With more and more push on cutting cost, increasing productivity making right decisions it is becoming important that managers make information driven decisions. Most of the decisions that need to be made can be instantaneous and are often require some kind of filtering or drill down on the information in hand. Reports provided by IT are static, if there are and to get exactly what you need you might have to go through information request and there can be a big time until the requested information comes back. That is the reason there is a need for non-technical managers to have access to analytical solutions and respond to changing market situations within time.
Exploration Analytics or Data Discovery is the new wave in Business Intelligence. The way it has been working or used to work is that IT generated reports for the end users but with desire to find more and more information to be able to cut back on waste or resources there are more and more requests for different view of same data or with slightly different data or what if this filter is applied. It will lead to lot of waste of time and resources between passing on requests between end users and IT. Which also contributes to the reason that many companies and manager still want to stick to low capable Excel.
Myth: You will give a tool to user and he can start using it in no little time like a web browser. An interesting example that I heard yesterday was of Office 2003
Now with the self service BI, the main objective is BI for everyone give data and easy to use tool to everyone and let them play with it and explore and analyze himself
- Bring Business Intelligence information to non-technical user
- Let business user explore and find never-realized-information
- Create, collaborate and share information
- Less burden on IT
- Less time and resources spent on information
According to Aberdeen’s research, In best in class companies 81% if users have access to BI and it is 2.4 times more likely to have BI initiatives driven from Line of Business manager.
Key features to look for, in your serf service BI tool:
- Business oriented ETL, minimal training required
- Data connectors
- Ease of use
- Minimal programming
- Customizable BI reports and dashboards templates
- Ability to publish information
- Easy to use prompts and filters
- Preferably zero foot print browser based access
While small business and midsize companies would be able to serve most of their needs using tools like Qlikview, Tibco Spotfire and Tableau but big organizations with Terrabyte and Petabyte of data and already having a legacy or more enterprise and scalable BI solution in place can benefit by adding one of these self service tools or visualization and data exploration. Other data discovery tools worth considering are Advizor, Lyzasoft and Endeca.