In the last decade, self-service BI platforms revolutionized the digital analytics industry and empowered various user personas across the organizational hierarchy. Enterprises invested a significant percentage of their IT dollars in setting up Data Lakes/Smart Data Hubs on the cloud to enable self-service insights generation via platforms like Tableau, PowerBI, and QLIK. These platforms played an instrumental role in spreading Data Literacy across the organization by focusing on the following areas:
- Enabled the BI and Analytics team to define a standard data model to meet a larger workforce’s insights needs.
- Brought standardization in metric definitions and empowered business users to slice and dice their metrics by different dimensions to get a better context.
- The business users finally had a medium that can stitch up a compelling story by leveraging different types of charts and making the consumption faster.
- The technical partnership with Natural Language Generation platforms (Arria, Narrative Sciences, and Wordsmith) made the data storytelling process more exciting by bringing elements of relevancy, contextualization, and humanized insights.
- The training and certification programs from enterprise BI vendors further accelerated the data literacy process and created many Power Users in the industry.
- Finally, the solution partners brought significant value to enterprises by bundling their insights generation services and solutions on top of the Enterprise BI platforms.
Currently, the key challenges facing Enterprise BI Platforms are to:
(a) Evolve their value proposition through continuous innovation, partnerships, and acquisitions.
(b) Protect their market share from the rapid growth in the augmented analytics category. Players like Thoughtspot, Answer Rocket, Outlier, Course5 Discovery, and Sisense are challenging the incumbent self-service BI platforms by focusing on three major areas, i.e., Speed to Actionable Insights, Shorter Action TAT, and Humanized Insights available through multi-modal consumption mediums.
(c) Maintain a higher adoption rate by being more relevant, contextual, and actionable for business users across the organization hierarchy.
We have gradually entered an analytics era where the adoption is a function of Speed, Quality, Relevancy, Actionability, and Humanized Insights. No single medium of consumption would be able to satisfy the growing insights hunger of the workforce. It would be a game of multi-modal insights consumption, and the core of that would be the understanding of various personas in the client’s organization.
Below mentioned are some of the exciting lessons learned while deploying our augmented analytics solution, Course5 Discovery for the large CPG, FMCG, eCommerce, and Technology, clients:
- Dashboards are an excellent medium to demonstrate a business’s health and express facts with interactive widgets and filters, but they are not a one place shop to meet every need of business users.
- The Dashboards usually have a shelf-life of 90 days because they are often not built, keeping adoption and stickiness in mind. The very essence of Relevancy, Context, Actionability, and Humanized elements is often missing in most functional and corporate dashboards.
- Not every user persona in the client’s organization embraces the idea of a Dashboard. Your Power Users and Operational Managers love playing with Excel due to the kind of flexibility, control, and feature set it brings to the table. On the other hand, your senior executives love consuming curated insights via Mobile App, Alerts, Presentations, and Emails. The sweet spot for most of the self-service BI platforms is the mid-management layer which delivers scale.
- To drive higher adoption of the Dashboards, internal data analysts have to invest in Data Storytelling based on Personas and bundle the Dashboard with alternative mediums of insights consumption such as Email, WhatsApp, Executive Presentations and Insights Newsletters. For example, if you have built an operations dashboard for the Warehousing department, it should be accompanied by timely alerts (point and contextual anomalies) to the analysts and operation managers via WhatsApp and Email Notifications. Apart from that, the diagnostic and predictive insights around critical warehousing KPIs should be communicated in a weekly newsletter or executive presentations.
- If you want to bring diagnostic and prescriptive insights into the dashboard, leverage the power of Natural Language Generation, and explain the actionable elements in simple English.
- To answer the ad-hoc questions from the business users in mid-management, senior management, and C-level executives, empower them with Chat and Voice tools.
- Empower the Power Users and Operation Managers with easy access to the Data Hubs, Tabular Data Model, and Simulators to generate their own custom insights prior to going for the weekly, monthly, and quarterly review meetings.
- Weekly and Monthly Insights Newsletters are a powerful medium for sharing the diagnostic, predictive, and prescriptive insights, and it’s a wonderful way to build credibility.
To sum up, no single medium of insights consumption is self-sufficient to meet the needs of the various user personas in the organization. Organizations need to embrace the idea of multi-modal insights consumption and bring the power of Augmented Analytics into their ecosystem to complement their Self-Service BI platforms.