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What is Self-Service Business Intelligence?

  • Hrithik Saini
  • Jan 01, 2022
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The availability of data collected by today's enterprises is continually increasing. As a result, there is a rising demand for decision-makers to efficiently translate raw data into meaningful insights.


However, as it evolves over time, more and more individuals within your business want access to data in order to be productive and effective at their jobs. And here is where self-service BI comes into play.


In this post, we will answer the issue of what self-service BI is, present a comparison of conventional and self-service BI, and list the tools that the BI system must include in order to deliver excellent business outcomes.


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Self-Service Business Intelligence: Definition


Self-service business intelligence (BI) is a data analytics technique that allows business users to access and examine data sets even if they have no prior experience with BI or similar operations such as data mining and statistical analysis


Self-service BI technologies enable users to filter, organise, analyse, and display data without consulting the BI and IT staff of a business.


Organizations use self-service BI features to make it simpler for employees ranging from CEOs to front-line workers to gain relevant business insights from data stored in BI systems. 


The fundamental purpose is to encourage more informed decision-making, which leads to beneficial corporate objectives such as enhanced efficiency, improved customer satisfaction, and improved revenue and profitability.



Traditional BI Vs Self-Service BI


Traditional BI relates to the procedure of transforming data points into commodities that can be utilised to make informed business choices. While self-service business intelligence empowers end consumers to switch data-driven insights into resources, conventional BI operations are managed by the IT team or specialist business intelligence analysts.


This implies that if a user requires particular reports or widgets, they must demand data reports or bespoke dashboards and wait for the IT staff or BI professionals to supply the data, which may also take anywhere between a few hours to a few days. 


As one might assume, this inefficient method frustrates employees and causes delays in supplying the information required for choices to be taken.


Three Agile Self-Service BI Concepts


These three concepts are the best-kept secret of agile self-service business intelligence:


  1. Give the appropriate individuals the appropriate set of tools and competencies.


  1. Establish a collaborative atmosphere.


  1. Create a methodology to control how this cooperation leads to continual analytics improvement.


If these standards are maintained, each of your personas — such as the marketing leader, the CEO, or the data engineer — will be able to successfully employ analytics and BI. 


The marketing executive has the instruments they need to delve into relevant data and utilise it to enhance the way her team works. The CEO may refer to high-level insights without becoming mired down by team-level data. 


To simulate what the boss requires, an individual contributor may quickly produce fresh insights, calculations, or even upload additional data sets. 


Finally, an administration with an engineer's discipline and a feel for software life cycle management ensures that good ideas are brought to production promptly and on schedule while achieving specific quality requirements.


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Benefits of Self-Service BI


  1. Improved utilisation of BI and IT assets


Self-service BI liberates an organization's BI and IT teams from producing the bulk of queries, visualisations, dashboards, and analyses because business users may perform their own ad hoc analyses. 


This frees them up to focus on higher-value objectives and duties requiring more technical abilities, such as filtering data sets for business users and developing complicated queries.


  1. Data analysis and decision-making 


This may be completed more quickly. Self-service capabilities aid in the reduction of bottlenecks in BI projects by transferring analytical work to business users rather than a small number of BI specialists. This, in turn, speeds corporate processes since users can examine data more rapidly and then make judgments and take actions.


  1. Data-Driven Organisation


Self-service solutions may assist develop a completely data-driven environment in both the C-suite and company operations as more business leaders, managers, and employees use BI tools.


  1. Competitive Advantages


The increased use of statistics and rapid choice can make an organisation more agile world in general, which can help it create or sustain a competitive advantage in the marketplace – especially if its use of self-service techniques is more considerable and fruitful than similar efforts by competitors.


  1. Improves Day-to-Day Workflow


When self-service BI is enabled in your digital business management software, everyone in the team can easily build tasks from information and collaborate on them. The activities that result from data analysis and interpretation are an important element of the process. 


However, with the support of a business management tool, you didn't have to think about this since you can set a task in a matter of a few seconds, ensuring that you haven't overlooked anything vital that has to be addressed.


  1. Utilize Actionable Insights


Every member of your team, in every division, has easy access to and analysis of essential data. Marketers may use data analysis to better understand their clients' demands. End-users may view and comprehend the data they need with the guidance of self-service BI tools. 


Leveraging actionable insights facilitates your team's use of data and improves production processes, as well as makes the transition from insights to action simple.



The Challenges of Self-Service Business Intelligence


Organizations face a variety of obstacles while deploying self-service BI. The following are some of the obstacles and bottlenecks to a successful self-service strategy:


  1. Adoption by corporate users is low


Self-service BI settings, like traditional BI environments, can be stifled by opposition from company leaders and managers who want to continue making choices based on their own expertise and intuition. Self-service BI apps with unfriendly user interfaces may also impede user adoption.


  1. Analytical results that are inaccurate


Due to inadequate data sets or data mistakes that are not recognised and corrected, self-service queries might return inaccurate results. 


If different users work with different editions of the same data or filters and process it for study in various ways, there is a danger of inconsistency. These difficulties can lead to misunderstandings about BI results and, ultimately, poor decision-making.


  1. Concerns about data security & confidentiality


The increased data access provided by self-service BI might be problematic if adequate data security safeguards and an appropriate data governance framework are not implemented. 


Unauthorized users, for example, might get access to sensitive data, or data could be exploited in ways that violate data privacy legislation and business ethical standards.


  1. Deployments without supervision


Without some sort of centralised monitoring and management by the BI team, self-service BI settings can become chaotic. When business divisions adopt BI tools according to their own, inconsistent data silos, different BI tools, and uncontrolled costs can make scaling self-service capabilities difficult.


To prevent or conquer such issues, a company must first develop a well-thought-out BI strategy, which includes a sound BI architecture that specifies technology and regulatory standards. 


These fundamental factors can assist in ensuring that the business has the necessary data sets and technology to allow enterprise-wide adoption of self-service BI solutions.



How Do You Develop a Self-Service BI Approach?


A strong plan is required for an effective self-service BI adoption. We will provide some pointers on how to implement a self-service BI strategy to help your organization's workflow, but keep in mind that each company requires a customized plan. Here are some things to bear in mind:


Utilization Ease


First and foremost, you should seek an easy-to-use identity BI solution. Remember that the goal of self-service BI is to be utilised by those who lack technical skills and experience working with data. It must be user-friendly and have an easy-to-use interface.


Establish Roles and Responsibilities


One of the best practices for self-service business intelligence is assigning roles and duties to distinct users. You determine which critical business users will have accessibility to your BI system, what data users will be able to observe, what activities they will be able to execute, and which functions they will be able to utilise.


Assist in User Adoption


Users, like any new programme, require some time to become used to it, how it operates, and what specific features it has. With this in hand, you might like to consider creating some teamwork introduction and educational materials. This will be quite beneficial to your team members who are fresh to the field of analytics.


Allow Employees to Tell Data-Driven Stories


If data is not comprehended and persuasive, nobody will ever act on it, and nothing will happen. That is why data-driven storytelling is so effective. It enables users to make tales using the insights supplied by their BI tools so that everyone can comprehend what the data is saying to us.


(Also read - 10 Business Intelligence Trends of 2022)


Mobile Matters


The goal of Mobile Matters BI is to have the correct data at the right moment to make the right decisions. In today's world, it means that users should be able to gather information at any time and from any place, which necessitates the usage of mobile devices. 


If you really want you and business users to have enough corporate insights at your fingertips, a mobile BI solution is an advantageous option. It boosts productivity, accelerates judgement, and gives you an edge over your rivals.

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