The Reporting Tool Is Too Complicated

In the previous chapter, we talked about how data inaccessibility can cause many problems in your company’s operations.

Companies must invest a great deal of time and money training end users on complex BI tools. Unfortunately, that training is often wasted, as it’s far too complex for most users to apply. These tools can have hundreds of features (if not thousands), and even if the user interface appears to be simple, the data structures are complex.

When an end-user has a blank canvas set before them, it can be overwhelming. They know what they need to look for, but they don’t know how to find it. If they can’t figure out where to begin to locate the information they need, and if they do not know where to turn for answers, it can lead to paralysis. That overwhelming feeling almost always results in the user giving up, or marching right back to the IT team to get their reports.

Even the most non-technical of users can usually make sense of a BI tool’s search function. That’s a great start, but once they run a search and the data appears, what’s next? Users must be able to turn that data into something meaningful that they can use. If they cannot easily run calculations, conduct trend analysis, export the information, or even so much as email the information to themselves or a colleague, it is of little use to them.

In order to get the most from a BI investment, the tool must meet the needs of the average user. Many decision makers consult with power-users when choosing a BI tool. Those power users make up such a small subset of the workforce that the tool ends up alienating the 90 percent of workers it was supposed to help.

When choosing a BI solution, reporting should be accessible and user-friendly to those who will actually be utilizing it.

In the last chapter, let’s talk about why relying too much on Microsoft Excel spreadsheets is bad for your business.

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