/ What a shift to self-service BI did for a company’s culture

There was a time when Degreed’s client-facing employees were in a tough spot. The education technology company was in its startup phase and didn’t yet have a system in place that would allow those important figures to verify information they’d received second-hand. So, all they could do was share it and hope it was accurate.

“This was a few years ago, and we were just racing to get our product out there,” Mike Makis, Degreed’s head of analytics and insights, said during Domo’s “Get Leverage” webinar earlier this week.

“People didn’t know who to go to for answers, and they didn’t have time to figure out who might have the answers. So, we approached some executives and said, ‘It’s time we get serious about changing. It’s time we solve the problem of people getting different answers from different places.’”

By 2019, a solution was implemented, and today, Degreed operates from a single source of truth, which is fed by all the systems and tools that the company’s business runs on. This enables the workforce to easily access the information it needs to make quick decisions and take decisive action, and the organization to move with the kind of speed and agility that today’s business climate requires.

In his conversation with Domo’s Scott Townsend, Mike talked about how Domo became Degreed’s solution of choice, how Degreed gets leverage with Domo, and what other organizations interested in making the shift to self-service BI should consider first. For a distillation of these three main points of discussion, read on.

Finding the right solution

For Degreed, which launched in 2012 in hopes of becoming synonymous with helping people learn new skills to advance their careers, it was important to find a solution that could support what the company felt it needed to do next, including:

  • Educate employees to be better consultants and partners
  • Scale up with a future-forward data ecosystem
  • Accelerate the process of becoming more data-informed
  • Fuel an open culture by feeding curiosity

With those four objectives in mind, Mike and his team—as well as select folks in the engineering department—spent some time researching as many BI and data visualization platforms they could find. After settling on eight potential partners, they then ran an RFP process that included a questionnaire and demo evaluations. Finally, they prepared a couple of connector and dataset use-case scenarios to test out finalists.

Ultimately, Degreed’s panel of evaluators chose Domo for three reasons: 1) They were able to connect and load Salesforce data in a matter of minutes; 2) They saw that Domo’s Appstore would allow Degreed to bypass a lot of custom engineering work; and 3) They found the platform to be highly user-friendly.

“A lot of the tools we assessed could do different things, but some of them were more technical-oriented,” Mike said. “Domo is super simple and intuitive—for everybody. If the whole company is comfortable using it, then we’re well positioned for the future.”

What Degreed can do now

A year and a half into its Domo installation, Degreed has managed to not only achieve its aforementioned goals, but adapt to changing conditions and gain rapid business clarity, even in a pandemic that is now in its 10th month.

“The majority of our workforce worked remotely before COVID-19,” Mike said, “but now we’re really able to get the most out of remote work, because everyone can quickly and easily access what they need from anywhere.” 

What’s more, with all the connectors available in the Domo Appstore, Degreed is able to hook into data in a way it never could before.

“There are no limitations to what we can do,” Mike said. “We can not only see what clients are using what products, but to what degree they’re using them, which obviously informs decisions. We even have a card that serves as a really useful—and highly used—employee directory. And the lineage of any card can be traced, so there are no secrets as to where the data is coming from.”

But one of Mike’s favorite Domo features is the mobile-first app, which is also popular with the executive team. “They love it because it’s so convenient,” he said, “and anytime we create charts or dashboards or any type of visual, they’re automatically produced on mobile, as well.”

How to get started

For organizations looking to embark on a digital transformation journey similar to the one Degreed followed and is benefiting from, Mike has four tips:

  • Find out what issues your largest or “loudest” team would most like to get a better handle on
  • Identify a data dashboard every employee would benefit from having access to
  • Install a solution as soon as possible
  • Commit to building on and refining the solution over time

“With Domo, we were basically fully up and running in about a month,” Mike said. “Since then, we’ve made it a priority to implement feedback to make the platform work even better for us. And it does. I would say 90% of our company has used Domo, and about 60% use it routinely. It’s been fun to watch those numbers just continue to go up.”

To learn more about how Degreed leveraged self-service BI to empower a culture of data-driven decision-making, watch the webinar on-demand. To see how other Domo customers have used BI leverage to meet business requests in record time, click here.

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