Why Your BI Adoption Rates Are So Low

By Rick Grantham | SAP

Nov 10

I hear this from almost every new SAP HCM customer that I talk to. They have spent a time and money, and yet don’t understand why adoption rates are so low for their HCM Reporting solution. In truth, this problem is not unique to HCM. The answer as to why your SAP HCM Business Intelligence adoption rates are so low typically can be categorized into two areas:


  • Your reporting and analytic tools are outpacing your architecture (less common)
  • Your architecture is outpacing your analytic tools (more common)


These two categories are referred to as “The Gulf” by The Data Warehousing Institute (tdwi). The Gulf is where many departmental BI initiatives end, because Power-Users do not fully utilize the HR Reporting environment.


Let’s review the most common reason for this failure – Your architecture has outpaced your analytic tools.


Your Architecture-


In this scenario, you have initiated the BW modules for HCM. Let’s refer to each of these modules in BW as data marts. These data marts are tied together as a departmental Data Warehouse. It is departmental, because it may not include all your Sales data, or Finance data. This is specific to HR, which is common for early BI architectures – the BI initiative is funded at a departmental level before it evolves into an enterprise-level Data Warehouse. So you have this great architecture for your department that you have poured money into – why isn’t anyone using it?


Your Analytic Tools-


The truth is, analysts are using your architecture – for data dumps. You have to understand the psychology of a Power-User. Most of them have spent years building desktop databases and complex spreadsheets with calculations and macros that only a few understand. This is their domain. Their desktop database or spreadsheet is their toy. They are not going to give it up easily. You are a threat. If all you are doing is providing a robust BW environment, then the Power-User will pour your data into their desktop database/spreadsheets and continue to build their own reports as they always have.


How to Fix –


To break this cycle, I recommend “Shock and Awe”. Provide an Analytic toolset to your Power-User that is at least 50% better than their desktop database experience. At least 50% “better” means flexibility, scalability or “ease of use” that they don’t have today, such as:


  • More timely data
  • Drag and drop
  • Scheduling of reports
  • Intuitive graphing and filtering


In the BusinessObjects landscape, there are several tools that provide “Shock and Awe” for Power-Users if you are experiencing issues with adoption rates:


  • BusinessObjects Explorer – the ultimate tool for exploring large amounts of data when you DON’T know what you are looking for – hence, you are exploring
  • WebIntelligence (WebI) – An adhoc report development tool that will allow your Power-Users to drag and drop data elements onto a report. This is a great toll when you DO know what you’re looking for.
  • Advanced Analysis for Office – This is a MS Office Add-in that will allow your Power-Users to create ad-hoc reports in excel the same way that they do pivot tables today — except it is sourced from your BW environment.


Remember that your Power-Users feed data to your executives. Dashboard Designer (Xcelsius) and Crystal Reports are great tools that definitely have their place in the BI landscape, but these tools are best used after you have already won over the Power-Users. Nothing improves BI adoption more easily than having a team of Power-Users that are consuming your product, not competing with it. EPI-USE is experienced in developing Business Intelligence strategies and roadmaps for organizations of all sizes. See our Reporting product offering here.

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