, with helpful tutorials and early success stories.
- Invite users to provide feedback on the new BI platform via a weekly email or an online poll survey.
- Host after work or other types of social events to provide users with tips and a relaxed atmosphere for a Q&A session.
Even if the BI platform that you are introducing is very intuitive, different teams may use it in different ways and sharing successful use cases will speed up the overall users’ adoption. Make the most of the resources provided by the BI specialist that you have selected and made them your own. For example on the resources page of ClicData, you will find an extensive documentation center, a dedicated YouTube channels with several tutorials, a user forum, and Q&A. The BI software team may also propose webinars on a regular basis to which you can invite your own user base. Sometimes your users will be more excited using external support rather than the good old training tools that your company usually offer. That’s why you should open all possible communication channels made available by your BI software provider such as support ticketing and in-app chat. If they use these channels, it’s good news! It means that they are getting excited and trying to learn more.
Success is contagious, and when you share the success one team has had using a new tool, you increase the potential ROI from your BI platform because you inspire others to use it in new ways. A variety of training options can be implemented to encourage Best practice sharing such as:
• Face to face training sessions where top users can showcase how they use their dashboards.
• Online videos featuring these success stories and spreading the word faster.
• Monthly communications to share useful tips and innovative use cases from various teams and individual users throughout your organization.
Make sure your BI platform is easy to use
You may have the best implementation process in the world and you may promote your initiative in the most exciting way, if your BI platform is not user-friendly, user adoption does not stand a chance.
A BI platform is only useful when end users understand it, regularly use it, and can relate easily what dashboards offer and how to make improvements to their daily jobs. No matter how much the BI platform initially seems to meet your requirements, the end product needs to be relevant while addressing the needs of your end users.
A couple of features can give user adoption a big boost:
- Realtime alerts
We are not talking about email notifications that show every Monday morning encouraging users to go take a look at their dashboards. No, we are talking about real-time alerts on critical events in the dashboards that deserve their full attention: expenditure limits which were overcome, a major sales win, a problematic project delay, a quota that was reached etc. The more relevant the alert information, the more engaged the users will become with their dashboards.
- Dashboard templates
If the end users enjoy the indicators that the BI specialists have created for them, soon enough they are going to want to play. To create an exciting playground for them, offering templates sorted by topics, roles or type of data source can ease their first steps and give them the confidence to create some more dashboards over time.
Get your free BI consultation to talk about your business and how ClicData Business Intelligence can help you engage more with your customers.