5 Major Benefits Of Self-Service Business Intelligence
The article is originally posted here.
IT departments crave freedom from the monotonous work of non-stop report generation. Not to mention that many employees appreciate the idea of self-sufficiency when addressing their information needs. Besides, data continues to grow dramatically and businesses have to make important decisions in an instant. Decision-makers can no longer wait around the IT department to get the latest reports. That’s when the time comes for Self-Service BI (SSBI). It requires no coding expertise, which makes it simple to run queries and create reports, enabling everyone to benefit.
Traditional BI VS Self-Service BI
Traditional Business Intelligence services count on IT teams to reveal insights from data. For a person who doesn’t know SQL and has no experience in data engineering, it becomes impossible to benefit from business analytics and business intelligence solutions to the full extent. Since there are only a few people in a company who have control over data, business users often have to wait for ages for their reports to be done or settle for less with spreadsheets and static presentations. In contrast, self-service BI tools make the process of running queries and creating reports much easier. These are platforms that let people with no-matter-what technical background explore and make use of data on their own. Here are the major differences between traditional and self-service approaches:
Benefits of Self-Service BI
1. Independence from IT departments
The main advantage of self-service BI is freedom from the problems of traditional IT reporting. From the moment SSBI is implemented in a company, users can create their own reports without involving IT staff in the process. However, the notion of independence may seem pretty generic and overly abstract. Let’s take a look at what it entails:
- Increased agility and flexibility.
When it comes to self-service, business users gain the level of agility they’ve never had before. With self-service BI intuitive tools, predefined templates, and dashboard objects, ordinary users get the possibility — unprecedented until recently — to create ad-hoc reports by themselves and share them among other employees. Yet, SSBI functionality is not limited to the creation of reports only. Users can also adapt the reports to their own needs, changing the information and visualizing key indicators in the most relevant way. Besides, self-service functions help users with data integration. When data from external sources, such as Excel spreadsheets, flat files, etc., needs to be integrated into reports, it can be done easily and swiftly.
- Improved and faster decision-making.
Efficient decision-making is impossible without understanding the story behind the numbers. Dashboards full of analytics that is hardly relevant to your question can’t be of much help. Meanwhile, SSBI software encourages end-users to better understand the underlying data and interact with it more effectively.
Your business can only benefit from timely decisions, whereas problems that aren’t handled in time can cost notably for the company. Unfortunately, a good number of employees get the required reports from IT departments behind schedule. With self-service BI, users no longer have to wait for data teams to deal with their requests. Instead, they can get all the necessary information whenever they need it and make accurate decisions, based on that information.
- Reduction of IT workload.
Data experts’ special skills and experience shouldn’t be spent on routine tasks over important projects. Thanks to SSBI, things like ad-hoc reports can be easily generated by business users themselves, while an IT team can finally allocate time for company’s pivotal issues. To sustain steady development, it’s necessary to not only answer immediate questions but be able to find the answers to big-picture questions. Thus, improve the company’s overall strategy because that’s what moves business forward.
2. Expanded access to data
With the emergence of self-service BI, data stopped being the exceptional prerogative of technical elites. Providing non-technical users with an opportunity to analyze data and make decisions based on it is a huge step in the direction of a data-driven culture. It’s natural that the more employees have access to accurate and precise information — often referred to as a single source of truth — the lower are the odds of making bad decisions on all the company’s levels. And bad decisions can cost you the game.
3. Ease of use
As long as the aim of self-service BI is meeting business users’ requirements — and technical skills, let’s be honest, are not their strong suit — the solution must be truly intuitive and feasible. A good solution empowers your employees to easily query data relevant to their job role and navigate its features without extensive business intelligence and analytics training.
Having a single source of truth and easy access to data for all the employees inspires collaboration, which results in a powerful synergy. It happens because when representatives of different units come together they see the big picture and address the issues holistically. Indeed, context brings more accuracy to problem-solving and allows teams to make decisions faster than they used to when staying focused solely on their individual segments. In addition, efficient collaboration strengthens your teams. People become more invested as they see the impact of their individual contributions to a common success.
5. Lower costs
As long as the cost of BI software licenses and related hardware is easy to count, it tends to be the primary focus for business people who are thinking about its implementation. At the same time, the expenditure on IT staff to maintain traditional business intelligence systems might be overlooked. Organizations that use a self-service approach in delivering analytics spend way less on IT support per BI user than those who do without self-service. Such cost reduction is possible thanks to the balance of duties. Shifting the responsibilities for simple analytics tasks from technical specialists to business users is beneficial for both. It allows the IT team to concentrate on more important areas and improve the overall efficiency by doing the things they’ve always been meant to. Whereas business users feel more committed to the projects they work on.
Moreover, self-service BI platforms can be easily scaled without major IT help, which contributes to cost savings as well.
Strengthen Your Company’s Data Culture
Self-service tools alone meet only half of the analytics challenge. At the end of the day, it’s about the people who use them. However, smart business intelligence and data analytics practices encourage people within the organization to better utilize their skills and experience, align their decisions with the company’s goals, and prevent them from making bad choices.
Don’t delay your journey towards a data-driven culture! Reach out to our BI experts.