Self Service BI – 5 lessons from the Supermarkets

Self-service-BI

From fast food chains to supermarket, the world had been using more self-service. Self-service is there in the corporate too in the form of the many Employee Self Service applications. Self-service BI however is just catching up.

While doing this weekend’s grocery shop, I saw some interesting parallels between the supermarket and Acuvate’s successful self-service BI implementations using products like Birst, PowerBI and Qlik.

Here is why self-service BI isn’t very different and what we can learn from the supermarkets.

  1. The supermarket way of self-service relies heavily on the store design which helps people find the products and pick them easily. Similarly, for a successful self-service BI roll-out, you’ll need to invest in people & processes that provide the right data models and the tools to query them.
  2. The store design alone isn’t good enough. The many store managers and stockists make sure the products are available on the shelves. The BI equivalent of this – jobs and data mashups that bring data from different sources together. Make sure you have people monitoring these so that your users always find what they want.
  3. The supermarket’s job doesn’t end when the items are on the shelf. There are people available to assist when you shop. You can always ask a friendly person where to find an item; they also assist you with bulky items and items on the top rack that are difficult to reach. In a similar way it is important to make sure you have help at hand for your self-service BI users and the ability to handle any complex reporting needs.
  4. Not everyone likes to look around and use the self-service. The people that regularly do their groceries in-store may want a home delivery once in a while too. Make sure your self-service BI implementation can still cater to canned reports and alerts.
  5. The supermarkets also cater to the smartphone generation that prefers using their phone to click and collect. Make sure you let them use your self-service BI platform on their phone!

These 5 items can be easily implemented by creating a Centre of Excellence for your BI journey. The CoE can help deliver the right value of the technology platform through specific delivery framework, readiness in latest evolution in the platform and the experience of delivering many BI projects.

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