Business intelligence is extremely complex. Even power-users that seem to know everything there is to know about BI would admit behind closed doors that they don’t truly know the full potential of BI. So when you ask your average user to make sense of a complicated, legacy BI tool, you’re often placing a tall order.
The number one reason that organizations get saddled with complex BI tools is the failure to consider the needs of end users in the decision making process. Because BI is so complex, most business leaders seek input from the IT department. This is not a mistake in and of itself. The IT department can and will have extremely valuable insight into the technology and capabilities of the tools being considered. However, those power-users will not utilize the tool in the same was as every other user in the company.
That’s why it’s so important to have members of other departments on the search team. Decision makers must listen to the needs and concerns of these non-technical employees, and those users should be present for any product demos throughout the decision-making process so that they can get a feel for how simple or complex the tool will be.
In order for BI to be actionable for an organization, it must be accessible to non-technical users. The objective of BI is to provide the right information to the right people at the right time. If only high-level data scientists require access, they surely will need a complex BI tool. However, most organizations want to adopt BI solutions that will help simplify queries and reports for multiple departments, not just the data scientists in the company. In an increasingly competitive business landscape, the more users that have access to accurate information, the better.
Simplifying BI for Users: Found Time, Found Money
With legacy BI systems, end users are often beholden to the IT team for their reporting needs. That means putting in formal requests, and then waiting until developers have the time to generate those reports. It can take hours, days, weeks, or even months, depending upon workloads. This type of backlog has a ripple effect across the entire organization. Without accurate sales numbers, for example, the entire supply chain can be affected. This leads to a cycle of dissatisfaction, frustration, and retroactive decision making.
When users have access to data, they are often left to fumble around with exporting that data into Excel and then manipulating that information to suit their needs. This takes time. For users that aren’t quick with Excel, this process can drag on indefinitely.
With a user-friendly BI tool in place, companies can free up time for both end-users and the developers tasked with creating reports. When employees can run their own reports on-demand, it eliminates backlogs, ensures accuracy, and allows for proactive decision making. Everyone—including developers—can then focus their time and resources on strategic tasks, rather than formatting excel sheets.