The Analyst’s Guide to Effortless Workflow Tracking
“Hermes delivered my wedding dress earlier this year and left it in my garden waste wheelie bin. Luckily, not on bin collection day.”
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Dodgy deliveries are not what you want. And yes, this is a true story. Needless to say, Amanda won’t be using Hermes again anytime soon.
Whether it’s a once-in-a-lifetime wedding dress being composted in the bin, or a BI request from a business user that never made it through the forest of emails, bad delivery loses customers. Bad delivery to BI users is the same as putting their trust in your team, data and BI tool straight in the compost bin.
Bin their requests and they’ll ditch BI
You’re getting lost in a sea of requests. You are struggling to figure out which tasks are open, the source of the request and its status. And nobody appreciates how long it takes to do a ‘quick’ task for them. So, they don’t all get answered. Some just fall through the gaps. Others you get around to too late so you waste time on something no longer useful or end up ditching it. It an analyst’s BI workflow nightmare.
When users’ requests for reports and dashboards aren’t answered, they return to their spreadsheets. It’s easier and faster to create it themselves. They’ll use their own data sources and cut out the middle man – you. And when the missing data they flagged up isn’t fixed, they turn to other data sources, or worse, go back to relying on their own gut feel. They blame you for bad data. They blame you for not delivering what was promised. They tell everyone the BI solution is useless. Nobody adopts. And you’re stuck right where you started – nobody uses BI properly and your business descends into spreadsheet mayhem or using multiple, ungoverned desktop versions of the same data. The vicious circle perpetuates.
With BI, the name of the game is user adoption. You can invest in sophisticated data visualisation tools and pour energy into Business Intelligence, but if the business users can’t get through to analysts and IT, you have no feedback loop. No feedback means that data goes unchecked and errors go unchanged. Users see the data as useless or even bad. They lose trust and stop using it.
So what’s the solution? Fast, accurate and considerate delivery. Don’t chuck the task request in the compost bin or business users will soon stop asking (and no, that’s not actually a good thing). But getting through all those requests is easier said than done, right?
One, embedded workflow system
Yes, a central system for requests will help you out – just one channel. But that doesn’t solve everything.
You want a proper workflow system. So, what if task requests were embedded in your BI solution? What if the task could be assigned from anywhere within the BI tool so that data errors can be flagged right where they’re spotted? You then instantly know the source. With Yellowfin, that’s exactly how Tasks work.
Any user can assign a task to any other user. The requestor can attach annotated screenshots of the data or report, add links and documents and freely write instructions. The person to whom the task is assigned will then get notified within Yellowfin and receive an email.
As you work on the task, you can flag the task as ‘in progress’ or ‘resolved’. You are able to strike up a discussion on the Task card too. No more email chains! This helps you keep track of which tasks are open and what stage they are at, keeping everyone in the loop. It’s also easy to flag a task to register urgency or a problem.
Want to know the date and time the request came in? All tasks and comments are time stamped. There’s the option to set a due date too so you can gauge the urgency of each task that comes your way. If you think somebody else should be included in this task, you can share it with any other user.
The workflow system
So now you can see all the tasks and know their statuses etc. But that doesn’t solve a workflow issue completely. That’s why Yellowfin has a Kanban-style discussion boards called Streams. Now you can visualise and order your workflow exactly how you like.
Fellow users can also subscribe to your Stream so you can work together and see the progress of each task or project.
With these features (and a few more) baked into the BI solution, everything is contained – the source is clear and you can track progress and status. An in-built workflow system for tracking your tasks is not only valuable to each analyst but also gives you the opportunity to truly collaborate with business users. And collaboration brings about a better understanding of what exactly is needed so you can deliver truly useful content and fixes.
With your task workflow sorted and no more compost deliveries, the adoption of your BI will continue to rise as more and more people gain trust in your data and see how valuable it is.