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David vs. Goliath - 3 lessons from SMEs about cloud and mobile BI

David vs. Goliath - 3 lessons from SMEs about cloud and mobile BI

Cloud BI and mobile BI is getting a lot of attention these days and, as we've found out, that interest is coming from all sorts of businesses. Traditionally, Klipfolio has dealt with the Fortune 1000. Since the release of Klipfolio Dashboard for web and mobile in September 2011, however, we've started working with more and more small-medium enterprises (SMEs). This has a lot to do with the fact that our cloud-based solution is simple to deploy and designed to let people create and manage key performance indicators (KPIs) without the help of an IT department.

Just like David versus Goliath, SMEs think big and always seem keen to adopt new technology to solve a problem. Where David used a sling to his advantage to defeat a much larger foe, SMEs are doing the same by leveraging the latest in BI applications. But David's victory over Goliath wasn't just about new technology - it was about the attitude that led to adoption. I bet Goliath didn't know what hit him, but I also bet that the Philistines wasted no time figuring that out. The moral of the story is simple: don't wait for a knock on the head to adopt new technology.

Through our experience working with the Davids of the business world, we've been impressed by their eager adoption of cloud and mobile BI. Here are 3 lessons that we think any business can use when implementing a new BI or dashboard solution:

3. No IT department? No problem!

Many SMEs don't have an IT department, but this hasn't stopped them from creating their own dashboard(s). By jumping into the application head-first, SMEs are able to effectively leverage their business expertise to create and distribute meaningful dashboards.

The lesson:

IT's role is shifting and, with regards to BI, it doesn't make sense to have IT create dashboards. They are technology experts, but you are a business expert. Don't think of it as eliminating IT's role in a BI implementation, instead think of it as optimizing their role.

2. KPIs for everyone

KPIs can be used to monitor every aspect of a business, not just departmental or project-specific performance. This type of culture encourages sharing key metrics with the relevant people and that your BI solutions impacts all areas of your business.

The lesson:

Expand deployments beyond a single department, and build a performance-oriented culture. Role-dependent KPIs can be used to improve performance at every level of your organization.

1. Unavoidable KPIs

KPIs can be displayed on any device, and our SME customers take full-advantage of it by using a range of devices to display their dashboards, from wall-mounted televisions and projectors to smartphones and tablets.

The lesson:

Buy your television screen a seat in your BI application, then sit back and watch how often people stop to look at your KPIs on their way to the water-cooler. You might be surprised at how quickly it will become a habit for your colleagues to check out the latest numbers.

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