When you have a lot of reports, and you don’t know the purpose of each report and you don’t even know why it exists, then you are staring at the BI Jungle. Most often with Self Service BI tools, the probability of Jungle is very likely since anyone can develop reports and it is very hard to keep track of them. When you have the following characteristics in your BI platform then you can consider that you are inside BI Jungle.
- Duplicates of reports serving the same purpose
- No metadata or documentation for most of the reports
- No credibility for the reports generated.
- Always hard to find the report that you are need
- Only certain people can guide anyone through your BI Platform and only they know how to do that.
If you have a few or all these characteristics in your BI Platform, then it is very important to start organizing your reports so that it would be easy to find your way before it gets out of control. Once it starts to spin out of control then you would find it very hard and very time consuming to reorganize all your BI platforms. It is easy to set out the process if you act before it gets out of control.
A Few Ideas to Organize Reports
Try out these suggestions to start organizing your reports:
- Replicate your Departments virtually to your BI Platform – It is very easy to replicate your departments in terms of BI Platforms to start organizing the reports. Utilize all the methods your BI Platforms offers to organize it. For example, you can create Workspace, Apps, pages for your department. Likewise, in Tableau, you can use Sites, Project and workbook for your reports. Organizing the reports will help you to find the reports easily.
- Always try to have test and dev environments – This helps to keep all the non-production reports hidden from your report users. Modern BI Platforms don’t provide the luxury to have test, development and other environments. When you don’t have that, you tend to have multiple copies of the report or start editing the same report. This will create confusion and wrong information. This will always reduce the credibility of reports. This will induce doubt to your users on whether they can trust the report or not. So it is better to have the equivalent of test and dev environments to keep your production environment as clean as possible. In the tableau, you can have multiple sites and in Power BI you can have a separate workspace to accomplish this.
- Have a migration, security, and approval process in place –From the beginning of your implementation, define a process to which people need to adhere to. Have a process that will help you to organize and also keep things organized. You need to have an approval process to define who can edit and approve reports and also the steps to migrate the report from the test environment to the production environment. All these things will help you in the long run.
- Names are very important – Always have a naming convention in place. A well-designed naming convention will help you to identify the report without opening the report. For example, ‘dev_marketing_social-media-impact’ refers to a development report from marketing with information about social media impact. Similar to this, you should have a naming convention that suits you.
The above pointers are not fully exhaustive are just a few ideas that organizations can implement. If you find it very difficult to define your own way, you can use BI Hub which has some predefined ways of organizing the reports. We have explained a few ways which will help you to organize reports while using multiple BI Platforms.
BI Hub helps to organize and streamline your multiple BI platform assets, which leads to better BI Governance. Following are a few ideas that leverage BI Hub features, which is one of the top BI tools currently in the market to organize your reports.
- Use Hub folder to organize multiple BI platform assets – You can conveniently forget all the report clutters in your existing BI platform. You can just organize everything in Hub folders. Also If you want to organize BI Platform in a way that is easy for IT Administrators, but your users want to organize those reports in another way that is convenient for them, then you can do that by using the Hub folder feature, My Folders, and My Favorites. On top of that this will allow you to classify reports from multiple BI Platforms.
- Allow your users to have their own way of organizing – We cannot satisfy everyone and always someone will come and say that they don’t like the way the assets have been organized. By using BI Hub My folders, you can give them the power to organize their report whichever way they want to.
- Certifications – Certify the reports based on their trustworthiness or their importance. This way the user would have confidence in the data and you can improve the credibility of that report.
- Alias report name metadata – You can have a business-friendly alias report name for your report.
- Additional Metadata – Define all the metadata that you want and use it to organize it for better classification and better visibility.
- Smart Search – Allow users to search for both their accessible and their inaccessible reports. It will help users find reports they don’t know exist and even reports they don’t have access to, avoiding duplicates reports and additional work.
By embracing BI Hub in your organization, you would be able to avoid getting lost in the BI jungle and control your assets before they spin out of control. By using BI Hub you would be able to solve the problems mentioned at the beginning.
- Avoid duplicates of reports serving the same purpose by increasing the visibility and accessibility of reports.
- Increase metadata and documentation availability for the reports.
- Increase the credibility of the report by certifying the reports.
- Improve the visibility of reports from different BI Platforms by using the Smart Search feature.
- Have smooth accessibility of reports by having better classification, organization, and grouping of reports – this will help report users to navigate through the system and not get lost in the jungle.
- The main perks of using BI Hub apart from those mentioned above is that you would be able to do this for multiple BI Platforms and have the same standards across all the BI Platforms irrespective of the feature that is available in them.
With Self-service BI tools sweeping the markets and gaining more adoption in every organization, it is very important to have better BI governance. By following some standards, we would be able to govern all BI assets easily. By using BI Hub you would be able to do that for multiple BI Platforms at the same time. Read more on the importance of BI Governance and how to implement it from the blog titled “The Path towards Governance“.