The rapid growth of analytics assets, driven by self-service BI and analytics, has led to information spread across various tools – making it challenging to find accurate and reliable insights. The lack of a unified approach to governing the analytics pipeline and analytics consumption has resulted in information redundancy and a fragmented user experience.

ZenOptics unifies your business intelligence and analytics assets into a centralized Analytics Hub. Our platform, supported by a comprehensive BI portal and analytics catalog, empowers your organization to make data-driven decisions and leverage the full potential of your analytics and your people.

With so much information to process, insights to evaluate, and perspectives to factor in, how does a business make sense of everything? What drives successful decision-making? And how do you make sure that your organization harnesses the most of today’s technologies to positively impact your business goals? Get your copy of the white paper to discover the power of informed decision-making.

In today’s information age, enterprises increasingly aspire to become data-driven. An astounding 83% of CEOs, according to an IDC study, strive for their organizations to become more data-informed. Yet, the path to achieving this goal is fraught with challenges. On average, large organizations face the complexity of managing 4-7 distinct BI & Analytics platforms, 129 business applications, several legacy tools, and widespread reliance on spreadsheets.1

The Challenges with Current Analytics Environments

Saurbh Khera, CEO of ZenOptics Inc., recently spoke with industry expert and author of Delivering Data Analytics, Nick Kelly during a webinar about the top three challenges organizations encounter within the current analytics environment:

Productivity Loss

A significant issue plaguing organizations is productivity loss due to hunting for reports and information needed to do their job. Saurbh highlighted that analysts spend approximately 1.8 hours daily merely searching for data. This inefficiency translates into an annual loss of about $25 million.2

Duplication of Content

Duplication of content represents another formidable challenge. A report or analysis generated within an organization may not be easily discoverable or known to exist. When information can’t be found, users or developers will create a new one, which leads to duplicate reports and dashboards. The result is wasted time and redundancy, which can lead to significant annual losses, Saurbh noted.

Non-compliance

Saurbh also called out the operational risk of regulation non-compliance when information is not easily discoverable, with the potential for fines if information is missing or incorrect. Non-compliance with regulatory requirements can damage an organization’s reputation and credibility apart from the monetary loss.

Barriers to the Ideal Data-Driven Enterprise

Nick elaborated on the roadblocks that hinder the transformation into an ideal data-driven enterprise. These obstacles include poor adoption of analytics tools, perceived lack of business value from these tools, difficulties in locating and managing analytic assets, inadequate understanding of user information needs, and inconsistent standards throughout the organization.

Real-World Approach to Overcoming Analytics Adoption Challenges

An effective approach to overcoming analytics adoption challenges involves technology, user experience, and change management. Saurbh underscored that “Providing lots of BI and analytics tools is not a strategy. It’s about using those technologies effectively and making people aware of what is available. So, the disconnect between the strategic goal of using analytics and how people are trying to do so is the most critical part.” Nick and Saurbh discussed activities that are effective to improve analytics adoption:

ZenOptics and the Path to Greater Adoption of Analytics

ZenOptics provides a software platform that addresses the challenges of analytics adoption by emphasizing the power of simplicity. By unifying cross-platform analytics assets in a single user interface, ZenOptics’ analytics catalog simplifies the discovery and use of trusted analytics assets, unlocking the value of your investments and your people.

ZenOptics simplifies discovery and governance across your entire BI analytics ecosystem. It empowers teams to compose and collaborate around their analytics workflows, enabling you to assess and optimize the impact of analytics as usage scales. This is crucial in designing a beneficial experience that drives adoption and data culture.

Reflecting on the capabilities of ZenOptics and the insights from the webinar, several vital takeaways emerge for enterprises aiming to improve their analytics adoption:

1. Create an analytics environment that is easily accessible: Providing one-stop access to all analytics resources can significantly decrease the time spent on data search, thereby enhancing productivity. The unified interface of ZenOptics exemplifies this approach.

2. Foster and facilitate analytics governance: Mitigate chaos and establish trust by instituting a system that ensures analytics integrity and compliance. The governance capabilities of ZenOptics play a pivotal role in accomplishing this.

3. Encourage collaboration and knowledge sharing: A collaborative environment fosters knowledge sharing, leading to improved business productivity, reduced duplication, and a more engaged workforce. The combined features of ZenOptics embody this principle, enabling teams to work more effectively in unison.

These key takeaways offer viable steps for organizations to address their analytics adoption challenges, demonstrating how solutions like ZenOptics can be crucial to their journey. To foster a data-driven culture, concentrate on your goals, implement effective strategies, and leverage powerful tools like ZenOptics. Contact us for a tailored demonstration of how ZenOptics can accelerate your organization’s analytics adoption.

References:

1. https://www.wsj.com/articles/employees-are-accessing-more-and-more-business-apps-study-finds-11549580017

2. https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/jobs/employees-spend-more-than-25-of-their-time-searching-for-the-information-they-need-to-do-their-jobs-citrix/articleshow/69839496.cms

Data-driven leadership remains an aspirational goal for most organizations with only 26.5% of organizations succeeding in doing so. While organizations adopt innovative data-centric technologies to improve their business, the lack of data-driven behaviors and beliefs still limits data usage. According to an IDC report, data culture drives enterprise intelligence. Technology is not what hinders the success of organizations; it is data usage.

This could be because there are many BI tools and technologies in use across various departments, making it difficult for enterprise users to find and access the right data. “Users seek data without realizing what already exists — reaching out to six different people, searching through three to four BI tools, exchanging 12 or more messages, and spending approximately 12 hours finding the right reports,” as Heena Sood, ZenOptics Co-founder and CTO, discussed in a webinar. This kind of siloed data can lead to productivity losses of $25 million per year, $5 million per year in content duplication, and as much as $14.2 million per year in non-compliance costs.

“It’s all about how you make the right information available to the right people at the right time,” Heena elaborated. This can be done by:

By designing an analytics experience focused on drive analytics adoption, you unlock the power of your analytics and your people. At the very core of this consumable experience are discovery and access. Organizations need to empower their teams to find and use information — and to collaborate and work smarter and faster with the help of data. Further, organizations must ensure that decisions based on analytics are accurate and have positive business impacts.

Simplicity by Design

The power of simplicity — or “less is more” — is the working principle on which we at ZenOptics built our Analytics Hub. Our design allows organizations to integrate cross-platform analytics into a single portal that simplifies the access, consumption, and use of analytics assets by end users and decision makers. These capabilities unlock the true value of analytics.

Sysco Canada, a ZenOptics customer, has successfully leveraged this approach and shared their success stories in this webinar.

Similar to other large organizations with multiple analytics tools, Sysco Canada, a leading foodservice distributor, faced the challenge of redundant efforts and report sprawl. Its teams would often publish similar reports using different tools and produce different results. In addition, the reports were scattered, making it challenging to identify and locate the information needed.

“It’s an interesting journey that we are in the middle of,” said Jade Hollenbeck, Director of Analytics at Sysco Canada. “What you end up with is [the identification of] a lot of duplication [of effort and reports],” Jade continued, highlighting how decentralized their organization’s information system is, causing confusion about where to search for information when needed. “We lose sight of the big picture… what is going on?” Their analytics workflow involved many people doing similar tasks, resulting in inefficient use of time, effort, and resources.

Through the use of ZenOptics’ Analytics Hub, Sysco Canada was able to simplify its analytics workflow, allowing end users to get the most out of their analytics tools and improve associate onboarding.

Jade also explained how it felt to have thousands of reports, many of which were believed to be of minimal value. With ZenOptics, he was able to identify many duplicate or outdated reports and work with subject matter experts for different areas to clean the reporting environment. The implementation of ZenOptics helped Sysco Canada to increase the awareness of reports availability and decreased time spent searching through the sprawl of reports. Overall, the implementation helped deliver the true value of their analytics.

Empower Analytics Teams and Users With ZenOptics

ZenOptics’ Analytics hub is designed to unify cross-platform analytics assets in a single interface and catalog thereby simplifying the access, consumption and use of analytics assets, unlocking the value of your investments and empowering your people. With ZenOptics, you can discover, compose, and scale.

Beyond enabling end users and decision makers, ZenOptics provides report usage, TCO dashboard, report characteristics, and impact analysis — all of which help companies make the most out of their data and their analytics investments. This results in increased productivity, collaboration, manageability, and governance.

To learn more about ZenOptics Analytics hub, request a demo.

Learn how Northwestern Mutual and Janney Montgomery Scott, two of ZenOptics financial services customers, addressed their analytics challenges by streamlining and standardizing their analytics and KPIs with ZenOptics’ Analytics Hub

In today’s fast-paced business world, having instant access to reliable and accurate data is essential for making informed decisions. However, finding the right information can be daunting, especially when it’s buried under a mountain of reports and dashboards from various systems.

Less Is More

Adopting the principle of “less is more” to reduce report duplication and unused or outdated reports can empower organizations to make data-driven decisions with greater accuracy and speed, giving them a competitive edge. On the other hand, an overwhelming abundance of unorganized and unverified analytical assets can hinder access to the information needed, exacerbating confusion and complexity.

Like many organizations, Illumina, a global biotech company, faced these same issues. In a recent ZenOptics webinar, Obay Mouradi, Illumina’s senior manager of Data Informatics, discussed their strategic approach to resolving the analytics challenges their organization faced, which largely resulted from report clutter and reporting sprawl. Illumina also shared how they simplified access to trusted reports and dashboards with ZenOptics Analytics Hub.

“[We] are a global company with several sites around [the world] in all different kinds of time zones in Europe, Asia, and North America,” said Mouradi. “We’re hyper-decentralized in terms of our analytics,” said Mouradi. “[There are over] 100 people building Tableau reports across 50 different areas of the business. So there’s this concept of, ‘Do I know what my neighbor’s doing?’”

As a result, employees who needed information had difficulty finding and trusting the reports, dashboards, and visualizations available. Mouradi also said that his organization experienced challenges associated with siloed reporting.

“That’s something we’ve definitely experienced,” he said. “Even our executive leadership sometimes [had] to shoot out many emails to try to get the data they need. And those emails get forwarded and forwarded and forwarded, which leads to a lot of [inefficiencies]. And when you do get the data, how do you know you can trust it?”

From Thousands to Hundreds of Certified Reports

Mouradi said that ZenOptics Analytics Hub provided Illumina with a single interface and capabilities that helped them streamline their reporting environment by eliminating outdated or unneeded reports and centralizing trusted reports and dashboards to simplify discovery and access for users.

Mouradi stated that before working with ZenOptics, they developed a Center of Excellence (COE) to break down organizational information silos. He mentioned that one of the COE’s main goals was to integrate data from many platforms and business functions into one place. Users can categorize reports, browse them by business function, and quickly find certified key reports. He went on to say that this entailed creating a methodology and standardizing it globally.

“So that way, we can get the best information,” Mouradi said.

Aside from centralization, Mouradi said that automation was just as crucial. “When people add new reports, it’s a huge problem for us to try to sustain a catalog,” he said.

He said that ZenOptics gave them the centralization and automation they needed to identify and sunset the duplicate or unneeded reports in their source systems, which made it easier for users to find the information they required to make decisions. According to Mouradi, the feedback from their employees and leadership has been overwhelmingly positive, with one VP calling it a “dream come true.”

Mouradi went on to say that the ZenOptics software implementation and customer success teams assisted the Illumina team with guidance and best practices to reduce report clutter, thereby only retaining critical reports that executives most cared about and that supported business goals.

“Leaders can get to the information they need in a much more efficient way [through the use of ZenOptics Analytics Hub] rather than just emailing a whole bunch of people. trying to just dig around, or having 100 bookmarks,” Mouradi said.

By centralizing analytics and automating catalog maintenance, Illumina reduced the number of reports from thousands to hundreds. This ensured key reports were easily accessible and in line with their business needs and objectives.

Conclusion

Report clutter and tool sprawl are major obstacles to finding reliable information quickly for organizations across all industries. An analytics hub that eliminates clutter and simplifies access to trusted reports and dashboards can address these challenges.

Get Started

ZenOptics offers an analytics hub platform that helps organizations achieve the full potential of their analytics assets and the people using them.

To have a first-hand look at how the ZenOptics Analytics Hub functions, kindly register for a personalized demo through this link.

Report sprawl has become a prevalent concern for organizations in the age of self-service business intelligence. Because of the simplicity with which reports may be created, published, modified, and shared, it is not uncommon for an organization to have hundreds or even thousands of reports floating around.

While reports are critical for managing operations, with report sprawl, the challenge is that the volume of reports spread across the organization becomes difficult to manage and creates a level of reporting chaos. As ZenOptics CEO Saurbh Khera said in a recent Forbes article, “[report sprawl has] become unwieldy for many companies with massive amounts of data, dozens of tools and reporting applications, even spreadsheets—and with so many parts of the organization accessing reports.”

This blog post highlights the effects of report sprawl and shares how an analytics hub can help.

Impact #1: Decreased Efficiency

When an organization is overwhelmed with reports, it can be difficult for employees to find the information they need. This causes them to spend their precious time hunting for information. When they can’t find what they are looking for, they typically create another report in a self-service BI environment. As the number of reports increases, the names of reports become similar or undifferentiated which can lead to confusion regarding what the report contains, the accuracy and whether it’s appropriate for what they need – as well as if all the relevant information has been discovered. Additionally, report sprawl can slow, and even compromise, informed decision making.

Additionally, report sprawl creates a waste of time and resources. Employees must sort through many documents to find what they are looking for. A Gartner survey found that many employees made poor decisions because they didn’t have all the information needed (44%). The proliferation of reports available creates a volume of assets that is difficult to navigate and discover all the relevant information for decision making.

Impact #2: Analytics Governance is Compromised

Without a centralized system or process for defining, creating, updating, validating and managing reports, a sprawling and chaotic reporting environment introduces the risk of duplicate or ungoverned information being used for analytics. When individuals and teams can’t easily identify the appropriate, governed reports they should be using, they are likely to create reports independently, without communicating or collaborating with each other. This can lead to duplication of effort, conflicting or inconsistent data, and difficulty in identifying the source of errors or inconsistencies. Organizations may base their decisions on inaccurate or unreliable data, which can be detrimental.

Impact #3: Difficulty in Identifying Key Insights

Too many reports in an organization makes it difficult for individuals to comb through all of the information and identify relevant patterns and insights that are needed to make informed business decisions. When there is too much information to process, it can be overwhelming for employees to try to make sense of it all.

As a result, they can inadvertently overlook or ignore valuable information, leading to missed opportunities or suboptimal decisions. According to Gartner, 43% of users “frequently or occasionally failed to notice important information because of too many applications or the volume of information.” The organizational impact is that employees may not recognize all the relevant information and may make poor judgments. This is particularly true when the reports are not organized or prioritized in a way that makes it easy to find the most important information or see the big picture.

Impact #4: Difficulty in Aligning Reports With Business Objectives

It can be challenging, if not impossible, to determine which are the most important reports for the organization and which align with its goals and objectives when there is report sprawl. This is especially the case when there is no centralized method or procedure for defining, creating, updating, and governing reports with a “certified” status for specific use. As a result, individuals may produce reports independently without coordination or visibility of what their peers may be creating.

Report sprawl can also make it difficult to measure the success of the company’s strategies, as it can be hard to track the metrics that truly matter across variations of similar reports in different applications. This can make it difficult to identify areas for improvement and understand the impact of the company’s strategies on the business.

Impact #5: Decreased Employee Satisfaction

Report sprawl causes employees to become frustrated and dissatisfied due to inefficiencies and challenges within their reporting environment.

Decision-makers are expected to consider all relevant information for the decision at hand, but this is not always straightforward because the sheer volume of reports that exist in a variety of locations across an enterprise is often too much information to easily sift through. Yet the detrimental impact of report sprawl on employees is not always due to information overload. Employees must be taught how to successfully navigate the layers of information that exist. One CapGemini survey, for example, found that 53% of technology executives think that users can easily store, retrieve and analyze the data at all levels of the organization’s value chain. But only 39% of business executives think the same. This set of business executives is likely dissatisfied with the discovery and access process – and may fear missing out on critical information for their decisions.

The constant need to scan through a mountain of reports can be exhausting and frustrating. The inability to make educated decisions can lead to a lack of job satisfaction, high turnover, and difficulties with recruitment.

Resolving Report Sprawl Using an Analytics Hub

An analytics hub like ZenOptics helps organizations resolve report sprawl and the associated adverse impacts.

ZenOptics Analytics Hub helps organizations curate and centralize all reports and analytics assets (such as spreadsheets, PDFs, Google Drive resources, etc.), making them easier to manage and govern. The platform makes it easy to discover, access, and share reports, which reduces confusion and improves decision making. The platform also provides analytics governance to ensure a level of confidence by facilitating and indicating “certified” reports as well as standardization for the use of analytics assets – regardless of which business unit or application they may have been created in.. This can help improve an organization’s bottom line by making decisions based on consistent, available information.

ZenOptics Analytics Hub provides a single interface to access the most relevant and important reports: facilitating the alignment of relevant reports with key business objectives while reducing the need for employees to comb through an overwhelming amount of documents to find what they’re looking for. This improves employee satisfaction, as they can make informed decisions, feel more confident about their decisions and their ability to drive value for the organization.

Conclusion

Report sprawl can significantly impact your organization’s efficiency, analytics governance, employee satisfaction, and the ability to make consistent, fully informed decisions.

ZenOptics Analytics Hub reduces report sprawl by curating and centralizing reports, simplifying access to important insights, and facilitating analytics governance. As a result, organizations can streamline their decision-making processes and improve employee satisfaction.