Self-Service Business Intelligence
Written by: Shreya Jain
Business Intelligence plays an extremely important role in almost every organization today as it helps transform data into actionable insights. Any organization that leverages data capabilities has a competitive advantage. However, the large volume and velocity of data has rendered traditional BI models to be very time-consuming and inflexible. Self-service Business Intelligence helps companies do away with these issues. Its primary purpose is to provide a single place of truth i.e. easy access to all the data to the business users at a single place.
Kate Strachnyi held a LinkedIn live session with Adam Barrie-Smith, Goncalo Pereira & Scott Duthie, on “Self-Service Business Intelligence”. In this live session, we meet the executives of Pomerol Partners, a data focused consultancy providing companies with strategies for smarter decision making. It’s interesting how the three speakers belong to different backgrounds and hence have different perspectives towards self-service BI. The live session talks about self-service BI from both – the technical and the business viewpoints. The interaction between people, processes and data in an organization must be maintained well to benefit from it.
Self-service BI serves different purposes to different users. It could be used to locate data in the organization, create dashboards, design and deploy reports and queries or conduct analyses to harness insights important to one’s department. It acts as a link between the technical and non-technical users in any organization, making the non-technical users self-sufficient and relieving the excess pressure off the IT department of an organization.
For self-service BI to be successful in an organization, executive sponsorship is necessary. The vision of data-driven decision making must be shared by everyone in the organization, right from the top-level executives to the managers and employees. Additionally, governance is the central aspect of a company’s culture which plays an integral role in its success. When people with different mindsets and training backgrounds interact with each other, proper guidelines must be in place to glue everyone and everything together well. Data Literacy also plays a crucial role as users must be able to comprehend the data and dashboards that they are provided access to. It allows them to adapt the reports to provide specific insights tailored to their roles and needs.
The field of self-service BI has seen immense growth in the last few years, but it faces a few challenges too. Firstly, it is important to understand the expectations of the users and what their definition of self-service is. Secondly, robust processes should be in place to merge the technical department with the different functions and create a balance between the two. Thirdly, every organization must have data in a systematic format, it must be regularly updated and cleaned, and a data catalog must be maintained.
True service business Intelligence can only be achieved when the expectations of the users are understood and managed well by creating processes that allow all the users to use data effectively and efficiently to serve their needs.