How to Create a Data Driven Culture

Advancements in technology have seen the world of business embrace data, making it easy to assume that everyone is taking equal advantage of this new resource. Recent studies, however, have revealed that companies across a range of industries are struggling to establish a data driven culture. Randy Bean and Thomas Davenport report that 72% of survey participants have yet to forge a data culture, and 53% state that they are not yet treating data as a business asset.

There is endless value in data, and by creating a data-centric culture that understands and utilizes this resource you are better able to manage the associated risks, while reaping the many rewards.

When it comes to creating a data driven culture, there are a few things you can do. The first is to invest in the right data related equipment and tools. Whether this is a machine learning tool to provide data quality assurance checks, or business intelligence software to help create better end-user processes. Once you have the right tool set, an effective way to engage your staff is to open your tools to wider data pools, engaging more areas of the business and multiple branches of staff. This creates a culture of data enthusiasts, opening up a space where data is not only accepted but sort after.

Educating your staff will go a long way in helping them understand and embrace data. Every API is different, so ensuring your staff are aware of the relevant nuances allows them to better strategize using the data they have acquired. If your CIO is able to set data-centric goals which bring value to your business, then data becomes an actionable tool to improve your business in a multitude of ways, and with KPIs in place your staff will be more motivated, more educated and your business will thrive.

Are you confident in your ability to make the most of your data? At AtoBI, we understand every aspect of data analytics, and our professional consultants can help you create a data plan best suited to your business needs. Contact us today to find out more about how data can transform your business culture.

Usual Beasts And How To Defeat Them – Tackling Reporting & Planning Challenges

Most Sales and Finance teams are familiar with the spreadsheet hell: End of month, budgeting season, Re-Forecast, Board pack… often mean hours of work in Excel, crunching data manually, using error-prone formulas and pivot tables ad nauseam.

But why, despite the diversity of Business Intelligence and Corporate Management Solutions, does time-consuming, unefficient manual work still persist? And how can organisations achieve smarter Reporting and Planning processes?

1- The cost of inaction

I once heard from a CFO: “Our month-end reports and budgets always end up on-time, I don’t think improving a non-perfect, but functioning process should be the priority.

Yes, streamlining reporting & planning processes cost time and money. But the cost of inaction is often overlooked. The information consumed by CXOs are the primary source of decision-making for organisations and critical to align Strategic vision with Execution. There is a proven link between performing, competitive organisations and their ability to continuously improve their Performance Management strategy.

What if implementing more efficient processes could help produce frequent, accurate and automated Reports & Forecasts? What is the cost of decisions made too late, on outdated asumptions, or with a partial view? How about staff retention (can sales and finance teams spend their time in a more productive and stimulating way than crunching data in Excel?).

2- Excel use will decrease, but not completely disappear

Business intelligence, Corporate Performance Management, Planning solutions have been around for decades now and definitely improved dramatically. However spreadsheets remain. Why?

First, because it’s the most common skillset and everyone knows how Excel works. It’s universal and when most companies constantly modernise their IT ecosystem, Excel has been one of the most durable and consistent tool across organisations.

Secondly, because it offers autonomy and flexibility. Sales can crunch their own numbers and quickly answer ad-hoc questions on the fly without waiting IT or the BI team to come back to them the day after.

Regardless the systems in place, Excel has to be in the picture and the answer is not as simple as “Replacing spreadsheets”. The solution is more about how can we make these spreadsheet processes part of the data governance & automation strategy wihtout creating shadow-IT or parallel processes, challeng their purpose and bring incremental changes.

3- Focus on high-value activities

This can be an easy thing to say, especially when most teams can’t do anything but keep their nose to the grindstone to meet deadlines and keep up with their day-to-day activities.

Now that technology offers many ways to automate repetitive tasks, we can afford spending more time on what actually matters most: decision-support, value-added analysis and strategic insights. But it doesn’t happen overnight.

A strtegic vision supported by a step-by-step, pragmatic approach offers minimum risk for a quick return on investment. Aim at running a Marathon, but start walking 5km first: It’s the same for any BI project. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning can bring a major impact and massive value, but have you started building a single source of truth, addressed data quality issues, removed manual & repetitive tasks, integrated Reporting & Planning processes across the organisation already?

If you want to know more about how we can help drive better performance and streamline processes from Data Management to Reporting and Forecasting in your organisation, feel free to reach out!

If you need assistance navigating through Data Management, Business intelligence, Corporate Performance Management or AI & ML solutions, please feel free to reach out to us!

Written by Olivier Bastard – Account Executive at AtoBI
Get in touch with Olivier

What’s the difference between Business Intelligence and Visual Analytics?

You've probably read or heard quite a lot about both Business Intelligence and Visual Analytics in the last couple of years. A lot of the time, people use these terms interchangeably. This can be somewhat confusing, as although both technologies tend to be employed for the same reason – to provide valuable insights on which businesses can base future decisions – they are in fact separate ideas.

In order to clear up the confusion, AtoBI will outline the differences between Business Intelligence and Visual Analytics. We'll start with a definition of each.

What is the difference between Business Intelligence and Visual Analytics? Your stress-free explanation.Don't let the different terminology stress you out. We're here to help.

What is Business Intelligence?

Business Intelligence refers to technologies and strategies for the collection and analysis of business information. The purpose of Business Intelligence is to help professionals make better informed decisions about business practices. You wouldn't make a personal decision without first weighing up your values, your past experiences, and your goals for the future – and neither should your business.

While a business will obviously weigh up data of a different type, the reasoning remains: No decision should be rushed or made without careful consideration, and Business Intelligence brings together all the information that must be considered.

Typically, Business Intelligence has used by executives, managers and the analysts who support them, and the most common tools are the dashboard and reporting functions. Recently there has been a shift away from this as the market is moving towards self-service – wherein businesses are trained to generate the insights they need for their specific areas.

Gaining insights from Business Intelligence may have once been a job for the IT department, but most platforms are now designed with the end user in mind. This means that Business Intelligence platforms are increasingly flexible, offering support to a greater range of professionals who can use a robust toolkit to generate their own insights.

Of course, it's still of great importance that you choose the best platform for your business, integrate it in the right way, and have support on hand should you need it. This is where AtoBI comes in. Our team of professionals work with you to understand your business and what your goals are, so we can help you implement a solution that will help you meet them.

What is Business Intelligence?Business Intelligence refers to the technology used for generating performance-based insights.

What is Visual Analytics?

Visual Analytics is concerned with accurate and easily understandable visualisations of data. The purpose of Visual Analytics is to represent complex data sets in a digestible way. If you glance at a spreadsheet, you are unlikely to gain any immediate insight – you would need to sit down and carefully consider every column and row before any information could be extracted. A graph, on the other hand, takes only seconds to grasp – the data is condensed into its most simple iteration.

While Business Intelligence brings together historical, and in many cases, up-to the minute data to generate reports based on current operations, Visual Analytics explores data in different way to uncover patterns on which future predictions can be made.

With the use of data-mining algorithms, Visual Analytics is primarily automated. Through analytic reasoning, Visual Analytics platforms have the ability to discern complex relationships in information, be it qualitative or quantitative. Subsequently, these platforms can represent data that is otherwise unintelligible to a human, and through a process that is far from intuitive.

The capabilities of Visual Analytics tools can be manipulated in a number of ways to suit the end goal of the user. These tools are used by the same set of professionals as Business Intelligence tools, yet can provide projections based on more complex translations of data. AtoBI can help you find the Visual Analytics solution that you need. 

What is Visual Analytics?Visual Analytics helps you visualise projections from complex data sets.

What are the key differences?

The differences between Business Intelligence and Visual Analytics are often highlighted as being a matter of reporting vs. analysing, maintenance vs. growth, or understanding the past vs. looking to the future. While none of these are specifically wrong, here is our take:

While Business Intelligence and Visual Analytics do in many cases overlap, it's important to note that there is a distinction. Most simply, you could view Visual Analytics as a tool for Business Intelligence. Therefore, if Business Intelligence is "the roads" then Visual Analytics might be "the Highway" – a single road that can take you to multiple destinations.

The best Business Intelligence solution for your business will combine insights from the past with projections for the future.

Extending that metaphor, you could look at it like this: Your business is the car, travelling forward through time and space on your way to what you hope is success. Your odometer is Business Intelligence – it tells you exactly how far you've travelled since the last landmark. It doesn't mean you know where you're going, but this tool will help you assess the route you've taken up until now. Visual Analytics could then be considered as the "mile markers" on the side of the road – the signs that outline how far you have to go and which turns to take to make it to your next destination.

In our car analogy, the best way to move forward is to have both sets of information available – like what a GPS system might do. Similarly, the best Business Intelligence solution for your business will combine insights from the past with projections for the future – it's just a matter of finding out which software platform will make the best GPS for your business. 

AtoBI can help you navigate the BI marketplace to get to where you need to go.There is an easier way to get to where you need to go. AtoBI can show you.

AtoBI specialise in helping businesses integrate the best Visual Analytics and decision making solutions available. Not only can we help you make the right choice of platform, we can help you use it to the fullest extent of its capabilities so that you can direct your business into a bright future.

What’s the value of thorough business intelligence training?


Every business team leader is anxious to jump right in whenever it’s time to start with a new business intelligence solution. However, the truth is it requires time and patience to get your staff up to speed with BI. Training is important – without it, you risk jumping into projects unprepared and potentially making mistakes.

What are the best strategies for ensuring that the BI training process goes smoothly?

So why is business intelligence training so important in Australia, and what are the best strategies for ensuring that the training process goes smoothly? At AtoBI, we are big believers in the value of thorough business intelligence training. We have a method that we use – it involves first getting systems set up and people trained, then coming back later and continually reviewing to make sure key weaknesses are addressed and nothing big needs to be changed. Let’s delve into the finer points of a business intelligence training strategy.

Putting your BI knowledge into context

What’s the best approach to business intelligence training for an Australian business? Here’s a hint: In addition to making sure your people can use BI solutions efficiently, they should also understand the big-picture view. What’s the context of the data they’re looking at? How does it affect the company’s long-term goals?

If there are any gaps in your employees’ understanding in this area, it’s best to fill them quickly. The goal is to get the entire staff working together to make smart, data-driven decisions. This requires both tech skills and general business savvy.

Providing people with continued education

In any business pursuit, it’s important to constantly emphasise employee development. You never want your people to stagnate. So when it comes to using enterprise solutions for BI, you want to continue educating people long after they’ve gotten their initial start.

Get the most out of your company's business intelligence training.Get the most out of your company’s business intelligence training.

This effort may include training seminars as well as Q&A sessions in which people can voice any questions or concerns they have about the BI rollout process. Training is more valuable if it’s continuous and lessons are reinforced for added impact.

Maximising your company’s investment

Your business has no doubt invested a lot in BI success. This doesn’t just mean money, although that’s part of it – time, effort and mental energy are all scarce resources as well. For everything you put in, you want to make sure you get something out.

If you have any concerns about your training process working, you can always connect with business consulting experts who can smooth things along. At AtoBI, we have a whole team of them who are ready to assist you.

How data-driven culture can help businesses thrive

Business intelligence initiatives need to start at the top.

The business world is moving quickly, with digital innovations usurping traditional operating and reporting methods and giving birth to a new era of business intelligence. The tools are available to make modern organisations conduct analysis on many aspects of their operations. All that is required are the skills and willingness to unlock their benefits.

Such is the challenge many businesses are now facing – getting their employees up to speed with new techniques and how their efforts can be optimised. Promoting and nurturing a workplace culture driven by data is critically important in the digital era, so how can your organisation develop the welcoming environment required?

Business intelligence solutions should be a team effort.Business intelligence solutions should be a team effort.

The value of data-driven culture

Large or small, all companies thrive or fail based on the efforts of their employees. People are perhaps the most important element in any form of digital transformation, so creating a working environment that is receptive to change and prepared to work for a better future is the first step on the path towards effective business intelligence solutions. 

Nurturing a workplace culture driven by data is critically important in the digital era.

According to Deloitte's 2016 Global Human Capital Trends survey, 82 per cent of CEOs and HR leaders agree that having a strong company culture can be a significant competitive advantage. That belief may not be enough, however – only 28 per cent of survey respondents feel they have a solid understanding of their own workplace, with just 19 per cent believing their existing culture is the right one.

Understanding is a two-way street. Not only do leaders need to have a clear view of how their employees are feeling before being able to adjust their workplace environment, but the reasons why change is required must be clearly communicated to the workforce.

"Trying to implement new behaviours and measurements without addressing the underlying culture is counterproductive – it results in even well-intentioned people slipping back into old, undesirable behaviours during times of pressure and uncertainty," says Alan Duncan, research director at Gartner.

"As something members of the organisation must do collectively, substantive business transformation begins with culture, and culture begins with a shared language for how information is managed and used." 

Building a data-driven culture can improve business intelligence success.Building a data-driven culture can improve business intelligence success.

Driving change from the top

If there's a theme running through the findings in Deloitte's survey it's that, in order to be effective, digital tools such as business intelligence solutions must be beneficial in a way that all employees will understand. The simplest way to do that is to ensure the leadership team are the ones driving the changes – outlining benefits, impacts to workflows and anything else employees should be aware of.

Research has shown that this top-down approach is indeed one of the best ways forward. In a survey of of 530 senior executives from around the world, the Economist Intelligence Unit found that 49 per cent of respondents felt that guidance from the executive level was responsible for the success of data-driven culture, followed closely by promoting the sharing of data amongst teams (48 per cent) and communicating the benefits of data-driven decision-making (40 per cent).

You might be noticing a pattern here, one of collaboration, sharing and communication. That's the secret to becoming a data-driven business – bringing the entire team along for the ride, not simply putting solutions in place with little or no internal discussion.

The team at A to BI not only has the solution consulting expertise when it's time to implement business intelligence, but also training programmes to ensure you and your employees have the skills required to get the most out of the tools. Get in touch with us today, and take the first step on the path towards a data-driven culture. 

Business intelligence: The key to agility

How can business intelligence help you become more agile?

The business world is one replete with buzzwords, trending terms that seem to appear out of nowhere and either become absorbed into the general lexicon, or disappear into the ether. A good example of recent years – and one which seems likely to stay – is agility.

Agility boils down to an organisation's capability to read the changing tide of the market in which they operate, and how quickly they can adapt their own operations to take advantage of new innovations. Intuitive technologies and streamlined workflows are regularly being developed, so those businesses that capitalise on the latest advances can generate a significant competitive advantage. 

Business intelligence solutions are one such technology. The collection and analysis of operational data – as well as any additional information relevant to individual industries – allows organisations to examine the past and derive insight that helps them to strategise for the future.

Businesses that capitalise on the latest innovations can generate a significant competitive advantage.

The path to greater agility

Before trying to increase your organisation's level of agility, it's worth educating yourself about the key ingredients. According to McKinsey & Company, evolving into an efficient and adaptable organisation depends chiefly on two factors.

"Agility needs two things. One is a dynamic capability, the ability to move fast – speed, nimbleness, responsiveness," says McKinsey's Aaron De Smet.

"And agility requires stability, a stable foundation – a platform, if you will – of things that don't change."

The central tenet of running an agile business is adapting, making decisions quickly in response to an array of unpredictable variables. Despite technology allowing organisations to speed up many processes and procedures, there are a number of areas that seem to have slowed in recent times.

Take the hiring of new employees, for example. Fortune Magazine research indicated that the recruitment and onboarding process took an average of three weeks longer in 2015 than in 2010. Whatever the reasons for this slowdown, it's a critical decision-making process that is becoming stagnant.

Business intelligence solutions can help guide your organisation through change.Business intelligence solutions can help guide your organisation through change.

Following the two tenets outlined by McKinsey above, in order to generate the speed and responsiveness of an agile organisation, businesses need access to a solid base of consistent, usable information. More and more companies are turning towards business intelligence solutions to gain that stable footing – Gartner indicates that statistical analysis, predictive modeling and decision-optimisation technologies are being widely embraced. 

Speeding up decision-making with business intelligence

There are obviously a number of challenges facing businesses today. In its 2016 CEO Survey, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) identified the two most pressing as understanding what customers value – 63 per cent of respondents – and changing direction – 61 per cent.

Businesses need access to a solid base of consistent, usable information.

The two issues are inextricably linked; if you can gain greater understanding of your customers' desires, your organisation can change direction to meet them. On the flip side, any changes to internal operations should ultimately be made with the goal of delivering a better service to customers. The biggest problem in the pre-digital era was gauging customer experience and sentiment to highlight where operations could be improved, but modern data analysis tools are designed for precisely that purpose.

By implementing business intelligence and analytics tools, any organisation can rapidly develop a much clearer perspective on their customer experience and operational processes, and devise strategies to optimise the two areas. Solutions such as Qlik present intuitive self-serve analytics that help businesses adapt to patterns with much greater agility, and make decisions with confidence and speed.

As Australia's leading certified Qlik solutions provider, AtoBI is dedicated to assisting businesses throughout their business intelligence journey. Getting in touch with the team will be the easiest decision your organisation makes today.

Providing tech training for your staff isn’t always easy

Providing tech training requires careful advance planning.


There are a lot of potential gains your company can make as a direct result of using business intelligence (BI) solutions. If you commit to gathering more information about your company and analysing it well, you can uncover key findings that will help drive future improvement in your operations.

Achieving BI success requires getting buy-in from pretty much your entire staff.

This won’t be easy, though. What makes it challenging is that achieving BI success requires getting buy-in from pretty much your entire staff. If you want to efficiently collect information, analyse it and take decisive action based on what you find, you need everyone to be on board with that – even those staff members who might be a bit resistant to new technology.

This means providing training resources will be key. You’ll need a diversified strategy, too, because not everyone has the same enthusiasm for learning or absorbs information in the same ways as everyone else.

Drawing up a BI training framework

Before you allow your company to dive headfirst into using BI solutions, it makes sense to map out a specific plan. Otherwise, you risk getting into a large, sprawling project that lacks focus and risks wasting time and money.

According to the Industry Skills Councils, a good first step in your tech training process is to assess precisely what organisational problems you’re looking to solve using BI solutions. What’s the goal? Are you hoping to refine your marketing message? Increase the productivity of your sales team? Whatever you have in mind, it’s easier to get results from BI if you go in with a plan.

Once you have your objectives mapped out, it’s easier for everything to fall into place. Next you can look at your existing technology, assess its strengths and weaknesses and look at where there are specific improvements to be made. At this point, it’s time to sit down with your employees and talk about how your tech upgrades will change their daily lives at the office.

Handling a diverse staff of trainees

A large part of the challenge of delivering office tech training stems from the fact that your staff is diverse. Everyone will have different levels of IT knowledge, which means they’ll all require a unique approach to technical support.

Your staff will include a wide range of people with different IT needs.Your staff will include a wide range of people with different IT needs.

This is why The HR Gazette recommends taking some time to study your employees, figure out their skill levels with technology and assess where each individual still has room for improvement. Once you’ve done this, you can deliver personalised solutions that will be catered to their knowledge levels and skill sets. Learning styles are important too – some people prefer a hands-on approach, whereas others are better off studying methods from a textbook.

Of course, there will be some stubborn employees who simply don’t want to learn at all, no matter what method you offer to use. Handling these individuals with care is an important part of the job in IT training. It will take patience and persistence to eventually get them up to speed.

Consider our approach to solution consulting

Every company has its own unique sets of challenges and needs when it comes to training your staff and effectively putting BI solutions in place. That’s why, at AtoBI, we offer solution consulting that’s specifically tailored to each individual business we work with. Our goal is to listen carefully, learn what you do and provide BI resources that will be a perfect fit.

If you want to maximise your BI investment, training is crucial. The last thing you want is to see time and money wasted on a staff that’s not ready to achieve success. Fortunately, we have the resources to get your people trained quickly and set your business on the path to success.

What types of BI training are available?

Helping people get to grips with new BI software is important.


Investing in sophisticated business intelligence (BI) software can have a significant impact on your organisation’s ability to derive insights from data, whether it’s structured, semi-structured or unstructured.

However, enterprises can underestimate the importance of effective training for new platforms. Even the best software may fail to live up to expectations if users are unable to leverage full functionality.

Finding the right consultants to assist you is the first step in the process, but which type of training would best suit your unique requirements? There are generally a number of different ways to approach training. Here are a few options for those of you considering embarking on a new BI software project.

Mentoring involves a consultant spending time on-site with your users.

1. Pre-set courses

One of the most popular training courses are official certification curriculums that give your employees the skills they need to become certified users of the relevant BI platform. For example, AtoBI was the first QlikView certified trainer in Australia, and we offer structured courses with pre-set data that ensures your workers can familiarise themselves with the program.

2. Bespoke training

Some companies have more sophisticated training demands, which may require bespoke sessions. These courses are particularly common for more technical users and personnel on the business side that require tailored advice specific to their data projects. This could involve building a course around your particular data needs or instructing your end-users on how to use an application that consultants have built on your behalf.

3. On-site mentors 

Mentoring involves a consultant spending time on-site with your users in an effort to guide them through issues that they encounter. Having an experienced expert on hand is especially useful if your employees know the basics of the BI software but are having trouble performing certain tasks or projects. In other words, they may not require comprehensive training; however, a mentor can give them quick tips on how to optimise their approach. AtoBI believes on-site mentors often get the best training results because they are at hand when users face problems and can guide them while they practise their skills in solving them.

Business intelligence software training. Training can help users improve their skills with new software.

Other options

The delivery of BI solutions can also be flexible; you can choose to have sessions at your premises or at a separate location that is more convenient for your staff. Occasionally, in-person training may not be possible. If this is the case, your provider should be able to offer virtual training via web conferencing software or other online means.

Deciding on the right training option for your business may require some thought, but the return on investment should be worth the extra effort.