It's Time for BI, Can We Talk?

Ann All

As I've blogged about previously, many companies are ready to expand their use of business intelligence beyond BI specialists and senior executives and open it up to line-of-business managers and even folks like customer service representatives.


This well-intentioned and generally useful strategy can backfire, however, if companies don't pay attention to employee communication and training. (This is obviously true of most technology implementations, but can't be stressed enough.)


As reported in a Computerworld New Zealand story, new users at the Maryland Department of Transportation slowed the BI system by performing queries unrelated to their jobs. The department addressed the problem by introducing training programs that emphasized the importance of accessing only relevant data.


It's also important to head any user resistance off at the pass and, if possible, to get users to help in the BI selection process, two strategies succesfully employed by the Indiana Public Employees Retirement Fund.


Communication is the number-one item on a great 10-step check list for BI implementations, found at Campus Technology. The author, a data warehouse administrator at New York's Ithaca College, notes that the biggest challenge in a successful deployment is involving everyone, "from presidents to administrative assistants," in creating useful information. His solution: "Communicate, communicate, communicate -- with everyone."


In an interview with IT Business Edge, CRM expert Barton Goldenberg says the key to ensuring user buy-in is providing the 3x factor: that is, giving users at least three pieces of valuable information for every piece of information they enter into the system. We think this advice applies just as well to BI.


Goldenberg also emphasizes the importance of communicating to users not only the operational information about the technology your company is using, but the value that the company and individual users will derive from the technology.

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