Microlearning Video: One Quick Question | Moving From Basic Reporting to Business Intelligence? | Calabrio

One Quick Question

How to Move From Basic Contact Center Reporting to True Business Intelligence

Every other Thursday someone from the Innovation Design team helps make analytics and data consumable for all. With the help of Calabrio in-house experts, each video answers a question related to big data, analytics, and business intelligence.

This week we ask Business Intelligence consultant Mary Moilanen, What steps can someone take to move their organization’s basic reporting to true business intelligence.

Read the Transcript: 

The Setup

Hey Paul-  I’ve been struggling with how to advance our reporting and business intelligence. I love the work, but I’ve been producing the same basic reports for our managers for over a year. I feel like there is so much more we could be doing with our data. What’s should I be working on? What steps should I be taking to bring our BI to the next level? 

One Quick (unrelated) Question
Just to woman I was looking to talk to. I have one quick question but first, as an aside, I walk by your desk all the time … Could you explain a little bit about your dog?

Yeah. That’s my dog Finster. I’m guessing you’re asking because of his crooked nose and funny looking face. It’s just a birth defect that makes his snout go to one side and I think it gives him the cutest, derpiest grin I’ve ever seen.

One Quick Question
My serious question I want to ask: I’m trying to get to the core of how an organization moves beyond basic reporting to true business intelligence.

I really love this question because I work with a lot of businesses who feel like they can get stuck in the basic reporting part of things. They just keep creating the same reports they’ve been creating over and over, and maybe don’t even know why they’re creating them other than we’ve always done it.

How Contact Centers Move From Basic Reporting to Business Intelligence

1. Data Dump

I like to talk about it as an analytics journey of going from reporting to business intelligence. Businesses start out by just getting data – period. One might just get an extract of data from whatever system it is and generally just a plain old spreadsheet and not a lot of manipulation just raw data. That’s kind of where you start.

2. Organized & Aggregated

Then you start to think about how can people really use this data in a way that helps us understand our business and make decisions. Then you start thinking about maybe you could start to aggregate this in some ways that are meaningful. Instead of just rows of sales numbers you aggregate them by a team or salesperson or something else that is going to be meaningful to help you make decisions. The problem with that approach is usually you’re going to have different groups that have different priorities. So that status report will need several different aggregations within it, and it can start to get kind of cumbersome to produce that.

Like the 20-tab Excel spreadsheet with pivot tables.

Exactly what I’m talking about. If you get something really fancy … maybe it’s just one giant pivot table and you select what you want but it takes two minutes to calculate … nobody likes that.

3. Dressing it Up

So the next step then is continuing to think about how can we make this data more beneficial to our business – how to make this easier to use. You start thinking about putting in some visualizations. Putting in a graph or putting in some kind of chart to help people instead of having to compare that list of numbers month-over-month so they can easily pick out what happening. Or you can look at a couple numbers on the same graph and see how these things work together – I didn’t notice that before when it was two separate columns. However, this is still in that static spreadsheet environment.
So as the person who does the reports how do u get to know enough about the people consuming the report to really alter – from even phase one of them I’m making the thing because someone asked me – to that multi-dimensional cumbersome report. How do you get enough insight to do that?

It all boils down to, and you might have heard me say this before, thinking like your user; and you might have multiple users have to think like several of them.

  • What is their role in the company what are their business objectives?
  • What do they care about?

So, for instance, someone is managing a sales team is probably going to have different goals than someone who’s managing a product line. You’re not going to create the same kind of you of that data for one kind of user as the other person so it’s truly incumbent on you, as a person who is responsible for producing these reports, to step into their shoes think about what is it that they need. A lot of times I find that users don’t even a truly realize what they need. They just know they need some data and put in a spreadsheet and they’ll figure it out from there; but if you can really step in their shoes and figure out their business challenges you can really help push your reporting into the next phase.

4. Clamoring for More

Once you get to that point, when you’ve started to figure out what people need, you have some visualization, you’ve figured out ways to aggregate things that are useful, and hopefully now have users clamoring for more. So instead of having to analyze these lists every month, they realize they can actually get value from this data “like that”. They are no longer just pouring over numbers and they can look at a graph and quickly see what’s happening.

5. Democratizing Data<h/3>
Now they want it more often. Instead of looking at every month – where it took them a week to figure out what it was saying – now they can look at it and figure out in an hour or figure it out right away. They want the data more often because they’re not spending as much time pouring through it. Now they’ve seen all the cool different cuts of data that you’ve done they want to be able to do that dynamically by themselves to say I want to look at this group and this date range but now I want to look at this other grouping for last month or something like that.

So, as you move to that phases, do you have to spread your knowledge and how you visualize to other teams and across the organization? If you let go of the reins, is there a worry they’d use the wrong graph or do you not really worried about the kind of stuff?

That really depends on how you approach it. There’s been a trend in last several years, which is often referred to as democratization of data, and this refers to a lot of new business intelligence and reporting software that’s become available to the market. It used to be you needed programming experience or you needed some sort of data scientist background to be able to put together a lot of advanced charts and reports in. There are now so many systems that make it so easy just to click and drag-and-drop what you’re trying to create. They even give you guidance on what kind of report should I select or what graph is best for this sort of data. It’s actually become really easy for you to make good decisions about.

At this point, people often invest in one of these BI tools so it will give users an opportunity to dive in to ask questions that they didn’t have before. You didn’t have a standard report for this question before because he didn’t know he had that question but now there’s a self-serve option that they can go pull up the data but they need. You can get also get real-time data available for your organization so you can see what’s happening right now. Really giving people a lot more options, a lot more flexibility, and ways to getting at data.

6. More Sources & Moving Forward

Which then leads the next phase of things, once you start having all those opinions to get that data, maybe you start to get curious what else can you tell me? You could pull in data from another source. You want to look at your sales; did it compare to something in your customer management system? Trying to look for connections that you might not even realize we’re there before. A BI software can enable you to do that easily even if you don’t have an IT degree. Start thinking about instead of what happened, or what is happening, what is going to happen. Now that you have all this data that you can access, that you know how to do things with, start thinking about how you can apply analytics to the data to see what might happen in the future for your business so you can really start to respond proactively instead of reactively to your data. A lot of software can help you do that kind of analysis. That’s where a lot of businesses are heading right now as software and just general knowledge disseminates and people are more able to do that.

What it really all boils down to is to move things from basic reporting to business intelligence you just have to keep asking yourself: How can I make this data work better and harder for my organization? How can I present this differently analyze this differently to help make better business decisions and better understand my business?

Great, somehow that actually seemed pretty easy.

Yeah, it’s not so hard once you think about it.

Thanks Mary.

Recap: Moving From Basic Reporting to Business Intelligence
The real key is empathy. You need to understand your users – What challenges are they facing? How are they using the data? How should they be using data? And what data can help them make better decisions? Using this guiding principle, you move the work from just collecting data, to organizing it, to visualizing it, to evangelizing it, to democratizing it, and finally predicting with it. Hope that helps!

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