10 Steps to SAP BusinessObjects BI4 – Get The Business Buy-In

Get the Business Buy-In

In our previous installment of this series, we talked about the impacts to IT stakeholders and giving them the warm and fuzzy in moving to SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4 (BI4).  This next piece is far less technical and nature and drills into the most important stakeholders of all…the business users (gasp). If you are a business-type that actually stuck with me after the first post, welcome back!

Upgrades of this magnitude come with lots of different types of cost that go well beyond technology spend or human capital costs.  Yes, I mean the cost of user perception.  Nobody wants to hand users an “upgrade” that turns out to be a flaming pile.  So knowing that the quality of the software product is completely out of your hands as you implement it, let’s talk about a few things to keep user confidence up while you make your way through your BI4 migration.

Communication

Communicate but don’t over-communicate is the main theme here.  There are a few levels of communication that come with varying level of risk and importance.  Starting with the key business stakeholders, those that sign the checks, it is important to articulate the business value gained by making the migration.  What stands out in BI4 for your business?  That is for you to interpret and convey.  Is it the multi-source universe allowing your IT guys to put together reports spanning many different enterprise data sources quickly?  Is it better SAP ERP or BW integration?  Or even better, is it hooks into your brand new SAP HANA real-time reporting goodness? Make your case and be your best champion to those business stakeholders.  If you didn’t catch it, my pal Greg Myers gave a great BetterBOBJ Webinar on the Politics of Upgrades. It’s worth a listen.

Communication with the community at large is a different ballgame.  How do you get the message out, show progress over a long duration, and prepare them for the big move?  A solid message up front to warn the user community about the upcoming migration at the start is a great first step.  Don’t expect to go through the project with an introductory email and then follow it with a weekend announcement that BI4 is going live without taking some flak. Send a regular newsletter on progress, any actions required on migration (new URLs, deprecated content like Desktop Intelligence, changes to OpenDoc URLs, etc., that may impact users on go live).

Even better, if your organization is centrally located, pull them together for a user group with presentations and demonstrations. But don’t let geography get in the way. Take advantage of tools like Webex or GoToMeeting and hold optional web conferences to communicate with your business users.

Train Them While You’ve Got Them

In an effective communication plan, part of that messaging should be one to convey the types of training you are going to make available for the move to BI4 (see related article, Training Your Users for SAP BusinessObjects BI4). You are going to train your users, right?  This certainly doesn’t need to be an instructor-led class for users. Create some collateral that introduces them to the new features of Web Intelligence or SAP Dashboards. Get someone in your training department on the hook to learn Adobe Captivate and use some short, function specific how-to videos on using BI4. Drop all of this stuff on a central portal such as SharePoint or your organization’s BI site and keep the communication channel open.  It will be naive to assume that you can make the move to BI4 without getting the masses ready.

What do users need to be trained on?  That is a fantastic question.  Every organization is going to have their own standards for training.  At this stage, think about the users being migrated before you tackle brand new end users. Both are going to matter in the long run, but take on the masses that have to shift from their older SAP BusinessObjects environments. Concepts that really require re-education include contrasting the BI Launch Pad in BI4 to InfoView from previous releases, getting users accustomed to the new ribbon interface in Web Intelligence, and like the poor kid running behind the bus to catch up, the Desktop Intelligence Compatibility Pack usage if you are going to let Desktop Intelligence stick around a while longer. Yes, all custom education is going to get revamped afterwards. But at least you can get clear of the migration before tackling this.

Facing an Uphill Battle?

If you are a part of a competency center and are taking broad swipes at how your environment is being used, you can’t do it alone. The patient is open for this upgrade. As a business owner here, encourage IT to analyze and understand key user behaviors. Then make them help you understand key user behaviors.

Get engaged with the power user community. These users, love it or hate it, can help you champion your upgrade more effectively. Instilling a sense of inclusion in this upgrade will bolster their perceptions and message to the rest of the business. Using EV Technologies Sherlock is a simple means to pinpoint and engage these users by easily identifying heavy users and those that construct and redistribute content to others.

While you are at it, exploit Sherlock data a bit further. Some clever (and simple) analysis can help you and your IT pals break down who uses what, when, how often, and its overall pervasiveness. Look at the frequency of use of a universe at an object level.  Find duplicate or near-duplicate reports that overlap with certainty.  These findings create opportunities to improve user experience post-migration and avoid migration of irrelevant stuff.

Moving On

Up next, my friend and fellow SAP Mentor Ethan Jewett will write about #8 on the list (see related article, My 10 Steps to get to BI4 – Getting BW ready for BI4).  Stay tuned for the latest in mid-February for the next thrilling installment.