How Intelligent Portals help you serve the diverse needs of the XYZ workforce

How Intelligent Portals help you serve the diverse needs of the XYZ workforce

In today’s data and KPI-driven business culture, XYZers expect software to ‘just work’. Each passing generation becomes increasingly intolerant of any friction or complexity that stands in the way of delivery.

Depending on where you are in the world, millennials either dominate, or are about to dominate the workplace. They are bookended by the Gen Xers, who now command most of the top leadership positions, with Gen Zers occupying entry-level and junior roles. This collective group is becoming known, unsurprisingly, as the XYZ workforce.

XYZers’ experiences and expectations have been shaped in varying degrees by consumer apps and software. Gen Xers, though the oldest group, are arguably the most technically agile. Many have navigated sweeping changes in business software – from the early days of MS Office 1.0 and Lotus 1-2-3 through to today’s modern, consumerized business apps like Slack and Zoom. Gen Zers, for whom DOS prompts and keyboard commands are the stuff of science museums, are the most demanding. This group is raising the bar high on user experience (UX), speed and self-service.

Above all, in today’s data and KPI-driven business culture, XYZers expect software to ‘just work’. Each passing generation becomes increasingly intolerant of any friction or complexity that stands in the way of delivery. They definitely don’t want to have to rely on IT or data experts to use business software for planning, reporting, making decisions, or solving problems.

This issue is so important that we are seeing more and more prospective enterprise customers explicitly stating in their briefs that software must meet UX requirements that new generations of workers demand. There are business-critical reasons throughout the employee lifecycle to justify making XYZ satisfaction a priority, borne out by research.

 

Attracting star employees 

Let’s start at the beginning with the recruitment. Research from CompTIA revealed that two-thirds of millennials and Gen Zers responded that technology was a key factor in the employment decision. Since younger workers felt the most strongly about this, these figures have likely increased since this survey was carried out in 2018. 

 

And keeping them 

Fast forward to 2021, and we see an even greater urgency for organizations to listen to and meet the needs of their young ‘rising star’ employees in rapidly changing and ‘hybrid’ workplace environments. In July, Achievers and Censuswide found that 78 percent of Gen Z employees who didn’t feel heard or valued in the workplace were in the process of applying, or intending to apply, for new jobs.

When staff members cite not having the right tech tools to do their jobs, it could signpost a wider problem. In another global study run by Unisys, “The New Digital Workplace Divide” more than half of the respondents from “technology laggard” organizations reported being frustrated with their employers. Compare this to a mere 6 percent of workers from companies classed as “technology leaders” cited this same discontentment. 

Gone unchecked, this will inevitably contribute to that high defection rate mentioned earlier. In a survey by G2, 24 percent of employees have considered quitting over bad software. The ones that do quit are likely to be among the most ambitious workers who fear they aren’t set up to succeed.

 

The new hybrid workplace 

If all this hasn’t given IT enough to deal with, another spanner has recently been thrown into the works: the new ‘hybrid’ workplace that’s been accelerated by the pandemic. Following years of varying degrees of lockdown, many people – especially older employees – plan to continue working from home. A growing number of untethered Millennials have opted to become ‘digital nomads’ living and working in exotic far-flung locations from Chiang Mai to Tbilisi. Younger generations are the most eager to return to the office to improve their professional development and escape their oppressive and disruptive flat-sharing environments. This means that business software must be easy-to-use (without IT support) and provide a relatively consistent experience whether accessed from home, work, or an island coffee shack.

 

Intelligent portals: a pragmatic solution 

So far my argument has focused a lot on YZ-ers. However, we mustn’t overlook the Gen-Xers – after all they’re the ones in charge! The CompTIA research stated: “Younger employees are more focused on the faster implementation of new technologies while older employees would prefer the focus to be on making existing technology more user-friendly and reliable.”

On the one hand that’s good news. It suggests that the BI software you invested so much in back in 2003, for example, might – if upgraded – at least be able to satisfy your top managers, if not your younger employees. But what if the upgrades aren’t good enough? And how do you satisfy all generations?

The reality is that most enterprises have made significant investments in software for things like analytics and BI, ERP, financial reporting and collaboration, and aren’t in a position to write it all off and start fresh. Even if they did, there are few, if any, ‘one size-fits-all’ systems that meet the needs of every use case and worker. 

The good news is that you don’t have to write off and replace your data and information systems. A new class of software – ‘Enterprise Portals’ – is coming onto the market to let you repackage your existing tools and drive more value from them than ever before. These sit on top of and provide a consistent interface to multiple existing business applications. They unlock access to reports from legacy tools and also enable the use of new, fast and frequently changing digital technologies. 

As a case in point, one of our customers uses our intelligent portal as a single route into five different analytics and BI systems (ABI) and all the content previously accessed via seven different intranets. Five thousand people across 20 countries access reports, dashboards and self-service analytics for financial reporting, operational reporting, executive dashboards, and quick ad hoc data queries. 

By removing complexity at the point of use, intelligent portals promote greater collaboration and flexibility – what we call ‘digital dexterity’ – across the modern workplace. They also promote data literacy by allowing people to mix and match curated content from different systems into ‘stories’. 

So if you are committed to meeting the needs of the XYZ workforce without compromising, an intelligent portal could be just the ticket.

Kevin Hurd, Founder and CEO, Digital Hive

Digital Hive Puts a Consumer Face on Enterprise Analytics and BI

Digital Hive Puts a Consumer Face on Enterprise Analytics and BI

New Digital Hive release presents content in ‘swimlanes’, offers ‘previews’ and now connects to Looker, Microsoft OneDrive, SAP Analytics Cloud, Splunk, and TIBCO Spotfire

12 May 2021 – Today Digital Hive launches the first intelligent enterprise portal that makes finding, accessing, and sharing enterprise analytics & BI (ABI) output and other company information as easy as using Netflix or Spotify. Built for today’s multi-generational, hybrid IT and digitally transforming enterprises, this release of Digital Hive presents company data and content in consumer app-inspired ‘swimlanes’, and displays content previews. It also includes new connectors to Looker, Microsoft OneDrive, SAP Analytics Cloud, Splunk, and TIBCO Spotfire.

A spaghetti junction of enterprise software 

Despite vendors’ efforts to convince enterprises to standardise on single applications and platforms, this rarely happens due to M&A consolidation, changing IT leadership, generational preferences, and different use case requirements. Most companies run an average of 3.8 ABI tools, according to Gartner. They also run multiple content management systems, intranets and file storage systems like Google Drive, SharePoint, and Box. 

Business users relying on these systems need to know which to look in and then track down the best report, dashboard, or file in time to do essential things like resolve customer issues, negotiate contracts, and prepare for board meetings. As Digital Hive’s CEO Kevin Hurd explains:

“Business people increasingly expect to adopt and use analytics software and other information systems the same way as they do with consumer apps – instantly, and with little or no training or need for IT intervention. That also means that businesses need to think more like Netflix and Spotify, understanding preferences, pushing out relevant content, and encouraging users to share and collaborate with peers.”

 

Simple, modern, and personal UX to boost adoption 

Digital Hive offers enterprises a pragmatic way to retain their investments in all their business systems while helping users get the most out of them. This latest release goes well beyond shielding users from the underlying complexity; it gives complex and legacy business information systems a consumer ‘makeover’ to an experience that’s simple, modern, and dynamic. By offering a personal experience, Digital Hive gives users access to the information they need to be successful in their jobs without having to rely on help from IT and data experts. This satisfying, personalized experience drives engagement for tools like Microsoft Power BI, ThoughtSpot, Tableau, Qlik, IBM Cognos and in turn, boosts adoption levels.

swimlane view of reports from multiple BI systems

New capabilities in this release of Digital Hive include:

  • Netflix-like ‘swimlanes’ – after each user inputs their initial preferences, Digital Hive organizes content into multiple swimlanes.
  • Dashboard / Report / content previews including ‘thumbnails’
  • New connectors – Looker, Microsoft OneDrive, SAP Analytics Cloud, Splunk, and TIBCO Spotfire

Additional Resources

  • Read highlights from the Gartner Cool Vendor 2020 Report – Analytics and Data Science here
  • Book a 30-minute Digital Hive demo here
  • Register for upcoming virtual Digital Hive events or watch on-demand here

About Digital Hive

Digital Hive is an international software company that provides an intelligent enterprise portal to content from analytics and BI tools, content management systems, and file systems – on-premise and in the cloud. By providing a single, shared organizational view, federated search across tools, and custom branding, Digital Hive helps drive systems adoption, improve data literacy, and deliver data stories for better decision making and business performance. A 2020 Gartner ‘Cool Vendor,’ Digital Hive customers like Clarity, DFS, Highmark, Pomona College, and University of Denver.

Poor Change Management is Killing Analytics Value

Poor Change Management is Killing Analytics Value

Unless it pertains to politics or parking meters, people dislike change. Why? Change involves work, learning new skills, and the possibility of failure. This makes people uncomfortable and resistant. Maintaining the status quo is simply easier. When we look at why BI & Analytics initiatives fail, the reasons are not usually technical problems, but people problems related to change management and communication. Yet, in contrast to the average stakeholder, individuals who lead change are enthusiastic advocates and willing to put in the extra effort.

Why is this?

Champions of change understand the “Why, What, and How” of the change that is taking place.

Most stakeholders do not understand the “Why, What, and How” This is where D&A strategies are failing. If you map these 3 critical pieces of information to hot trends in Data & Analytics it is very clear. Industry challenges include:

  • Understanding the potential value of data – Rise of CDO (Data Culture)
  • Developing the skills to use data – less than 24%  (Data Literacy)
  • Using BI to make decisions – less than 35% (BI Adoption)
  • Producing a positive business outcome – less than 20% (Value)

Why, What, and How…

The “Why” must be the basis for change, and if it does not bring significant value to stakeholders, the initiative is doomed from the start.

All three of these factors are important, but the first is the most critical. To determine value, there must be strong communication between the analytics team implementing technology and the stakeholders who will use it. This is when we need to determine:

  • What are the business goals or outcomes?
  • What decisions will be made to reach these outcomes?
  • What information is needed to make decisions and act?

This channel of communication between “Analytics” and “The Business” has been historically very weak. One reason that “change management” and “communication” are the most poorly executed components of an Enterprise Data Strategy, is because Data & Analytics initiatives are championed by technologists. While data scientists might be some of the smartest in the room, technology is their passion, not people. So, technology is what they focus on and the people side of analytics gets neglected. This has led to the rise ofAnalytics Translators and other intermediaries.

The titles for this role are wide-ranging and have little consistency, but the need for an individual to lead the change management aspect of D&A initiatives is apparent. Call this person an “Analytics Translator”, a “Data Champion”, a consultant…whatever gets the job done effectively.

The Solution

This is the hard part. Every company has unique needs, strengths, and weaknesses. There are a number of things to consider when improving the change management aspect of your Enterprise Data Strategy or Digital Transformation effort in addition to a focus on the above:

  1. Do you have a clear leader and advocate for D&A on the executive team? Hiring a CDO is now a must.
  2. How does your analytics team work together and communicate with the rest of the business? Does your company have a dedicated analytics team or a (CoE) Center of Excellence? Should your company have a centralized or decentralized analytics team?
  3. Do you have dedicated individuals responsible for developing Data Culture, Data Literacy, and driving adoption? This is a full-time job. Hire for it.
  4. Is there a focus on business outcomes first and technology second?

We believe establishing an Enterprise Analytics Hub helps solve many of the challenges related to Data & Analytics change management. By centralizing all BI content in a single location and user-experience, you establish a foundation from which to build a data culture, communicate with end-users and receive feedback on business needs. You can also launch embedded data literacy campaigns and increase BI adoption by providing a single point of entry, and insulate end-users from the disruption that comes with the introduction of new tools and sunsetting of legacy systems.