Business intelligence is amazing. With the right tools in place, businesses can measure employee performance, identify trends, and craft better, smarter strategies for the future. The data gleaned from business intelligence can be invaluable and transform how decisions are made in the workplace.
But if business intelligence is so valuable, why has its adoption rate barely increased since 2005? Is there some unseen problem with the data that business intelligence brings in?
The problem doesn’t lie with business intelligence itself, but rather with how it’s presented to employees. Too often, the valuable data it yields just sits there unparsed and passive while people go about their daily business, ignoring potentially valuable data for more pressing concerns. People just aren’t engaged in what the data has to offer.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. Company leaders should take the initiative to actively engage their employees when it comes to business intelligence so they can make the most out of the collected data.
Cut Through the Mound of Data
The information your company gets from data collection is great, but not all of it is relevant to every one of your employees. Trying to parse through a pile of irrelevant data can overwhelm users and discourage them from even making the attempt.
Leaders need to take an active role in delivering relevant data to each department rather than handing employees everything and asking them to figure it out. Big data should work for your employees, not create more work for them.
The sales team, for instance, should be alerted to any critical changes in the pipeline so it can make proper adjustments in its quarterly strategy. All departments should have hidden outliers, such as flagging products or anomalous behavior, at the top of the data pile so they can act on them without having to search for them.
Be Active, not Passive
One of the major problems when it comes to increasing engagement with business intelligence is that its present-day benefit isn’t always clear. It’s great for measuring past performance and identifying future trends, but for employees who are focused on the day-to-day, these aren’t usually top priorities.
As a result, employees are less inclined to check out reports and analytics dashboards on their own time, choosing to focus on more pressing matters instead. That’s why it’s important to implement active alerts for these employees so they can be notified when the data reveals unusual events or relevant statistics.
By directly sending employees digests of results instead of waiting for them to seek out the information, you can increase engagement and showcase the value business intelligence brings to the table in one fell swoop.
Keep It Collaborative
Another issue with creating engagement with big data is that context is often lost in the numbers. If people aren’t discussing what they see, there’s a good chance they don’t have a full understanding of the data in front of them.
Discussions between employees and departments at the data-point level should be encouraged so that when alerts are sent out, users can add context that can help explain the “why” behind the “what” of big data.
Engagement is a two-way street. If employees are supposed to be looking at business intelligence data on a regular basis, then leaders need to do the same.
Company leadership should ask questions and spark discussions around the latest data, encouraging a results-centric dialogue among departments. Business intelligence should become an active part of the culture instead of just a set of numbers on the sidelines.
Use Affinity and Social Proof
Oftentimes, employees simply don’t know what metrics they should be following or which ones impact them. An affinity database — or a record of users’ preferences collected by watching their social behaviors — can be used to engage them in metrics and discussions, which encourages involvement.
The affinity database is based on the notion that you can predict customer behavior by past actions, such as purchases. So look at what other similar users are interested in or what their peer groups are interested in, and make recommendations to users on which metrics are important in their world now. This will help teams laser-focus on specific metrics and increase their engagement.
Business intelligence can yield incredibly valuable information, but if not handled properly, it can also be incredibly overwhelming to many employees. By taking the right steps to engage your employees, your business can harness the full power of big data and create a more productive working environment.
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