There has been a lot of talk about data democratization and self-serve business intelligence (BI). There are many reasons why BI vendors and customers are interested in self-serve BI tools. For BI customers, the need to involve all team members in driving business results is a no-brainer. For BI vendors, the need to satisfy customer demands is also a no-brainer. So, why does it seem to be taking so long to get to achieve true BI self-service?

One of the critical factors in the success of software adoption is, of course, the user interface. When an organization undertakes a software rollout, they don’t have the time or the money to provide expensive, time-consuming training in the hopes that users will adopt the solution. If the software is not easy to use, intuitive and easy to customize, the user will simply find another way to accomplish her/his task and the organization will have spent a lot of time and effort on software that is never used.

It’s simple, really! If your organization wants and needs to employ BI tools across the enterprise and involve its team members in monitoring, measuring and collaborating on results, the organization must provide a mobile, intuitive solution that can be used by anyone, regardless of their technical savvy or skills.

Adding to the demand for mobile, easy-to-use solutions, there is the ‘consumer expectation’ factor. During their time off, your employees become consumers and, make no mistake; they are used to websites, software solutions, games, media outlets and shopping sites that cater to their every whim and need. They have come to expect that they will be able to use software and websites in a way that is meaningful to them and suits their skills, tastes and schedule. They are impatient with plodding solutions that are difficult to navigate or take too long to respond to requests or actions. When they walk through the door into the office, they bring these expectations with them and they are not willing to endure the frustration or wait for results from their business intelligence tools.

Whether we like it or not, our employees are someone else’s customers and they have been conditioned to expect certain performance and behavior from sites and software, whether they are acting as consumers or employees. The way to get your users to adopt, use and leverage BI tools, is to provide them with true self-serve BI that will enable data democratization and increase the value and benefit each employee can provide to your enterprise.

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