Best Practices for Driving User Adoption in Dashboards

Business dashboards are powerful tools that can increase data transparency and utility. They make it significantly easier to quickly view KPI’s, understand your data and answers the ‘why?’ questions.  They find actionable insights now having a centralised source of all data (no more versioning) and identify important trends so your employee’s may adjust their processes accordingly. Amazing! However,

“Dashboards and BI Tools are only as valuable as your users…Technology is an enabler and only coupled with people do you transpose information into knowledge to then increase customer experience or improve productivity” …Graham Perry  ‘Can Data Analytics Change an Industry’ presentation @ #WFP2019

So what can be done to gain (1)  End User Buy in:

  • First and foremost – Best Practice No:1 is to Identify target audience. Who are your key business users? These are the individuals who will be using your dashboards and feeding back to help improve and ensure continued relevance and value.

Work with them, think what actions do I want to drive from this dashboard.

For example I need to identify those who need training in X.  Then perhaps performance league tables may be of use, enabling you to view people’s performance in a particular area and more importantly view against the ‘norm’.

  • Create unique insights. Give your users something tangible they can use.  For example enabling your management team to visualise the impact of changing a particular product line on forecasted revenues or reduction in your carbon footprint by switching to a more energy efficient device.
  • Stickiness – Giving your users data they will depend on. Build a dependency on your dashboard where the only way to be successful in my job is to view these key KPI’s.
  • Look for quick wins – Identify the high priority business requirements. Are there any that you can quickly help inform with your dashboard(s)?
  • Check yourself and adjust – Your BI team need to continual provide means of end users to feedback into the design of the dashboards making it meaningful to them as well as a living entity, adaptable to ongoing business changes.

Driving adoption into a business is also about creating (2) A Data Driven Culture and here are a few tips on how this can be achieved.

  1. Enforce reporting of key KPI’s on dashboards in management meetings. Ensure management are able to drill through into the data to enable them to understand what is happening and why.  Don’t forget to show them how and sit with them prior to ensure you are displaying what is important to them!
  2. Embed your dashboards in the applications your team users regularly e.g. CRM, ERP etc.
  3. Embed interactive dashboards in PowerPoint Presentations.
  4. Create weekly reports – driving teams and management to review continuously, enabling them to be armed with informed data before it has an impact.

Note: Not all BI tools have the capability of embedding dashboards/widgets.  Please consult your customer success manager or your BI support team. 

Another great best practice is (3) Manage your BI Inventory.  Share with your organisation:

  • A detailed purpose and main KPI of existing dashboard. What key question’s are answered and for who – detail who has access and a profile of who the dashboard is aimed at.
  • Implement a way for your organisation to request access and why. This will enable greater transparency of what data needs to be available to who and better yet, insight into what data can be used to help people perform better.
  • Publish each KPI, measure and formula. For example, how is a particular KPI measured, what data sources feed into it and what are the max and min tolerances of conditional red/green indicators.
  • Publish the business rules that underlies the KPI. Build confidence in the data you are visualising.

(4) Visibility and training

Training is an important aspect to successful adoption of BI in an organisation in particular those who have only recently joined your business.  Ensure to add an introduction or training to new employee handbooks.  For existing employees, build dedicated training for different department, remember different roles are required to make different informed decision and by customising the training to address their specific challenges will make your BI dashboard more tangible to them and therefore increase their adoption.

One thing that came out of the webinar from Sisense, was something I hadn’t considered and that is to drive excitement throughout the organisation. Market your success internally, either through promotion on internal platforms or newsletters or via displaying key dashboards within departments on screens throughout each office.  This is also a great way to promote the values and what is important to your organisation and how it operates to clients who visit your office and to any new employee’s, graduates or apprentices.

And finally, more specially to those who have adopted Sisense as their BI & Analytics tool.  Sisense is renowned for it’s customer success and has a number of plug-ins and features that facilitate dashboard designer’s in creating insightful dashboards and consume the data easily.  (5) Sisense adoption Features include:

  • Sisense Pulse – Data Notification, Anomaly detection & Smart workflow.  Let the insights come to you
  • Sisense Mobile App – take your data everywhere you go
  • Sisense labs – BI innovations around data consumption, such as ……..

Sisense Boto 

Was Sisense first step to bringing analytics to everyone. Sisense Boto enables you to gain insights from your data from your favourite messaging platforms such as skype, slack or messenger.

Sisense Bulb & Amazon Echo

Sisense enabled bulb provides an immediate visual representation of a KPI e.g. when certain KPI’s haven’t met predefined conditions.

Sisense-Enabled Echo searches your widgets and dashboards to provide you with your numeric KPIs according to your voice command.

Sisense Blox

Enables you to perform action’s back to the application facilitating actionable insights that feed back into your workflow processes.

  • Sisense Insight miner -enables users to find hidden insights with the power of machine learning in a click. Just select the data you want to grab the insights from and away you go.
  • Sisense Narratives – refers to textual descriptions of your data explained in natural, everyday, language simplifying complex data analysis. Sisense Narratives calculates your data and generates text-based insights displayed alongside your visualizations making it easier for you to reach decisions faster.
  • Sisense Usage Analytics – monitor’s who and what widgets or dashboards users are interacting with. This enables feedback into the dashboard design process enabling relevant and value add dashboards that your end users can interactive with and learn from.

To summaries, there are a number of activities you as BI experts can help increase adoption of your dashboards into your organisation.  No single technique is the ‘be it and end all’; trial and error.  Each organisation is different and a number of combined best practices is what will ensure success, in order to identify which ones, you need to understand how things are done in your organisation and what has previously worked well and what hasn’t.   If there was one parting advice I could give, start small.  Look for the quick wins and work with your users, take them on a journey with you.

Happy Dashboarding!

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