The 5 Major Benefits of Self-Service BI

Traditional Business Intelligence (BI) systems were not very savvy in terms of providing the insights that employees were actually looking for. Every time they needed to ask questions about their data or generate new reports or update existing ones, they were forced to reach out to the IT department – not only did it cause time lags, but there were also inherent inaccuracies to deal with.

Self-service Business Intelligence and Analytics transforms this scenario by enabling users to make key decisions based on their own queries and analyses. Further, it also saves time for the organization’s business intelligence and information technology (IT) teams, who’d otherwise have to spend a considerable length of time in creating reports.

With self service BI and analytics, these teams can instead focus on other tasks that will enable the organization to achieve its objectives

There are multiple benefits that self service analytics bring to the table:

  • Fast, intuitive responses without any need for specific expertise
  • Eliminates the need to wait for weeks to get answers to queries
  • Users can leverage browser based access from anywhere they have a network connection to get the information they require
  • Require minimal to zero training. Support costs are minimal as well
CIOs and chief data officers implementing traditional BI systems have realized the need to let business users build their own flexible and custom reports and dashboards implementing a Bi Modal BI strategy.

Importance of Self-Service Business Intelligence

Organizations today operate in an era that highly prioritizes data and how it can be used. Decision makers are in constant need for a seamless and fast provision of accurate and real time data. For companies operating in fast-moving spaces such as consumer goods, retail or banking, data-driven decision making becomes particularly important, given how much it impacts revenues and profits.

Research by  Economist Intelligence Unit reported that 60% of business professionals they interviewed feel that data is generating revenue within their organizations.

Data continues to grow at an exponential rate and businesses have to make important decisions in a snap. Decision makers can no longer afford to wait around the IT department to get up to date reports.

Learn More: Power BI and the Shift to Self-Service Business Intelligence

5 Benefits of Self-Service Business Intelligence

Self-Service benefit#1 Single Version of Truth

Self-service business intelligence offers all decision makers access to a consistent and updated version of the data. As opposed to spreadsheets, which only leads to unnecessary complexities and delays by transforming into incompatible versions across a variety of machines, self-service BI enables the unique and consistent flow of data.

Self-service systems for BI also pull together data from systems that are otherwise disparate. This includes accounting, ERP, HR and others.

The conventional process involves manually pulling data together and then trying to make sense of the structured predefined reports from each system. Self-service BI works differently – it lets you merge the data first, and then enables you to generate customized reports based on your needs. So decision makers can focus their time on how to best utilize the insights, rather than spend long hours generating them.

This is quite a giant leap for organizations that traditionally spend their time trying to make sense of spreadsheets and land in tremendous confusion over data accuracy, instead of making meaningful, actionable decisions.

With self-service BI, data from originating systems is automatically pulled and converted into a working data model. It’s particularly important to note that with self-service BI, data is constantly updated, giving decision makers access to a ‘single version of the truth’.

This is important because users can then focus on collaborating and analyzing the insights to make meaningful decisions that impact business outcomes, eliminate waste and optimize existing products and processes. Self-service BI eliminates the detrimental effects of disparate data silos and instead facilitates consistency and transparency, so users can be more productive and effective.

Self-Service benefit#2 Reduced Dependency on IT and MIS Teams

Enterprise data which spans across a variety of areas – such as financial, ERP, HR and MES data – live in multiple computing systems. More often than not, these systems are not integrated effectively – this results in uninformed decisions because users lack a comprehensive view of business operations.

Further, these systems also do not provide details and they also lack ease of usage in identifying problems and exploring new opportunities. When users need specific details or custom reports, users turn to IT and finance departments and find themselves inundated with the burden of addressing these requests.

Self-service BI aggregates data from multiple disparate systems into a single rolled-up report, eliminating effort required from finance and IT departments. Also, delivery of report requires merely browses access – removing the need to install, maintain and administer across each user’s computing system.

As the IT team is freed up, they can focus their time and efforts towards data governance and ensuring that users have constant access to high quality and consistent data sources. It’s a win-win situation for both users and the IT teams, as users get the data they require, allowing them to be more productive and the IT teams can focus on software development that will bring about strategic benefits to the business.

Self-Service benefit#3 Cut Costs

As adoption rate increases, self-service BI platforms can scale with ease and additional server capability can be added without causing any access issues or requiring major IT help. A major value-add that self-service BI tools bring to organizations is eliminating the need for the data warehouse or related database licensing costs. By virtue of this alone, a significant amount of time and expense can be saved on BI projects.

Self-Service benefit#4 Increased Flexibility

Self-service BI, just as the name suggests offers incredible flexibility to users. When utilized properly, with new or existing data, decision-makers can easily create specific reports they need to address key business challenges quickly and effectively.

Self-Service benefit#5 Effortless Decision-Making

In order to run a business effectively, several decisions have to be made day in and out. However, as employees juggle the multiple decisions they have to make every day, they may get exhausted with the amount of effort that goes into it – possibly leading to reduced productivity, missed opportunities and overall poor decision making.

Self-service BI brings about a vital element of effortlessness to the decision-making process – its dashboards, reports and visualizations are designed to help users transform data into meaningful insights immediately and effectively. Since the response times are so quick, users are more likely to spend time focused on the analysis, rather than waste time trying to analyze multiple spreadsheets to arrive at substandard analysis.

Self-service business intelligence services in consumer goods and retail businesses

One of the key capability of our AI-powered trade promotion optimization solution – Compass is to enable revenue management and sales teams generate reports and dashboards without the dependency on the highly-skilled crew like data scientists, MIS or IT personnel. Thereby business teams can measure, analyze and optimize trade promotions with real-time data and up-to-date reports and flexible dashboards.

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