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Dashboards = No Training Required = The Future of BI

no bi training.pngTimo Elliott posted a blog a couple of days ago where he explains why he feels investing more in end-user training for BI tools is a good, low-hanging investment.

It is not often I disagree with Timo, but in this instance I do. I have an increasingly strong conviction that the only BI which will ever truly succeed with business end-users is BI which needs no training at all.

Over the years I have heard the same issue with BI training many times over. It goes something like this:

“I went on some training a while ago; it was a two day course for our new BI tool. The trouble was, when I got back to the office after the two days out, I was snowed under and when I eventually got round to using the BI tool I had forgotten what I had learned on the training and so I have not used the tool since”

This is usually followed by:

“What I do use though, is the content that other people have produced with the tool”

And therein lies the key. Business end-users use content which has been produced by others; content which is simple enough to use without any training. Getting people to use anything else it a bit like pushing an elephant up the stairs.

Timo himself mentioned a great example of this a couple of years ago when he tweeted from a seminar where he was watching one of SAP’s customers present. He wrote:

Simon Griffiths, BBC: dashboards “dramatically reduced training needs – because there is no training!”

The more I think about this, the more I believe that interactive dashboards delivered on mobile devices (particularly tablets) are the future of end-user BI. These interactive dashboards will transform the way we use information by dramatically increasing the use of BI in our organizations  (today, the biggest issue with BI around the world is lack of user adoption).

This is because interactive dashboards typically have an easy-to-use interface, which is focused on a specific task, connected to data and providing the level of interactivity users need. This makes interactive dashboards as easy and productive to use as the mobile apps that we all use intuitively, every day. In my opinion this is the future of end-user BI and it requires no training.

In the SAP BusinessObjects (aka Xcelsius) world, with XWIS Advantage, we try to practice what we preach, by enabling you to create these connected, interactive dashboards more quickly, more easily and at lower cost. To find out more, watch me build an interactive dashboard in this short video.

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