In my last blog post I wrote about how the adoption of self-service BI tools hasn’t lived up to its promise of giving users easy access to the data they need.
As I also pointed out, organisations often make the mistake of looking for a “one size fits all” solution. The tools that business users need will be simpler in their design and their approach than those for data analysts. Business users need timely, easy to access information that relates to their role and how they are measured. Data analysts are focused on delving deep into data in order to discover patterns, trends and help to forecast the future for the organisation.
Around 4 years ago, we radically changed our strategy to work with a small number of high quality partners, rather than selling dashboard tools to end users. Our mission was to find a way to enable business users to be successful with BI without all of the investment required to deploy a full data warehouse solution, while reducing the issues with giving them a self-service BI tool.
Our strategy was to work with our partners to create a series of pre-packaged dashboard solutions aimed at common business areas. Since all line of business applications have similarities in the data, packaged suites of dashboards can provide an out-of-the-box solution that answers real life problems in an easy to understand interface. These packaged dashboards allow an organisation to shortcut the process of understanding the available data, allowing BI dashboard projects to be launched more quickly and for less investment.
Take the example of our partner Processflows (part of Konica Minolta). We have worked with them to create a range of comprehensive Enterprise Print Management dashboards. These provide a real-time fact-based audit of an organisations print management usage and costs including:
The other important point is that each of these dashboards is tailored to individual stakeholders to include data in varying degrees of detail:
Other good examples are from One Advanced with the distribution of Accounting and HR data to help operational departments to user their resources more efficiently; or Evasys who use our dashboards to publish student engagement information both internally and externally.
So for our partners the benefits have been to increase both their sales conversion rates and profitability. We are now included in over 85% of all of our partners’ new business sales. It’s not just about the dashboard in its own right, it’s about enabling them to differentiate their solution by embedding a customised dashboard integrated into their core solution. In one recent example in the print management industry we were fundamental in enabling a £1M contract to be won – not a bad ROI for a £20k investment in an Intuitive dashboard solution.
As a general rule of thumb, we find that around 80% of the package dashboards are used out of the box whilst 20% go on to be customised. These packaged dashboards are pre-integrated to partners existing software solutions, with the added benefit of pre-defined data extracts, components & dashboards. This allows our partners to invest in solutions for their customers knowing that a large amount of the functionality can be re-used across multiple customers, this in turn increases profitability as the solution is adopted.
So what’s the advantage for customers? As my last blog mentioned the reason why self-service BI failed was because the tools did not give enough value to business users. Customers are typically looking for a solution which can be quickly deployed, provide and instant benefit and can be then become more sophisticated over time once confidence in the solution has grown. Packaged dashboards deliver this in a number of ways:
And in our experience, this approach grows user adoption. It also serves to further embed use of the business application within the organisation, and drives up the benefits that users get from use of the dashboards, tightly integrated with the application.
In summary, in most organisations, data for reporting purposes is extracted from business software applications that are widely used across the organisation. These business applications are typically well established, relatively user friendly and accessed by business users on a daily basis. It seems logical for dashboards to form an integrated part of these solutions.
For a more detailed analysis request a copy of our White Paper which has been written in collaboration with Stinus Andersen, Head of Information Systems Services at Morson International.
If you’d like to find out more about how Packaged Dashboards could help your organisation to further embed your solutions and add value to your clients, then please contact us.
Roger Stocker, May 2018