5 New Year’s Resolutions for BI and Analytics Teams in 2020
By: Keelin McDonell
It’s that time of year
You know: the one when everyone turns over a new leaf and commits to running five miles a day, changing out burgers for salads (or an Impossible burger), and meditating instead of zonking out on the couch and binge-watching Netflix. It seems like everyone is focused on becoming healthy, happy, and productive.
But if you’re a business intelligence or analytics professional, don’t limit your resolutions to the gym and the kitchen. The new year is the perfect time to plan out how you can overhaul your BI operations to crush your goals (and maybe convince a few skeptics in the process).
We know that BI and analytics teams are often the unsung (and overworked) heroes in enterprise organizations, so taking a moment to reshape your strategy can provide a much needed boost to morale and efficiency. Here are five resolutions we think every BI and analytics function should adopt for 2020:
1. Prioritize insight over data
The phrase “data-driven” has popped up everywhere in the past few years. Don’t get us wrong: we love data and are strong believers that it can absolutely transform the business decision-making process. But too often, analytics organizations do an awesome job storing and displaying data without ever really unlocking the meaning behind it.
As 2020 kicks off, it’s a great opportunity for analytics teams to review their dashboards and ensure that they contain not just information but actionable insight. For example, can a sales executive spend five minutes with a dashboard and understand the key drivers behind their pipeline and bookings? If not, it may be time to make some adjustments.
2. Open up a dialogue with business users
That leads to our next resolution: make sure you’re discussing your dashboards actively and regularly with your business users.
Much has been made about the trend towards self-service in business intelligence and analytics. And it’s absolutely the case that savvy business users armed with powerful tools are now able to organize and report on data with a great deal of independence.
But analytics teams still play a critical role as in-house experts on business intelligence and data. Business users still need this perspective to ensure they are optimizing their use and understanding of BI, so don’t be shy about scheduling regular touchpoints to share this knowledge.
3. Design for usability
Have you ever heard folks in your organization bemoan the lack of available real estate in dashboards? They have one more chart or table that would be so great, if only it fit.
I can guarantee if you are having conversations like this, your dashboards are too convoluted and crowded.
You might object that the viz you’re trying to include is an absolutely essential business metric. And that might be true. But if you’ve already crammed your dashboard with ten (or more) charts and graphs, you’d do well to look carefully for redundant viz. If each chart and graph is truly essential to the business, take a moment to redesign your presentation across multiple sheets or dashboards so that the insights are clearly and sequentially organized.
Your business users, especially those viewing reports on mobile devices, will be grateful.
4. Optimize for adoption
You’ve probably been there: you spend days, weeks even, building a beautiful dashboard. You hit publish. And months later, you notice that hardly anyone is viewing it. And yet business users and executives are still pinging you with endless requests for information that is seemingly available to them. Why?
Whether it’s a design issue or simply lack of awareness, it’s critical you don’t get in the habit of supplementing (or supplanting) your dashboards with phone calls and chats. The new year is the perfect opportunity to consider whether a redesign is in order. Or a training session. Or a product like Quill, which annotates dashboards to make them easy for any user to understand — no phone call required.
5. Don’t forget to innovate
A few decades into the BI revolution, it’s easy for analytics organizations to become caretakers of a handful of market-tested tools. Sure, new features roll out from time to time but it’s largely the same old bar charts and tables. The same decks get emailed out once a month.
Take some time as 2020 starts to research the latest innovations in the analytics space. Whether you’re looking for tools to handle large data sets or printing options to get your viz into an exec-friendly PowerPoint format, there are thousands of features and complementary vendors to help you maximize your BI investment in the new year.
What are your BI resolutions?
Tell us what your priorities are in the new year, what we missed, or if you don’t agree. We look forward to hearing from you. Let’s keep the conversation going to hit our collective goals. Make 2020 the year you stick to your resolutions.
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