September 28 & 29, 2020 | Virtual
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Hi Krista, I wonder if you could explain "reporting solution" any further. Do you mean you want to roll out a new BI software platform (like Tableau or Microsoft PowerBI for example); or do you mean you want to roll out a new suite of reports ready-built or to be built for your business? I would expect the approach to be very different for each of those cases. In the former case I guess you'll want to focus on training key users and showcasing new capabilities. In the latter case you will likely have to pay much more attention to detailed requirements, reconciliation, business process changes and user-acceptance testing.
Having been involved in racing of one kind or another for a few decades, my first question would be what type of reporting (scope). Who is the customer, and how do they need to use the data?
Timing and scoring of events such as you might get with deployment of a system like Race Monitor live timing is very different than the preparation that goes into event planning. With event planning itself, regardless of whether your WBS is phase oriented, or product oriented, reporting based on vehicle performance can be completely separate from business management metrics like staffing levels, and financial data. How teams use live data feeds during long events to manage their race operations is yet another.
Different types of reporting have different time scales and different customers using the data for different needs. With any of those however, part of a roll-out strategy would include what the customer needs first, and what can we live without while working out the bugs.
The reporting solution referred to is rolling out a new BI software platform, including key reports within that platform that will span several business teams. Although we have much of the process identified on how to get these reports defined, delivered, users trained, etc., I was wondering if there were some ideas to make it fun for the users to actually want to use the system. Ideally, the reports themselves should drive the want to use the new system however, initial adoption can sometimes lend towards hesitancy and we are hoping to minimize that stage.
I agree with David. you better provide more details.
Reporting on the state of the business is pretty much universally thought as dull and tedious, but there are some ways you can make it more fun for early career employees.
Exploring the features and having people provide demos to teach teammates what they learned can gamify the work. I once complained to my manager that people were spending too much time showing off flashy features and not enough on the underlying content, and received wise advice. If playing with the features is keeping people motivated to work long hours, then it's not time wasted, but rather improving morale. Eventually you need to standardize and simplify to enable efficient reporting, but when forming and storming, it's OK to have some fun with it.
Have the newer employees focus more on analysis rather than raw status. This does require a lot of time from the more senior employees to mentor on the meaning of information, like is some issue identified significant or business as usual. It does promote a lot of learning on how the business actually works. That not only increases their knowledge, but if you give them the opportunity to show off what they learned it also makes it more fun and promotes their career growth by giving them visibility.
Sounds like a change management opportunity. Anytime there is a significant change in the way an organization does business, there are several things that should be taken into consideration. We introduced a "new" SAP ERP system over 10 years ago, and it is just now that we are starting to exploit the BI/ reporting aspects of the tool. To enter the data as required for project reporting, users must learn how to use and navigate another "new" module. Of course, there was and still is a lot of confusion, resistance, and resentment because of the method by which it was implemented. If it is just "dropped" into peoples lap and then they are "told" to use it - Look out! Things like this need to be carefully thought out, but typically organizations "rush" to implement some new tool without no or little consideration the impact will have on their employees.
I'll also mention that the actual reports do not necessary convey the "right" information. This goes back to my reply to the thread on KPIs. What is it that senior management wants in these reports, and do they even know what makes sense or is actually useful. Probably not so much as Keith has eluded to. At the end of the day, much reporting should be focused on just simply what was planned, what was/is the actual, and the delta with an accompanying storyline. Having said that, our senior management is most interested in the "trend" from one reporting period to another, so over a period of time, you have a better "picture" of what is going on vs a bunch of data/ tables. This makes absolute sense.
* Taking the users along the journey - from requirements discussion through to reports development, make the key users in each area a part of the team, and through them you drive adoption.
* Making the new reports fun - the Wow factor, bring in the visuals that make anyone want to look at them
* BI Champions - Identifying the key users within each business function as you progress, making them a part of the team, training them along the way and empowering them to be true self-serve BI personnel will go a long way in adoption and sustainability
It's a great ride, being a PM on such a project, so enjoy!
What might be the reasons users could state if they hesitate to accept this new solution? Resistance always provides data that can inform an adoption strategy. Another angle might be to fully understand what problem the solution will solve for them. If you know that the platform solves one of their problems (or makes their life easier), but they either do not understand that that is the case (or worse, disagree with the conclusion), things could get hairy.
What else is changing? Is it just a new reporting tool with the same people creating the same reports that they have been creating using existing tools and data?
You've got two different areas of adoption to address - the report creators and the report consumers. Both groups are influenced by WIIFM. Report creators usually want:
- a robust tool
- an easier/faster way to create complex reports and appealing visuals
- to spend less time creating reports
...whereas report consumers can be harder to nail down. Are they looking for specific data points, information that tells a meaningful story, eye-catching visuals...? This could vary by report and by consumer.
You (someone?) will need to manage the expectations of both groups. If the new solution is harder to use or has fewer features, expect resistance from the creators. If your consumers are expecting a new tool, are they expecting the same experience (why are you changing my reports; they're finally set up the way I want them?), or a new experience (why spend so much money to get the same results?)?
You can expect resistance whether the change is status quo - new tool, same reports - or a brave new world, and your strategies will vary with each. It's easy to say "training," which is important, but lack of training is not always the cause of resistance. Look into ADKAR and the Kubler-Ross change curve.
The structure of your solution will determine some of the steps you can take. If you've created a central data repository for all reporting, you may be able to lock down access to other data sources (for reporting purposes) and only accept published Power BI reports. If you're relying on a data lake for reporting, you can't lock down access to other data sources, but you can still only accept published Power BI reports. Don't go overboard with incentives or gamification.
The best short advice I can give is 1) understand the needs of those affected by the change, 2) engage leaders and managers to communicate the importance and benefit of the change, and 3) understand and speak to WIIFM.
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