3 ways to improve the Business Intelligence (BI) adoption rate

With an ever changing technology landscape and the overflow of digital data, Business intelligence plays a critical role for companies to remain competitive in the market. The power to understand and analyze data to make quick, competitive and impactful decisions is the need of the hour for any decision maker. BI user adoption plays a critical role in the drive to become a data-driven company. Unfortunately, BI adoption rate for many companies hovers as low as 30% for the executed BI projects. This situation leads to massive loss of time, infrastructure and money spent on these BI projects. Below are a few approaches that help in improving the BI adoption rate in the company.

1) Strategize BI from Top:

Adopting a data-driven culture is a transformational initiative and cannot be started from the bottom rungs of decision making unit. The strategy has to flow from the top to bottom. The corporate objective has to be modularized and the departmental objectives have to be aligned to match to business objectives. Most of the BI projects fail during this phase as companies take the bottom-up approach and the compartmentalized BI implementation eventually does not align with the overall business needs of the organization. Start the business intelligence planning from the top and implement it progressively to the bottom of the decision table.

2) Implementing for business user:

Most BI projects in the market are implemented as packaged solutions with IT department functioning as gatekeepers to the BI reporting. Unfortunately, each business is unique and the business challenges are specific to the organization and there can be no one product fits all solution. Business Intelligence should not to be treated as a replacement to existing reporting environment; rather it should help business users to work smarter, move faster and make better decisions. It has to address to the specific challenges of the company and not just produce template market reports. Eliminating the mindset of treating BI as an IT function and enhancing the business user experience with self-service BI reporting goes a long way in improving the BI adoption rate in the company.

3) Bring BI to review meetings:

While BI is seen as an initiative to enhance the reporting environment and close the gap between data to decisions, it is still not universally accepted tool for review meetings. This situation is partly attributed to limited understanding of the BI audience in the company. While there are power-users in the organization preferring slice and dice of data for dynamic analysis, there are even more information-consumers who would be content with generating static reports for business metrics. Industry estimates a ratio of around 1:4 between dynamic and static reporting. Understanding and balancing the equation between these different types of users is a critical component in the success of BI adoption. Use of BI tool in review meetings helps in collective analysis and thus improving the adoption of BI culture in the company.

These are some of the many steps that can be taken to improve the BI user adoption in the company. The drive has to start with understanding the different stakeholders involved in the decision circle and addressing the specific challenges faced in making decisions.

The Missing “2” in B2B / B2C Value Discovery

The era when you develop a product and expect to sell purely based on its features is gone forever. Any product you create, produce or innovate, you will soon find plenty of companies selling similar products in the market, sometimes with a price that might be very competitive to match as well. When companies don’t want to compete on price, there came the concept of Value discovery.

value-discovery-400x267So what is this value all about and how do you discover it? A simple answer would be – value is what customer finds useful in your product or service, that can address his/her pain points and that can establish a business for you. Simple definition isn’t it? No, companies spend thousands of dollars to discover value for every product or service they do. In product oriented environment, the process is relatively simple as some of the values are fixed and finding the remaining variables are not often very tough. The services environment provides plenty of challenges as the variables are quite often infinite. Hence picking the right variables that create value for the customer becomes a paramount importance. The concept gets even more interesting when you look from the angle of B2C or B2B. Let us not argue here on which needs greater attention in value discovery. Instead we will find ways to make value discovery a simple and interesting process.

In my earlier post I talked about frameworks and how it helps business. Value discovery becomes simpler if we make it in a visual framework. Companies often believe understanding the pain points of the customer and creating a products or service around it will create value. True in a sense – but most companies often miss a critical element i.e. “consumer” or rather customer’s customer. There are 3 elements to discover value to any business.

3cpyramid

The levels in 3C pyramid gives you steps to discover the value to any product or service. Understanding your company and the principles in which it operates forms the base to any value discovery. Then is the understanding of the pain points of the customer that your company serve and adapting the value proposition of your product or service to address those pain points. This is where most companies stop the process of value discovery, with the thought process that the cycle of B2(B/C) is complete. Most often in business the end customers/consumers are different from the customer you serve. There is a second and an important “2” to most business which is B2(B/C) + 2(B/C).

Toy industry is a classical example where the missing “2” is effectively employed in the business. The toys are produced to attract kids but marketed to parents – B2C2C. They make it attractive for kids but market to parents the advantage the toy brings to the growth of their kids and makes it easy to buy through use of different online and offline channels. Intel a semiconductor vendor for computer manufactures not just found value from its direct customer, instead went to public with the advertisements. The effect of the ads made consumers look for intel symbol in the computers to be assured of its quality. Intel discovered the value quality with the customer’s consumers and hence had a sustained success in the competitive industry (B2B2C).

So keep discovering value and remember not to miss the second “2” element in your discovery process.