Recently, Gartner published a report revealing that business intelligence (BI – Reports, scorecards, dashboards, and ad-hoc analytic tools) has been adopted by only 30% of business users. This means only 30% of business users are getting the tools and data they need to make decisions. Conventional industry wisdom puts the BI deployment number at approximately 70% of the business user community. So what could be driving this adoption/deployment gap?
First, for any BI to be successful, it must first meet what we call “technical” requirements. The data must be correct, it must be up to date, and everyone using the data must know specifically what the data represents. For example, when one person references “revenue” everyone knows what that means and uses the same data set to analyze it. But these are table stakes to enter the BI game. While bad data will guarantee no adoption, good data will not guarantee adoption. What else could be getting in the way?
We believe the User Experience (UX), or the solution’s interface, is the true defining factor of adoption. Good UX design puts the right data at the fingertips of the right people at the right time. It focuses on the user’s true needs. It does not try to be everything to everyone, a common error in designing BI solutions. Sometimes the best UX is the one with the least amount of information on it.
Good UX design requires the following steps which are all part of our BI methodology:
- Start with the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for all of the target user groups – If they are not defined and broadly understood, your BI solutions run the risk of lacking focus and not supporting what really matters to the organization. The tools you deliver will be trying to hit a moving or inconsistent metric target.
- Observe how business users work in their natural environment – Spending just a day with representatives from the target user groups can yield tremendous insight around what enables decision making. Focus early phases or work on what the users really need, not just what they say they would like to have.
- Use prototyping– An iterative design process where users are asked to provide feedback 3-4 times before going live not only ensures you have the right design, but gives insight into other change management tasks that may be required.
Companies spend billions of dollars on BI solutions every year with only 30% using the tools long-term. It is time to put more effort into good UX design to drive long term adoption and return on investment.