How to foster data analytics skills in your organization
Being data driven means promoting fact-based decision making, driving user adoption of an analytics solution, and ensuring staff can gain insights from data. While this may look like a big managerial responsibility, it does not need to be a resource intensive task. During disruptions like Covid-19, data literacy pays off and enables confident whole-of-business responses, and helps people understand the big picture.
IT managers and CIOs tell us time and time again that they spend more time on reporting requests than they can afford. While they truly want to meet demands from middle and senior management, reporting requests can become tedious and time-consuming due to a communication gap or the sheer volume of requests. This leaves IT management pressed for time. Alongside the additional pressure to complete other tasks and projects, like setting people up to work from home.
As many IT managers and CIOs have discovered, data analytical tools are no longer too expensive to fit into an increasingly lean budget. While this is certainly the first step, the key to getting the most out of self-service solutions is promoting analytical and data competency across your organization. Below we outline three key strategies you should know before implementing a data analytics solution.
Bring data to end-users
If you are thinking of implementing a data analytics solution, bringing data to end users may seem obvious. Not only can employees resolve their own reporting requests and save time, bringing data to end users allows for data discovery, resulting in actionable insights as well as promoting a data-driven company culture. However, all BI software is not created equal. While most vendors will tell you they are user-friendly, you want to be sure the solution you end up choosing is created with all types of users and job junctions in mind.
Use vocabulary and phrases that everyone understands when educating others about the BI software is a good start. This helps the tool seem intuitive to the people that will be using it, encourages user adoption, and decreases time-consuming miscommunications.
Promote evidence-based decision making
Research shows companies that value evidence-based decision making outperform their competition in terms of growth, by a factor of three or more. As an IT manager or CIO, you likely already understand the value of data to business decision making perfectly well. By highlighting the importance of evidence-based decision making and some of the wins from it, you can inspire others to get onboard.
It does not need to be more complicated than asking sales reps how they have identified opportunities, or warehouse employees on what measures they have taken to ensure they avoid dead stock. Soon everyone will understand the value added by IT through the opportunity for evidence-based decision making with BI, they can be valuable team players in the promotion of your BI tool.
Data analytics training
Even with the simplest tools, there is some need for training. When training others in the business to use the new BI tool, be sure you include the strategies above in your approach. The reason training deserves a separate paragraph as a key strategy, however, is that training needs vary. It varies depending on the employee and the difficulty of the software.
BI software like Phocas generally requires very little training before users are up and running . This decreases pressure on IT and also saves time for users. In addition, Phocas provides an online library of Phocas Academy videos. Academy videos are online training videos that quickly and easily show users how to perform everything from simple to more complex tasks. When employees know they can access this kind of support at any time, the requests for help from IT will decrease dramatically. In addition to the academy, you can also join the PUG Forum which is an online data community, set-up for users to share tips and ask questions about the software.
In this way, it is easy for IT managers and CIOs to both create value for the business and decrease pressure on themselves and their teams.
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