Make Analytics Easy to Use for Best Results

By July 27, 2017Analytics
Ease of use: Empower end users by making analytics easy to use

BI tools like Sisense and Tableau get noted by industry analysts for their power, which begs the question: If only a business analyst can use an application, are you getting value for your investment? How important is ease of use for analytics to your customers?

Would you add a $150,000 application to your organization’s budget, with regular M&O costs, when you knew only a couple of employees would ever use it? Could you guarantee meaningful ROI if this restricts its use to business analysts?

User adoption goes hand in hand with ease of use. No one wants to struggle to use something they need every day. For example, I use Canva even though I have the powerful Adobe Photoshop. Why? Have you tried to manipulate an image with Photoshop? It will do everything you can of think of and things you can’t even dream of. But it takes a highly trained professional to use Photoshop to produce creative works. What I need is a simple to use tool for one or two images a week, so Canva fits my needs. It the features: layer, filter, contrast, and more, all with a simple drag-and drop UI.

Adoption Increases When Self-Service Analytics Addresses Roles

This matches the dream of self-service analytics. Give end users a tool they can use with little training necessary. But make sure it includes everything their role requires. Izenda’s embedded analytics platform enables administrators to tailor the analytics experience for basic and advanced users’ roles and abilities. Mike Ferguson of Intelligent Business Strategies said you can increase user adoption by avoiding overloading users with complexity. And each user gets access only to the data that’s appropriate for their role. This simplifies choices on what data sets are meaningful to their job and department

As a user’s abilities increase, the administrator can increase the functionality and features for that new power user.
Years of working in the Internet age has all of us expecting drag and drop simplicity in our UIs. The Google and Apple interfaces make sense and get compliments for ease of use. Analytics vendors need to emulate these concepts.

74% of top embedded analytics users saw an improvement in the speed of decision-making. (Source: Insight at your Point-of-Decision: Embedded BI Takes Center Stage, Aberdeen Group, December 2016)

Ease of use needs to include empowering end users with the ability to create their own reports, dashboards and data visualizations. These tools should integrate as part of the application’s – and end user’s – workflow. That requires report and dashboard designers to embed in the application as part of the whole. The workflow gets disrupted by separate applications accessed through an iframe. An embedded solution enables end users to address ad hoc questions that come from drilling down and through the data as they create new reports and dashboards. There’s no need to leave the workflow or make a request for IT that might take hours, days or even weeks to fulfill.

Embedded analytics leaders are 96% more likely to be satisfied with the relevance of their analytical capabilities. (Source: The Rise of Embedded BI: Engaging Analytics Under the Hood, Aberdeen Group, November 2016)

This experience works when analytics platforms empower software companies to tailor experiences for users in different roles across the business operations by embedding analytics in-context within specific process tasks. This enables LOB users to make decisions at the point of impact in real time.

Best practices include an intuitive drag and drop report design interface that lets users create their own ad hoc reports, but doesn’t require SQL knowledge.  They should be given a semantic layer that displays fields in business-friendly terms.

Simplify Administrative Control for Non-Technical Users

End users may enjoy the ease of use in an analytics solution. But a clunky administrative UI that requires IT staff to use is another stumbling block. These difficulties may turn the analytics solution into shelfware.

BI and analytics analyst and consultant Martin Butler said organizations can execute all administrative functions for Izenda’s analytics platform through an easy to use interface. System administrators manage analytics, tenants and users in a code-free environment. The functionality of this administrative UI addresses data set up, license management, data preparation in the form of connections to a database, calculated fields, and aliases to give attributes user-friendly names; access to tables, views and stored procedures, relationship definitions – and more controls.

Izenda allows you to configure roles, users and tenants. This includes defining what features, functionalities and rights these will have. More technical users can gain administrative abilities as can custom-design the layout for end users based on what you want them to have. Administrators can enable a “simple mode” with the click of a button in the UI. This click minimizes the data source selection process by only exposing pre-joined data for specific users. Nearly everything in Izenda can be turned off or hidden, a task handled simply through the UI.

But this ease of use gets lost in the workload if the system administrator needs to create each tenant with their user roles and permissions from a blank slate. A copy management feature that’s part of Izenda’s embedded analytics platform allows administrators to replicate tenant and user roles and permissions to use as a template to set up new tenants. Customization adds the personalization to match each tenant and user’s needs and business.

The administrative UI also lets administrators track usage to identify and push out the most utilized reports and dashboards across the organization to each tenant. Likewise, they can examine the least used reports to figure out what about them doesn’t work for their customers to make necessary revisions. And software organizations can grant tenants self-administration rights.

You can embed Izenda’s self-service analytics platform into your application in as little as 30 to 60 days. To move even faster, fully rebrand and deploy Izenda as a self-service analytics portal in a week.

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