Have you tried it? The revolutionary soda dispenser that gives you the power to customize your drink through an empowering consumer experience? It’s the Coca-Cola Freestyle®. But it does more than dispense hundreds of drink combinations to thirsty consumers. It’s also a blueprint for how organizations should approach scaling their business intelligence (BI) platform across the enterprise.

What do soda machines have to do with BI?

Ultimately, the soda consumers are the BI end users interacting with a platform that meets their individual needs. Their drink selection, or business requirements, are customizable because they are empowered to select the cup size, amount of ice, beverage type, and number of refills. The suppliers, or the IT team, are tasked with installing and maintaining the soda dispenser with CO2, syrup and supplies.

We can think about the Coca-Cola Freestyle® and BI in three parts: people, process and technology.

People

The standard soda dispenser may be a thing of the past sooner than we realize. Even though it is simple to use and easy to understand, soda consumers require more flavor options than just the standard regular, diet, lemon-lime, root beer, etc. It’s not scalable nor tailored to their role-specific needs. So, how does the supplier decide which flavors to offer consumers? Historically, and in BI terms, it would involve an IT team selecting and implementing tools based on a handful of functional requirements and data sets. The end users may receive training and IT support, but the end users are not enabled to personalize smaller use cases in a timely fashion due to competing priorities and limited resources. It works, but the result is the standard six soda options and an occasional pink lemonade and sport drink.  

Instead of limiting end users to a limited set of options, this new style of soda machine affords the user a self-service option that allows hundreds of drink combinations they can build on their own. With this approach, a company can accelerate the value derived by its BI platform, including :

  • Self-service tools that increase and expedite platform end user adoption
  • Platforms that can scale rapidly and easily
  • Cross functional collaboration
  • Allows IT team to focus on core systems
  • Ease of use and still simple to understand

Isn’t that something we could all use a little more of?

Process

When consumers have hundreds of drink options, rarely do they feel the need to ask the store employee for drink choices not available in the soda dispenser. Instead, the store employee becomes responsible just for controlling and maintaining the options and supplies that the customer depends on.

Enabling BI end users to explore, manipulate, and report information requires a modern approach to business and technical processes. Similarly to the Coca-Cola Freestyle®, new enterprise BI platforms re-define the balance between end user capabilities and IT controls and security on tools and data. The notion of a centralized center of excellence and change management process is diminished when BI end users collaborate across the enterprise and develop their own personalized definition and standards for analyzing and reporting data. Of course, IT continues to play an important part in ensuring the common data sets are consistent, reliable, and accurate.

Technology

There are many options when it comes to selecting BI tools, just like choosing a soda offering (fountain drinks, bottles, cans). The selection criteria for a solution can vary wildly across industries, company sizes, and regions. For too long, any group responsible for selecting BI tools focused on the near term requirements of specific functional areas in an organization. That group didn’t always have the functional area expertise to capture additional business requirements in order to scale. Those same functional areas didn’t fully understand how a new BI tool could meet their data collection, analysis and reporting needs.  Thus, the organization’s decision factors like scalability, sustainability, end user experience, integration and license costs were correct but the technology just didn’t exist yet.

But Coca-Cola® isn’t the only company to revolutionize how we make personalized decisions. Meet Domo®, the BI platform that provides an empowering self-service experience like the Coca-Cola Freestyle®. The Domo® platform and its customizable modules offer functional and technical end users the ability to visualize data that leads to greater insights and business conversations across the enterprise. Tailored to all end users’ needs, agile, and easy to use. Now that is refreshing!

Search Discovery’s capacity-building approach works together with our solutions to enable your organization to drive improved decision making across the enterprise. Learn more about our solutions, and contact Ben Delozier for more information.