One of the biggest problems facing companies using business intelligence software is this: Most users don’t use it. This problem has been discussed in great detail, with the general consensus being that users typically don’t use BI software because it’s too difficult. Makes sense, right?
While I believe that problem does play a role in adoption rates, I recently read an old Gartner BI study that touches on another possible reason. Many BI tools require that the user stop operating in their traditional workspace and move to another environment to view information.
It’s a great point if you think about it: Everyone has a daily work routine. We open the same programs, use the same web apps, and generally work on similar tasks. With most BI software, you’re asking your users to add another software program/application into their routine. Chances are, your users are already busy. Asking them to add one more step into their daily routine is a losing proposition.
That got me thinking…what if there was a better way? Instead of bringing the users to the BI software, what if we brought BI to the users? What if we worked BI into their daily routine, without forcing them into anything new?
How do you bring BI to the users? First, you need a flexible BI solution–one that integrates easily with other systems/apps/software. If you have a flexible BI solution, here are some ways to bring BI to the users:
1. Integrate business intelligence into systems that your users already use on a daily basis. For example, you could integrate dashboards into other software, like MS Sharepoint.
2. Do you use Window 7 or Vista? If so, you can easily create desktop BI gadgets. For example, I took a couple charts from this business dashboard, and turned them into Windows 7 gadgets (Here’s a screenshot). The best part: Those gadgets are identical to their business dashboard counterparts. They function the same and access the same data.
3. Give them apps. There’s been a lot of talk recently about employees using consumer devices for business. Create mobile versions of your BI applications. Let users access BI apps in whatever format they wish.
Obviously, the options vary by company, but the point is this: Rather than asking users to open another piece of software, why not integrate your BI into their current routine? Figure out which software and applications your employees already use, and work your business intelligence into those places.