The amount of data that businesses are collecting is growing at an increasing rate. The more this amount of data grows, the greater the need to access, organize, and report on the insights gathered.
These needs are placing a higher demand on IT departments, but self-service BI tools are helping bear this burden. Self-service BI creates a way for users to generate their own insights and reports, so the valuable time of IT employees is spent on other critical areas of the business.
What is self-service BI?
Self-service BI is a term used to describe the ability of business users to access and analyze data on their own terms. It is a way to empower business users to make data-driven decisions.
Self-service BI tools enable users to build custom dashboards or reports without having to continually rely on IT for support. These tools are intuitive and easy to use—even non-technical employees can navigate them successfully.
Traditional vs. self-service BI
Self-service BI tools are part of a new approach to business intelligence (BI) in which users have more control over their own data and analytics. Self-service BI is a form of user-driven BI in which users take on the roles traditionally filled by experts. User-driven BI can also be called self-service analytics or self-service reporting—these terms refer to the same idea: giving more analytical power to end users.
The old way of doing things was slow, because only IT staff had access to enterprise databases and could write code that accessed those databases directly. This meant that if you wanted any kind of report from your organization’s data, you had to wait for IT to generate a report for you, which could take a long time.
Today’s organizations need faster turnaround times than this. They need real-time access at all levels so everyone can make decisions based on fresh data rather than outdated reports.
What are the benefits of self-service BI?
In addition to giving business users access to data and analytics tools, self-service BI also enables them to make data-driven decisions. That’s because they have the ability to analyze their own data and turn that analysis into insights that help them make smarter business decisions.
Other benefits of self-service BI include the following:
IT resource efficiency
Self-service BI is much cheaper than traditional BI, which means it can be implemented across an entire business without requiring extensive IT budgets or support staff. And since you don’t need a dedicated team of IT professionals for each department or team that uses the tool, self-service BI enables cost savings by reducing overhead costs related to maintaining IT systems, like servers and software licenses.
Self-service BI tools provide users with the ability to access data quickly and easily. This means your business users can make decisions based on real-time data rather than having to wait for IT to give them access to data. With self-service BI tools, you can give your business users the power to analyze their own data through custom dashboards and visualizations. With so many different requests, the ability to garner new insights and come up with innovative ideas expands exponentially.
Self-service BI is built to help you make better decisions. It’s a tool that can help you answer questions more quickly and accurately with less need for human intervention.
By putting your data in the hands of more people, self-service BI makes it easier for everyone to access the information they need when they need it—not just those few who are able to access it through manual processes or expensive tools.
This creates a company culture that is comfortable with data-driven insights. Instead of shying away from this initiative, they embrace it wholeheartedly because they get practical experience in making data work for their functions or departments.
The goal of self-service BI tools is to give your company a competitive advantage. This can be achieved in several ways by leveraging your organization’s data through real-time analyses. In fact, there are five main advantages that companies can achieve with these tools: cost savings, speed to market, customer satisfaction, employee satisfaction, and better decision-making. All of which makes your business more streamlined, automated, and flexible to current market demands.
Is integrating self-service BI easy?
Integrating modern self-service BI is relatively easy compared to other enterprise-level enhancements, but there are some pitfalls you need to watch out for during this process.
Many business users are not interested in learning about new technology. They don’t want to spend time learning about new technology because they’re too busy with other work. They’re also not keen on spending money on something that they think will be obsolete in a few years’ time, so they prefer to use their existing tools and systems until they absolutely have to move on to something better.
You also need to be aware of data security, privacy, and ethics issues when implementing self-service BI tools. Every business that stores customer data, from a small business with a loyalty program to a massive hospital with medical information, must implement stringent protections on personal identifiable information (PII).
The importance of visualizations in self-service BI
If you’re a self-service BI tool user, the first thing you’ll notice about it is that it is a visual tool. The dashboards and reports are all interactive, allowing you to explore your data in new and exciting ways. This is great because visualization allows us to understand our data much faster than reading numbers off of a spreadsheet or report. In fact, research has shown that it takes only seconds for people to understand something when it’s presented visually rather than textually.
Visualizations can also help us make decisions faster by helping us narrow down large amounts of data into smaller chunks that are easier for us to digest. For example, if we want to know what items contributed most heavily toward revenue growth during the month of January but don’t have time to manually look through a spreadsheet, visualizations can help generate those numbers quickly so we can get quick answers and move on to other important tasks.
Giving stakeholders the power
The purpose of self-service BI is to give authorized users access to data, but that’s only part of the story. It’s also about empowering users with tools they can use on their own terms.
By giving everyone involved in a business or organization access to relevant data, self-service BI tools help make things happen. The more people who have access to information and can make decisions based on it, the more innovative the organization will be.
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