According to a recent Computerworld article by Sandra Gittlen, complex BI and analytics tools are headed the way of the big box store – out of the picture. Today’s BI vendors are embracing the midmarket and SMB markets because accessibility is the market demand.
Self-Service Impacting BI Adoption
As Forrester advanced analytics analyst, James Kobielus (@JamesKobielus) says in the article, “The industry evolution toward self-service BI and SaaS BI is having a big impact on adoption in companies of all sizes.”
Additionally, he says these cloud-based platforms offer companies huge advantages in lean times – from pay-as-you-go models, a broader user base, less IT involvement and lower capital costs.
While these advantages signify a move to smaller accounts, BI still demands training and a focus of resources for success. And rightly so, with 40% of companies interviewed for a recent Forrester study reporting BI upgrades, expansions or new implementations in the next year.
Data Analysts Join IT to Support BI Users
Gittlen reports that companies are staffing up in IT and data analyst talent. And in the smaller companies, the data analysts may sit on the IT staff as support to other areas of the company “to make sure the system is capable of delivering key performance indicators and handling user queries.”
In addition, many smaller companies depend on outside consultants for development, but they are judicious in their training spend. Smaller companies differ widely in how they train users, but the need is definitely realized.
Kobielus says users “tend to enjoy the fact that they can quickly customize their reports, graphs and dashboards to meet their specific needs.” However, this growth in usage is backed by training.
Training Needs Vary by Company
Tony Murabito, CIO at Cubist Pharmaceuticals, told Glitten that his company spent into the six figures on the front end to train its regional business directors. During the launch of the firm’s BI solution, Cubist created a number of self-help guides and continue to update them. “The trade-off for this upfront expense is self-sufficiency for users and lower [longer-term] support costs.” Murabito says.
Other company execs interviewed in the Computerworld piece take a more departmental or as-needed approach to training. One identifies “super users” in each department to handle simple questions instead of relying on IT. The result is faster answers and more buy-in. Another sends users to vendor training courses on an as-needed basis.
Gittlen’s article wraps up with the look to the cloud for better BI solutions to meet smaller company needs. The bottom line is that every company has different needs and the training requirements are unique to each company.
Next steps: Watch the Spotfire blog later this week for a Q & A on BI in the cloud with Shawn Rogers (@shawnrog), Vice President Research for Business Intelligence at Enterprise Management Associates. And don’t forget to view the On-Demand Webcast “Cloud Analytics and the Consumer” featuring Rogers recorded on Tuesday, August 2, at 1 p.m. Eastern.