The market for Business Intelligence (BI) tools in 2015 was $15 billion – $20 billion and has grown 8-10  percent annually over the past ten years. But reports on the efficacy of BI rollouts paint a bleak picture:

  • Only 22 percent of an organization’s workforce actively uses their BI solutions, a number that has been flat over the same period
  • 51 percent of companies cite making data-driven decisions as a significant challenge
  • 48 percent of companies find data-driven decision-making challenging, even when sophisticated analytics exist.

Do any of these hit close to home?

In the world of multi unit retail, you likely have a large, mobile field who relies on daily reports from your corporate or regional offices. You may have a team of BI analysts who act as stewards for this data, preparing Excel reports or maintaining data feeds. As you evaluate new tools (and re-evaluate old tools) to help you deal with the analysis and distribution of your operational data, there are a few questions you should ask yourself.

Who are your users?

When you hire into your field organization, you select people who have a demonstrated or potential ability to be great managers—that is very different from hiring business intelligence analysts. We’ve found district managers value the relationships they form with the store managers above all else, and their biggest challenge isn’t finding or analyzing the relevant data—it’s making best use of the little time they get with store managers.

Well-meaning business owners who deploy BI tools to their field may risk complicating their jobs, requiring a skillset district managers simply don’t have, or taking away from the part of the job they really love—working with people.

What do your users need to do?

A district manager working in multi unit retail has two main use-cases for data:

  1. Where do I spend my time today?
  2. I need to prepare for a store visit.

The first use case speaks to a specific group of metrics that may help a district manager understand his or her stores quickly and discover what needs attention most. The second use case is more interesting. One of the biggest challenges for your field is simply finding time with the store manager during a visit, which makes preparing for a store visit crucial. If your new workflows and tools don’t specifically support the district managers’ store prep activities, you’ll struggle with adoption. Adoption of BI tools is stagnant because most users simply do not need the sophisticated capabilities that these tools offer.

What is my biggest pain point?

Do you have a problem building new reports? Does your organization have business problems your current reporting solutions don’t already address? Is your organization already fantastic at driving action on corporate initiatives? If this describes you and your organization, it’s likely that one of the next-generation BI tools is what you need.

Over and over, we hear the same thing: We know what to measure, we know when it’s broken. We just have no way of making sure that someone does something. The business problems that district managers face day-to-day are well understood, these organizations all struggle with the next step. Once you understand what’s wrong, and you understand how to fix it, large organizations struggle with getting someone to take action, and then to follow-up and decide if that action was appropriate. None of these problems are solved by BI tools.

Your Users Have a Different Set of Problems

The BI landscape is exciting, and new vendors are changing the relationship between an organization and its data. The problem is those tools aren’t designed to enable your field organization to manage your company’s relationship with its stores.

This is why we built CoEFFICIENT®, a Store Relationship Management platform. By treating the district manager as the end user, and focusing on their problems and motivations, CoEFFICIENT enables your field organization to be successful at their jobs.

Our focus is on the timely delivery of actionable information, not ad hoc report creation and data discovery. Your business problems aren’t solved by yet another dashboard or Excel report, they are solved by people.

Interested in seeing how CoEFFICIENT helps users act on data? Request a demo today.

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