Making Smarter BI User Adoption KPIs

There has been a lot said lately across industry research  blogs, and the twitter-verse about the future shape and direction of BI   Almost two years ago, now, I suggested at the Mastering SAP Business Analytics conference in Melbourne that fundamentally, the way we measure BI user adoption is not so simple as calling tool usage a good measure. In this post, I want to talk through opportunities, specifically as it pertains to the SAP BusinessObjects customer, to get smarter on crafting a BI user adoption story specific to your organization’s definition of BI user adoption, not someone else’s.

First question: what is BI user adoption? Ok that is pretty much the only question.  But the important point here is in how you ask the question of HOW you are measuring BI user adoption, and I believe that varies from organization to organization.  I like to think of a few different ways to imply BI user adoption:

  • What percentage of my user population has ever logged in and used the BI tool we’ve invested in and further?
  • What is the frequency of use of those users logging in actively, as well as passively, to the BI tool?
  • How many user are creating content vs. refreshing and viewing existing content?
  • How many users create content and as a part of their workflow, distribute that content to another user for consumption?
  • How many users consume content created in by your BI tool that aren’t even consuming it through said BI tool?

These first few BI user adoption bullets take a swag at identification by measures that are capable of being produced by things like Auditor from SAP as a part of your SAP BusinessObjects in concert with Sherlock®  our BI on BI solution.  But what if we swing this the other way, away from the tool itself, and more towards the content and the value of that BI?  Your organization invests in a database, data models, ETL to populate them, operational systems, and BI to make sense of it all.  How do you measure the ROI on that BI?  Tougher one, perhaps!  Let’s think through it.

  • What percentage of the content created in your BI tool never gets used vs. the content that clearly drives the business (high utilization)?
  • What percentage of the Universes created in SAP BusinessObjects never gets used vs. that which also, clearly drives the business?
  • What percentage of the databases, tables, and columns utilized in the Universes created in SAP BusinessObjects yadda yadda yadda (you see where I am going)?
  • What correlation exists between two pieces of BI content when it’s being used?

Not one of these measures on their own is right for your organization.  But use them together and weight them, and you have a powerful story to both measure adoption of your investment in a BI tool as well as in the content that your organization has built to date within it.

I’ve written a few too many fluffy blog posts that are light on technical and heavy on the theory.  Let’s break that pattern next, shall we?  I want to dissect a few of these with your freely available Auditor database, included in SAP BusinessObjects, over the next few weeks.  I want to include working examples, queries, and hopefully even a few reports for you to use and pick apart as you learn the value of this data.

What you should do about it in the meantime

For the love of all things, if Auditor is not turned on, do so. Excuses that it uses up too much space are dead to me. SAP built in a mechanism to automatically roll off this data into BI4. If it’s important enough to you to keep it longer term, look for ways to aggregate it and store it outside of the Auditor database.

Next, download our free Auditor universe from us. Sure, SAP has one on the SCN   I like ours better.   Then, start playing with these types of analysis.  Get to the bottom of who your users are, how they use the BI tool you invested in, and understand whether they love or hate the BI that is being created for them.  Lastly, I’d challenge you to prove me wrong on my above assertions 🙂

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