You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.

Image credit: Greg Westfall | Licensed under: CC BY 2.0

If you’re going to spend months putting that water in place by migrating to a new analytics platform, you’d better build a process for onboarding users smoothly so that they drink. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a lot of people looking like the kid in the photo and reciting the caption to you.

I mentioned in my previous post the migration project we underwent here at Dell to move off one of the world’s best-known legacy analytics products and onto Statistica, an analytics platform Dell had recently acquired. How do you onboard users throughout the project when you make a fundamental switch like that?

Where does your user onboarding process live?

Who manages user onboarding in your organization? Usually, the onboarding process lives in IT, which is where it used to reside at Dell. It wasn’t perfect, but we lived with it that way for a long time, along with three burdensome restrictions:

Finite number of licenses: It’s hard to onboard new users when you have a limit on licenses for your analytics software. We had to ask IT for more licenses, and they had to tell us none were available.

License swapping: De-activating and re-activating licenses to move them between data analysts was a drag, but as keeper of the software keys, IT had to be involved.

Doling out licenses carefully: On the rare occasions when licenses were freed up, people had to lobby IT for access to them.

In fact, it took the migration project to finally break this process, and that’s when we moved it out of IT.

The flexible licensing model of Statistica allowed us to change the focus of onboarding users from IT to self-service in the business units themselves. Then, we made an organizational change so that the Business Intelligence Center of Excellence in each business unit made and managed its own strategy for allocating access to Statistica.

That pushed the unwelcome variable (IT’s response time) out of the migration project and kicked off more-efficient onboarding for everyone. Internal customer satisfaction went up when users saw that getting access would be easier in the future than it had been with the legacy product.

The Great Analytics Migration – new e-book

We’ve written a new e-book called “Statistica: The Great Analytics Migration, Part 3: Technology.” Read it for an idea of how we at Dell handled the migration from one of the world’s best-known analytics products (you can probably guess which one) onto Statistica while allaying users’ concerns about migration and access.

If you embark on a migration project, whether for analytics or any other companywide function, you’ll need to think about making the user onboarding process palatable.

After all, the kid in the photo is cute for a minute or two, but you don’t want your co-workers looking at you like that for months on end.