As more and more companies build self-service analytics, ensuring a user experience focused on ease of use and creative imagination will set successful companies ahead of the industry.
‘Data democratisation’ is rapidly on the rise, with new data lakes and visualisation technology proliferating across industries. It aims to increase the value that can be extracted from data, by putting it in the hands of greater numbers of employees in a ‘self-serve’ fashion, thus removing IT as the ‘middle person’. By automating the delivery of reports and dashboards, business subject matter experts now have greater opportunities to translate that data into meaningful business insights, from low level analysts to directors.
Like any technology investment, it is made worthwhile when it is used to its full potential.
At times, there can be an assumption that simply giving users access to the tools will engage them. This poses a risk that users take what they are given, unaware that there is more to discover, or how the technology can bolster their performance and that of the organisation.
Usage rates on ‘self-serve’ environments show that often user uptake doesn’t justify the significant investment made in creating those environments.
So, is self-serve another wonderful marketing tactic by technology vendors that returns little value? Not necessarily. But there are certain ways to set organisations up for success.
The increasing impact that Human Centred Design (HCD) has had on all areas of business, from service design, to application design, is starting to reach analytics. By leveraging the HCD approach to engage various types of business users, true needs and opportunities to delight them in terms of delivery, aesthetic and story are revealed. This sets the organisation up for better usage engagement, and therefore better business insight and productivity from the investment. Ultimately HCD delivers faster ‘time to value’.
Time to value accelerates as users actually begin to use the data investment from day one, motivated that it will deliver to their needs, and confident in the platform’s potential. This value increases through time as confident users begin to understand the limits of possibility beyond what an initial dashboard or report could offer. Users begin to create and cross-pollenate their information, driving higher levels of use and value to the organisation.
The combination of HCD and self-serve analytics will create experiences that actually enable businesses to derive peak value from their investment. An HCD approach to analytics will also teach business users new perspectives on creativity that will help business reimagine the ways they work and further differentiate their products and services in the market.
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