If you think about the number of decisions employees make on a day-to-day basis, the sheer volume of decisions being made every day is likely higher than you realize. An article on TechRadar describes this as the “long tail” concept. Where your senior managers may make fewer but larger, strategic decisions leaves a lot of “gray room”. Thus, employees are often faced with smaller but nonetheless critical decisions. Shouldn’t data be accessible to them to make the right decision?
For example, if the overall strategic goal is to reduce inventory, then lower level management needs information such as; current forecast levels, sales cycles, lead times and more. The greater access that a manager has in order to answer his/her question the more likely they will make an informed and intelligence decision.
Access to timely information is just important to these individuals in making the smartest decisions as it is to your senior executive team when making strategic business decisions. Though the type of decisions may differ, the need for reliable, current information remains the same. Business intelligence software mines and presents this information in a meaningful manner such as via graphical, interactive dashboards, data visualizations, ad hoc reports, and gauges.
Challenges of Greater Access to Business Intelligence
While it makes sense to provide employees with access to business insights, enterprise-wide BI has its challenges. Some of the challenges include:
- Security– You don’t want employees to have unlimited access to sensitive information. This challenge is typically solved by setting up user roles and permissions. Thus, a human resources clerk may be able to view aggregate employee data but not personally identifiable information.
- Too much information– Another challenge involves providing so much information that it overwhelms users. Each user’s dashboard can be set up to display only the most relevant key performance indicators. For example, a warehouse employee may have KPIs related to inventory levels and upcoming shipments while a facilities maintenance employee may have KPIs related to equipment and facilities.
- Reporting– Employees need an easy way to generate relevant reports — without having to call IT in to do it. Look for a Business Intelligence solution with user-friendly ad hoc reporting tools such as drag-and-drop report builders.
- Mobile access– As you extend business intelligence to a larger group of decision makers, you’ll also need to consider that many of these decision makers rarely sit behind a desk. Mobile business intelligence tools allow employees to get the BI insights that they need to make daily decisions directly on their tablets and Putting business intelligence insights into the hands of all of your organization’s decision makers can help to ensure smarter decisions based on current data and forecasts.