Tips for the Best Usage of Business Intelligence Software

What are the steps to being a best user of business intelligence software?

This is a continuation of the transcript of a Webinar hosted by InetSoft entitled "Best Practices for Deploying and Using Business Intelligence Software." The speaker is Mark Flaherty, CMO at InetSoft.

Mark Flaherty (MF): The first step has to do with collecting and preparing data for use in a BI application. This has to do with data management, aggregation of data from the numerous disparate data sources they may have, how they are transforming and cleansing that data, and how they are able to deliver the right data to the right people in a timely fashion.

The best companies have increased the number of employees with access to BI applications. They have also been able to decrease data management infrastructure costs. A major source of infrastructure cost comes from data integration. One of the areas of reduced cost can come from the avoidance of data warehousing by using a solution such as InetSoft's where the BI application accesses operational databases directly.

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Reduce Your Data Management Costs

There has, in fact, been some focus by many enterprises on reducing their data management costs. They cite reasons such as reducing the time to information, which has to do with the time lags that data warehousing introduces, as well as reducing overhead costs around data management. In addition, enterprises are striving to improve their data management strategy in order to be able to deliver BI capabilities to more people, to simplify data access for them, and to improve ease of use of the BI tools they select.

The next steps to becoming a top user of business intelligence have to do with the strategic actions companies employ around their BI project. They take time to understand end-user requirements, and they create a data management strategy roadmap. They plan in advance how they are going to measure data access performance so they can stay on top of data and usage growth.

They don’t spend too much time identifying every single data source out there. Rather they add them in over time, making sure to get the most important data available right away.

What Do You Teach to an Employee to Use Business Intelligence Software?

In terms of employee strategy, they make an effort to establish an information culture that values the collection, management, delivery, and use of corporate data. Teaching an employee to use business intelligence (BI) software requires a comprehensive approach that covers both foundational concepts and hands-on training. Here's a breakdown of the key aspects to include:

Introduce BI Concepts and Terminology

  • Explain the basics of BI, its role in organizations, and its benefits.
  • Define common BI terms like data warehouse, data mining, data visualization, and dashboards.

Understand BI Software Features and Functionality

  • Familiarize the employee with the specific BI software being used.
  • Demonstrate the software's interface, data import options, data manipulation tools, and visualization capabilities.

Data Analysis and Manipulation Techniques

  • Teach data preparation techniques like data cleaning, data transformation, and data aggregation.
  • Explain data analysis methods like descriptive statistics, inferential statistics, and time series analysis.

Data Visualization and Reporting

  • Demonstrate how to create charts, graphs, and other visual representations of data.
  • Guide the employee in designing effective dashboards and reports that communicate insights clearly.

Hands-on Practice and Case Studies

  • Provide real-world data sets and case studies to apply the learned concepts.
  • Encourage experimentation with different analysis techniques and visualization approaches.

Continuous Learning and Support

  • Offer ongoing support and resources for further learning and troubleshooting.
  • Encourage participation in online tutorials, workshops, and industry events related to BI.

Tailored Training to User Roles

  • Differentiate training content based on the employee's role and responsibilities.
  • Focus on specific BI tasks and analysis relevant to their job functions.

Promote a Data-Driven Culture

  • Encourage the employee to ask questions, explore data, and seek insights.
  • Foster a culture that values data-driven decision making and continuous improvement.
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