BUSINESS INSIGHTS

Jun 01, 2015

3 Elements for Implementing a Successful Self-Service BI Program

Matthew Mace Posted by Matthew Mace

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Companies are generating mountains of data these days, but to make an impact on your bottom line, with your stakeholders and with your customers, you’ve got to do more than just collect it. To succeed in today’s business environment, you’ve got to be able to glean timely and efficient insights from all that data. But overloaded IT departments, budgets and security often make it difficult for this to happen.

A self-service BI program can help your business get what it needs from its data. These programs allow businesses to make much faster decisions because users can satisfy their analytical requests with less reliance on IT.

But despite the benefits of self-service BI, a lot of businesses still struggle with implementing a successful program. Here are three elements you need to implement a successful self-service BI program.

Create a Team

When it comes to focusing on self-service BI, you may turn your energy to evaluating tools and technology, but an important element to ensuring self-service BI success is the creation of an internal team.

Your team should include a variety of staff members: IT, a variety of end users, BI team members and an additional consultant, if one is deemed necessary. Once you’ve established your team, make sure it meets regularly to discuss use cases or any issues that arise. This helps keep everyone up to date on what’s happening with the initiative and gives members a chance to share tips and resources.

Create a Culture of Learning

You might be surprised to learn the success or failure of a self-service BI program has little to do with the tool itself, and a lot more to do with a business’s culture. Give your employees the ability to explore data, create an environment where anyone can be a contributor to ideas — frontline employees, operations folks or marketing staff all have a different take on the processes and procedures that make your business run — and provide a variety of viewpoints that can help your business succeed. A business that embraces self-service BI has the ability to transform its culture from one of lacking trust to one of collaboration and sharing.

Identify Your Casual and Power Users

A common mistake with self-service BI implementation is the lumping together of users. Self-service BI is not a one-size-fits-all approach. But how can you identify your casual and power users? It’s often an issue of time and patience. Most casual users want to look at the data in different ways, but don’t have the time or patience to learn the tool. These users often call on power users to create what they need for them. Power users are the users who gravitate toward a tool when it’s deployed. In addition, they quickly become the go-to resource for creating ad-hoc views of data. It’s important to keep in mind that power users can be advocates for your self-service BI program, helping to spur user adoption and satisfaction.

Keeping these three points in mind when implementing a self-service BI program can help ensure end users are satisfied and the program runs smoothly. For even more information on the above points, including the six common pitfalls to successful self-service BI implementation, get our free ebook here.

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Matthew Mace

About The Author

Matthew Mace

Matt is the CEO of BlueGranite. He has nearly two decades of experience helping clients create competitive advantages through sophisticated business analytics. A Top 40 Business Leader Under 40 for West Michigan, Matt is a graduate of Western Michigan University and earned his MBA from the Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan.