Three Recommendations to Improve the User Adoption of Your Analytics Solution

AvatarFebruary 24, 2020

At MicroStrategy World 2020, I had the opportunity to make a case for organizations to renew their focus on the pursuit of user adoption – the holy grail of analytics.

According to Gartner’s 2019 Analytics and BI Magic Quadrant customer reference survey, the average modern analytics adoption rate is 35%. Is the adoption rate low from the outset or does it trail off after an initial interest? Why is sustaining user adoption in analytic solutions so difficult? Moreover, what can we do about it, especially during an era when new technologies emerge daily?

Based on my firm’s 15-year and global experience in the Data & Analytics space, and insights from our Modern Analytics Center of Excellence, we suggest the following three practices for improving the adoption of analytics in your organization.

1.  Find out what’s not working and why?

Seek honest feedback from various stakeholders and find out what’s working and what’s not. InfoCepts conducted a global survey amongst our associates and found that adoption challenges boil down to capabilities, culture, experience, and execution issues.

  • Do your users have necessary capabilities?
  • Can the users understand your data?
  • Are you connecting insights with business impact?
  • Are you engaging users early and often?

Every project is different, but you need to empower users, provide organizational support, stop leading with technology, and never short change the design process.

2.  Invest in the journey, not in the event

Unless your solution is generating one-time insights, you must adopt what I call the “4As of Analytics” – guiding principles to stay modern.

  • 1. Authoritative – Your analytic solution must be trustworthy
  • 2. Accessible – Your analytic solution must support users with varying analytic intentions
  • 3. Agile – Your analytic solution must demonstrate results incrementally
  • 4. Advance – Your analytic solution must evolve continuously

It comes down to giving users reliable and timely data, understanding and addressing needs of different users, moving away from waterfall BI execution to agile BI, and embracing a culture of experimentation to introduce newer technologies in partnership with business. Easier said than done!

3.  Bring insights to users, not users to insights

BI solutions have evolved from reporting to visualization. These techniques give users access to information. More often than not, developers left the responsibility of understanding insights with the end users. Going forward we must flip the paradigm. We need to mine the insights and make them available to users when and where they need them. Likewise, we need to go beyond numbers by narrating the stories behind those numbers. Organizations should explore technologies such as HyperIntelligence and techniques such as Data Storytelling!

Achieving high user adoption is difficult, but not impossible. It invariably requires the CIO, CDO, Business Heads, and CEO of an organization to work in concert!