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Amalgam Provides 4 Big Recommendations for Self-Service BI Success


Recently, my colleague Todd Maddox, Ph.D., the most-cited analyst in the corporate training world, and I were looking at the revolution of self-service BI, which has allowed business analysts and scientists to quickly explore and analyze their own data easily. At this point, any BI solution lacking a self-service option should not be considered a general business solution.

However, businesses still struggle to teach and onboard employees on self-service solutions, because self-service represents a new paradigm for administration and training, including the brain science challenges of training for IT. In light of these challenges, Dr. Maddox and I have the following  four recommendations for better BI adoption.

  1. Give every employee a hands-on walkthrough. If Self-Service is important enough to invest in, it is important enough to train as well. This doesn’t have to be long, but even 15-30 minutes spent on having each employee understand how to start accessing data is important.
  2. Drive a Culture of Curiosity. Self-Service BI is only as good as the questions that people ask. In a company where employees are either set in their ways and not focused on continuous improvement, Self-Service BI just becomes another layer of shelfware.

    Maddox adds: The “shelfware” comment is spot on. I was a master of putting new technology on the shelf! If what I have now works for my needs, then I need to be convinced, quickly and efficiently, that this new approach is better. I suggest asking users what they want to use the software for. If you can put users into one of 4 or 5 bins of business use cases, then you can customize the training and onboard more quickly and effectively.

  3. Build short training modules for key challenges in each department. This means that departmental managers need to commit to recording, say, 2-3 short videos that will cover the basics for self-service. Service managers might be looking for missed SLAs while sales managers look for close rates and marketing managers look for different categories of pipeline. But across these areas, the point is to provide a basic “How-to” so that users can start looking for the right answers.

    Maddox adds: Businesses are strongly urged to include 4 or 5 knowledge check questions for each video. Knowledge testing is one of the best ways to add additional training. It also provides quick insights on what aspects of your video is effective and what is not. Train by testing!

  4. Analytics knowledge must become readily available . As users start using BI, they need to figure out the depth and breadth of what is possible with BI, formulas, workflows, regression, and other basic tools. This might be as simple as an aggregation of useful Youtube videos to a formal program developed in a corporate learning platform.

By taking these training tips from one of the top BI influencers and the top-cited training analyst on the planet, we hope you are better equipped to support self-service BI at scale for your business.

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