Lack of Self-Service BI Traps Users Like ‘Groundhog Day’

Groundhog Day dawns every day for end users stuck with old reporting solutions that lack self-service business intelligence and visualizations.Dawn rose today on February 3rd as the radio played through an app on my smartphone, only this morning the DJ decided to play Sonny and Cher’s “I Got You Babe” just like in the movie Groundhog Day. In the movie Bill Murray’s character never made it to Feb. 3, remaining stuck on Groundhog Day as he started the day over and over again hearing that hit song. He hears it each morning at first with shock and confusion, then anger and eventually acceptance.

Did you wake up this morning afraid that it was just going to be a repeat of yesterday, with you trapped like Bill Murray only working in the same drudgery of your business application’s reporting tool creating a personal Groundhog Day? For many organizations who hire millennials or bring on new employees, legacy reporting solutions take those employees through the same cycle.

What is this?

Do you expect me to use this thing?

Only a few of us can really get at the data we want so we can do whatever we want. (Ultimately the people who know bad systems have power. But they don’t help the organization with that power, they help themselves.)

All of these are common reactions as users ultimately embrace the failed BI and reporting processes provided by the software they use every day. Bill Murray’s character eventually realized that although living the same day over and over allows you to improve at whatever you focus on, it never really allows you to move forward in life.

So is your application’s lack of self-service trapping users in BI and Reporting Groundhog Day?

Here are some symptoms to look out for:

End users can only interact with static views or limited filtering – The BI lacks real-time interactivity and the data is often stale. The user cannot drill down or through reports to explore data they need to make informed decisions. Every morning starts with the need to make requests to other people to get the information needed.

Lack of visualizations – Users are forced to sift through dashboard or report information without the benefit of visualizations. To the user, it’s like returning to the time of Sonny and Cher’s popularity. Picture going through reams of green and white striped paper trying to develop insights about the large data set. Visualizations help users see trends in ways that were impossible in the past.

Desktop based report designers for programmers and power users – End-users cannot create the reports they need inside of the web-based applications they use every day. Skype and other productivity tools help us avoid the days of yesteryear when we needed to make a trip down the hall or dial on a rotary phone to call for tech help. But the need to make repeated requests to IT for new reports and data as users go through each iteration of the analysis keeps users stuck in their own Groundhog Day.

Database terms and technical jargon – If users have to switch between database terms or other technical language and their day to day business terms, they are trapped in a Groundhog Day cycle of confusion, anger and acquiescence – but never fulfillment.  Too often BI and reporting solutions don’t support the ability to alias and categorize data in business friendly terms, so business users focus energy on mastering concepts that don’t lead to better business outcomes.

Export to XLS, mash-up and massage – If business users have to take separate reports drawing from multiple sources every morning and export them out of the application into Excel to act on their analysis, that’s a problem. As outlined in Excel Spreadsheets and the Proliferation of Bad Math, working in spreadsheets is rife with problems. Taking users out of your application and not allowing them to work with multiple database sources reduces satisfaction with your application and, ultimately, customer loyalty.

While winning Annie McDowell’s heart may not be the way out of this Groundhog Day an embedded BI solution designed to meet the needs of end users and the developers who write business applications is a way out of a reporting Groundhog Day.

Izenda’s platform provides ad hoc reporting and self-service BI. To understand how you can free users from reporting Groundhog Day, check out this product overview video or request a free trial.  We promise not to follow up like Ned Ryerson.

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