How to train your users to create their own Business Intelligence reports? #3 of 5: User Experience, Trainer, Content

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In part #1, I wrote about why is it important to enable business users to create their own BI reports.

In part #2, I wrote about three pre-training preparations – 1. Data 2. Tool 3. Understanding Culture.

In this post, part #3, I am going to write about three more important topics before you schedule trainings. Here they are:

1. user experience

2. Training Content

3. Trainer

Let’s talk about them in more detail:

1. User Experience:

How many clicks does it take for a user to get to the data? Measure this! From desktop, It’s Ideal to have 3 clicks or less to get to the data. If you more steps that users need to follow to get to the data, the chances of them getting lost somewhere else increases. If you have a great user experience, it’s easier for users to not have to remember how to get to the system. Here’s one example of an ideal User Experience:

Click #1: Click on web browser & type the name of the BI site (or pull it from favorites)

Click #2: On a BI site, they will have a “team site” (and that would show up automatically based on windows authentication) and they will see a reports categorized by subject areas. They will click on their subject area.

click #3: Click on a template and it will download the excel based template to user’s computer. (The template needs to be pre configured to connect to the data source)

In summary, easy-to-navigate BI sites are a huge plus!

On point #2, I had mentioned a BI site. You need some place for users to collaborate with their team & share reports. If you can’t setup SharePoint BI sites, then consider some shared network folders or have it on a common web site, some place that users can use to collaborate.

On point #3, I had mentioned “templates”. They may be excel files or blank power view reports configured to connect to the data source. Don’t ask your users to enter data source credentials – who would remember hxajfafhjfdakj\instance2143452 anyways?! Have templates that are ready to consume for end-users.

2. Trainer

Who needs to train user? of course, the trainer to have decent public speaking and communication skills along with being an expert at the end-user tool. He/she will also have to understand the business value of the data that the users are being trained on.

Now depending on the demand for training,  a trainer could be hired full-time/part-time to train users.

If there’s not enough budget or training demand, IT managers can consider requesting Business Intelligence Developers/Consultants/Architects or IT analysts to train the users.

If possible, IT managers can also request an analyst from the business group to do the training.

It would be great to record the trainings in video/document format for users to review them later.

3. Training Content & Format

3a Content

There are various methods to design training content:

– Look at Frequently asked questions from user community & design training content around them

– Invite smaller group of users for “beta” testing your training content. see if they like it! And keep improving your training content iteratively as you have more training sessions.

– Look at resources available online or books, user groups, etc for best practices & samples

– build upon the work of your colleagues, your past work, ask for feedback!

– And most importantly, remember to communicate business value in your training content.

– consider including Hands on (practice sessions) content in your training.

3b. Format

There are various training format & depending on your needs you will have to decide on the format of delivery mechanisms and training schedules:

Delivering mechanisms: In person or virtual.

Time: One hour-long/2 hour-long/one-hour for three days/ etc

I have had virtual trainings with users from Asia at 9 PM Easter Time & I’ve had 6 AM Eastern time meetings for users from Europe. You’ll need to decide the format that works best for you.

Conclusion:

In this post, I wrote about three topics for training business intelligence users 1. user experience 2. Trainer 3. Training Content.

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