How to train your users to create their own Business Intelligence reports. #1 of 5: Why do it?

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Introduction:

Business Intelligence (BI) helps an organization make faster & smarter decisions – There’s no doubt or debate over that! But every organization needs to go through the process of driving Business Intelligence adoption before they start seeing the Return on Investment for a BI solution. One of the form of BI which has been really successful at being adopted by business community is called “self-service BI” and the idea is to enable business users to create their own reports – in other words, “self-serve” their data needs. In this blog series, I would share the best practices that I’ve picked up while leading up an effort to train 200+ business users with the goal of enabling them to create their own BI reports.

In this post, let’s step back and talk about why is it important to enable business users to create their own reports?

#1: Information Technology’s Time & Budget.

The demand for “data” by business users is a great thing! But IT would need to dedicate resources to make it happen. usually, IT teams can be constrained due to budgetary reasons or due to other higher priority items on their radar. So what happens? Business community do not receive the data that they asked for in a timely fashion. And if you cannot offer data when they need it then it might not be as useful. So what’s the solution? One solution is to have “BI platforms” where data assets are readily available for business users to consume. So once they are build, IT would no longer have to dedicate development resources on them. And since IT is no longer a bottleneck, business users can get the data when they want it and however way they want to see it.

Time is money Information Technology Budget

#2: World changes. Business Changes.

World Changes and so does Business. If Business doesn’t adapt to change then they will die! And if Business changes, the data needs would change too. How many times does IT get “change requests” to their production reports? All of these requests would require IT’s intervention to accommodate change requests and what is the average turn around time in your organization for that? How about publishing data assets that businesses can readily access that let’s them see same data from varying perspectives? Of course, they might ask for data that’s not available yet but then IT can spend some time on bringing those data assets into the BI platforms rather than spending resources on “change requests”.

World Changes Business Changes Data Business Analytics Changes

#3: It’s great for BI adoption!

With the flexibility of Self Service BI solution, the control is in the hands of the users (again!). Without having to wait on IT, they can get to the data instantaneously and so faster and there’s a greater chance that they would use “data” in the decision making process. Isn’t it great?

Also, business users who would have created their own reports would share it with others, won’t they? And that would spark collaboration among business users. This is great because the recipients of the reports would start wanting to analyze the data too. And with time, the trust for the data assets would grow among the business community. This is really important for BI adoption.

Conclusion:

In this post, we saw why is it important to train your business users to create their own BI reports using a Self Service BI Platform. In next posts, we’ll get into strategies & tactics to enable users to create their own reports.

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