You spent months evaluating solutions, spending time and money on proofs of concept, and finally made an investment in the right Business Intelligence (BI) solution for your organization. Congratulations! But… the journey isn’t over yet. You need to make sure the end users make the most of this new tool for not only the strategic benefits it has, but also to get a good return on your investment. A program that combines training, communications, and other user adoption activities will help foster a data culture and drive positive acceptance of the new solution.
The foundation of a good user adoption strategy involves basic principles of change management. First, you need to increase awareness – are your end users aware of the new solution and all of the features that can help empower them to do their jobs more effectively? Ideally, you would have incorporated some of them in the initial stages of selection for the BI tool (including user requirements and evaluation). Second, you need to ensure understanding – users may be “aware” of the benefits and features of the product, but do they really understand them?
Third, is enabling your end users – providing them with the appropriate access, training, and support that allows them to use the new BI solution and its features. Finally, adoption – employees are using the product regularly (and hopefully with enthusiasm!) and are not falling back to using old tools or processes. I am sorry to say that the journey still isn’t over here, as you need to continue to reinforce the positive change you have created so that adoption is maintained over time.
There are many resources that you can leverage as you move through these stages to increase success and in some cases accelerate the move towards adoption.
- Executive support and communication: having senior leadership articulate the value of BI for the organization and being a living example by using it regularly helps get everyone on board.
- Having a BI Lead: providing a subject matter expert (SME) gives employees someone to go to outside of online resources if they need assistance, which can help users overcome roadblocks faster and keep them updated on new features available.
- Providing ongoing training: BI training should NOT be a point in time activity, but something built into your yearly training roadmap. Features change, user needs change, and even refreshers can continue to reinforce good habits around use.
- Intranet or portal for resources: having a centralized location for user manuals, training recordings, tool tips, or links to additional resources makes it easy for users to find what they need when they need it.
- Create a BI community: some companies will set up a Yammer community or other social feed where employees can ask questions or share items they have created or insights they have had.
The key is really knowing your organization and your users and tailoring the strategy to what is most appropriate. This blog touches on a few of the more common approaches to increase adoption and drive ROI–however, there are many methodologies that can be used to increase the odds of success. Email me at Rachael.firstname.lastname@example.org to connect and learn more!