Gartner research reveals that, ‘90% of corporate strategies will explicitly mention information as a critical enterprise asset and analytics as an essential competency.’ As business professionals, we all know that information is power and today, your business users are expected to know more and to keep pace with industry, market and customer changes that will negatively impact the business or have provide potential opportunities. But how do your team members achieve these goals when they are busier than ever, and the changes are coming more rapidly than ever!
‘Simple, self-serve BI tools can provide your business with the foundation to achieve your goals with features and tools like Social BI, Mobile BI, Embedded BI, etc.’
In this article, we will discuss the topic of modern business intelligence tools and solutions and the advantages of providing self-serve tools to your users for day-to-day analysis and intelligence gathering.
First, let’s look at some of the challenges you will need to consider when implementing self-serve BI tools:
Challenges of Self-Serve BI
- Technology Access and Infrastructure Readiness – Your IT, finance and management teams will need a comprehensive understanding of your current technology and infrastructure, the data hubs, data warehouses and software solutions (legacy, best-of-breed, ERP, etc.) that will provide the foundational data for your users. You will need a plan and a roadmap to integrate these into your business intelligence strategy. A modern, seamless BI solution can provide a simple solution for what might otherwise be a challenging situation. If you can easily integrate your data sources and make them available for data gathering and analytics, your users can leverage the data to report, share and collaborate.
- Team Member Adoption and Understanding – Your team will also need an understanding of the average technology skills of your business users and their willingness to adopt new tools and solutions. If your team members perceive that your BI tools are difficult to use, or if they are not educated on the need for and the benefits of self-serve business intelligence, they are unlikely to adopt the new tools. If, on the other hand, they see the value to their role and how it can make them more productive and streamline their work process; if they see that the solution is easy and intuitive to use, your business is less likely to face the challenges of team reluctance.
There are many other challenges and considerations that should inform your BI tools strategy, but these two are perhaps the most important.
Now, let’s consider some of the many benefits of self-serve business intelligence and how it can support your goals and simplify the lives of your business users:
Benefits of Self-Serve BI
- Social BI – Social BI allows users to champion the use of business intelligence. Power users and those who are curious by nature will create reports, share and collaborate, using easy-to-use tools and thereby encourage others to use the tools and to repurpose report formats etc. to achieve their own goals. Social BI allows business users to share, ‘like’ and perform tasks in a way that is similar to social networking and is therefore popular among business users.
- Mobile BI – Today’s team members often work remotely, or spend a lot of time on the road. By providing self-serve business intelligence that is intuitive to use and accessible on Android and iOS devices, the business can ensure that users will have seamless access and can accomplish tasks, search for information, share and collaborate, without missing a beat!
- Data Democratization and Data Literacy – If you want your team members to grow and add more value, you want to encourage data literacy and ensure data democratization. Move away from restricted data access and sole ownership of analytics by data scientists, IT and business analysts. Provide easy-to-use tools that allow for simple search analytics in a Google-type environment and will make it easier for reluctant business users to embrace your new BI solution and develop new data analytics skills they can use for fact-based decisions.
- User Adoption – There is nothing more frustrating than spending the time and money to implement a new solution, only to find that your users are resistant to using that solution. With true self-serve BI tools and intuitive data visualization, reporting, analytics and access, users will want to adopt the tools and share their discoveries with other team members.
- Embedded BI – If you want to leverage existing technology, improve your Return on Investment (ROI) and Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) for your current solutions and infrastructure, consider that self-serve BI tools can be embedded into existing solutions. With embedded BI with Integration APIs, users can leverage familiar, favorite software solutions in a single sign-on environment, and find information within those solutions without having to learn complicated new techniques or fighting with data silos and transferring data from one place to another.
There are many other advantages to Self-Serve Business Intelligence. This short list should give you some ideas of how you can leverage these tools in your own business landscape.
‘As business professionals, we all know that information is power and today, your business users are expected to know more and to keep pace with industry, market and customer changes that will negatively impact the business or have provide potential opportunities.’
Business Intelligence solutions should include tools and techniques that make it easier to achieve data literacy and provide data analytics access to all business users. Simple, self-serve BI tools can provide your business with the foundation to achieve your goals with features and tools like Social BI, Mobile BI, Embedded BI, etc. Let us help you achieve your vision and improve productivity and insight across the organization.Share