I am often amazed to discover that the lack of communication in technology projects stems not from a lack of resources but from wrong assumptions made about what’s perceived to be communication as part of a mobile business intelligence (BI) strategy. Just as we know that social media analytics isn’t just about counting Facebook likes or Twitter tweets, we should know that in mobile BI an announcement e-mail along with an attached instruction document alone isn’t synonymous with communication. When developing a mobile BI strategy, you must consider all facets of communication—that includes not only multiple channels but also different formats. Moreover, you must pay attention to both quality (effectiveness) and quantity (volume and frequency) of the content to ensure its maximum effectiveness.
Consider All Facets of Communication
Don’t limit yourself to one channel or format of communication. Strive to leverage all avenues available to your team. If one doesn’t exist, explore options to develop one yourself or utilize your company’s shared service resources.
- Start with the one that you know is part of the existing IT infrastructure—e-mail.
- Include a social dimension with a collaboration or community page, especially if you have an existing one that can be used. If you don’t have one, maybe you can utilize a shared service site under the corporate umbrella.
- Is your audience well versed with social media tools? Go with one of the many options that are easily available. They’re easy to set up and manage.
- Create a newsletter and publish it with a fixed schedule like a newspaper.
- Set up an online library or repository that’s easy to access and to use for key topics: report catalogs, instructions, user guides, tips, and so on.
But whatever you do, make sure that all of this is coordinated and accessible from a single point of collection, whether you call that your home page, community page, or something else. Last thing you want is for your users to get overwhelmed and maybe even confused about where to go—the key point when it comes to communication.
Test Your Communication Early In the Game
Just like when you’re establishing the support infrastructure, you don’t wait until the last minute. There’ll be many opportunities for you to test your approach and stress your communication infrastructure. Take advantage of these opportunities before you go live. As part of your interactions with your users during the development or testing phase, ask for their input, which can be your guide in developing the right content, in the right format, for the right frequency.
Most importantly, observe! Each opportunity to collaborate with a customer (internal or external) is an opportunity of multiple proportions. Are they tech or mobile savvy? Do they use collaboration tools or stick to e-mail? If tablets are the target device for implementation, do they have one and is it properly configured to begin with? Do they bring it to the meetings? These observations can provide you with invaluable insight into how you should shape your communication.
Quality Is More Important Than Quantity
You need to be short and to the point— that goes without saying. But this rule is more important in today’s fast-paced business environment that is crammed with social media expression and a burning desire to multi-task. Any social media expert will tell you that it’s not the number of tweets you send but the quality of content you share that matters. That same principle applies to mobile BI communication.
You need to establish both credibility and engagement (your customers’ desire to connect with your mobile BI team) so that when they see an e-mail, tweet, or update from your team, they consider it a “must read.” Otherwise, your e-mail might fall through the cracks of their preset e-mail rule categories (Outlook’s rules and alerts tool, for example) and be deleted automatically from their inbox. Think about your personal experience for a moment. Isn’t that what separates your favorite magazine from junk mail?
Pay Attention to Detail
Attention to detail matters in communication even if the size of the message is small. Remember that your ultimate goal is to increase adoption and this can’t be accomplished if you frustrate your audience. You simply can’t afford unforced errors in mobile. At the very basic level, it requires that your communication assets (regardless of their format) are error-free and hassle-free.
Bottom Line: You Need To Find the Right Balance for Your Communication
Your communication approach must complement your overall mobile BI strategy. It becomes not only a conduit to inform your user base but also an opportunity to eliminate confusion and increase adoption. Finding the right balance for your communication is critical because it will be one more tool in your arsenal to help you achieve what matters most when it comes to business information—faster, better-informed decision making to contribute growth and profitability.
What do you see as the biggest communication challenge in your mobile BI strategy?
Ten Mobile BI Strategy Questions
For more on mobile BI, read my other blogs in the series.