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): There are three dimensions to consider here. First is the cost per user, which includes all software licensing costs plus maintenance, hardware costs and administrative overhead. Second is completing the BI deployment on budget. A recent industry analyst report showed that more than half of companies failed to do this. The last dimension is how quickly the business intelligence software can be operational. The faster deployments average around 4 weeks, but a poorly planned deployment or overly complicated software has led to timelines of 3 months or more.
One of the methods you can undertake to help manage these costs includes actively measuring and tracking all the BI costs that the project incurs against an equally detailed budget for them. Second is creating a project timeline with milestones and checking weekly on the project status against those.
And in terms of the dimension of administrative overhead in the area of BI experts or database analysts needed to support the business users, focus on building a handful of information-intensive BI dashboards that have options for filtering and slicing and dicing. This makes the level of self-service is high, and the requests for custom dashboards goes down. In addition interactive, HTML5-based dashboards are far more engaging and can answer many more ad hoc questions than traditional reporting can.
Picking software that supports easy personalization is also very helpful. For instance, InetSoft's software has a bookmarking feature that lets each user save settings of an interactive dashboard, the filtering selections, date ranges and so on. In effect, they can end up making multiple custom versions of a standard dashboard that was provided to them, just the way they like to use them.
Another technique is to establish a resident expert in each business group, someone who learns how to build dashboards from scratch. That way they can guide others in their group when they have questions, or if necessary build the additional dashboards that are desired.
Not most. Between 20 and 40% of them do, but those that do formalize the training, they tend to be more successful in their business results, so there might be a correlation with getting the most out of their BI software if they do plan for some level of training. With software such as InetSoft's this can be minimal. The software is quite intuitive with the point and click controls such as selection lists for filtering, and other self-evident input methods such as calendars and range slider. Also it’s important to design the KPI dashboards with unambiguous labels, and add footnotes if necessary so users know what data they are working with. With that said, a simple one-sheet quick start guide might be the only necessary formalized end-user training necessary.
InetSoft Technology Corp.
InetSoft Technology Corp.