Tamsen Haught - Nov 10, 2014

5 Steps for Successful Association BI Adoption

One of the most challenging aspects of implementing Business Intelligence (BI)  is getting your team to use it.  It can be deflating to spend time creating powerful data visualizations that have the potential to not only improve decision-making but to actually improve the quality of a staff member's workday, and to see those solutions lie dormant.  Take heart, you are not the only one with this challenge.  This is a wide-spread issue with Business Intelligence or any project that changes an individual's day to day life.  However, you do not need to sit back and watch your project atrophy. There are many things you can do to help jump-start the adoption process. Associations adopt BI

Training

Staff may not adopt a new process because they do not really understand what they should do and what the benefit will be.  When you are training adults, you need practical, relevant exercises for them to complete.  If the training examples  directly correlate to their day-to-day work life they will be more likely to pick it up and use it.

Repetition in Training

You can’t just train someone once and send them on their way.  Adult learners especially need constant training sessions.  If you were training someone how to throw the perfect curve ball, you would never expect to do an hour training session and have them be ready for the major leagues.  Repetition also has the added benefit of muscle memory.  Once fully trained, staff will instinctively want to go to your dashboards and data visualizations to answer their business questions.

Support from the Top

Because we  hear about the importance of C-Level support so often, it has almost become a cliché.  However, this does not make it untrue.  If you have support from your executives you can use them as a marketing tool to your staff.  In all your meetings, ask your executives to emphasize how important the project is (and why) and encourage everyone to participate in the discussion.

Listen and be Flexible

Maybe you created dashboards and data visualizations based on assumptions from a year ago.  Although the data may be updated nightly, the questions your team have about the data may have changed.  Walk through your data visualizations on a regular basis with your staff and find ways you can make them more useful.  Small changes can often make big differences in adoption and people are more likely to engage if their insights are appreciated.

Lead your Horses to Water

You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.  However, if you keep leading them to water, instinctively they will start going there when they get thirsty.  When your staff comes to you to ask a question about your data, keep redirecting them to the dashboards that can answer their question.  Even if you are just bringing up the dashboards at your desk and showing them the answer, you are keeping those dashboards at the top  of their minds.

Adoption of a new business process can be arduous  but don’t let yourself get frustrated.   It's an incremental process and many people enjoy learning new skills and contributing to the greater success of the organization. Encourage, engage, and enjoy your new BI project!

Written by Tamsen Haught