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Self-Service Data Analytics Is Transforming BI

New survey links BI success and self-service data solutions.

Are you investing in self-service data solutions? According to a recent study, if your business intelligence program is succeeding, you probably are.

For most of the time that business intelligence (BI) has been a field, it has been specialized. Trained data analysts would dive into what average business users saw as a mysterious place of data and come back with trends, recommendations, and reports.

Self-service solutions are changing everything.

Organizations are giving users across every part of their enterprise the opportunity to look for their own data, come to their own conclusions, and find valuable insights applicable to their day-to-day work. Because these insights come from average users, a data analyst, no matter how highly trained, might not have even known to look for them.

In fact, enterprises with the most successful BI programs are much more likely to be using self-service data analytics according to a recent study released today from Qlik and Forbes Insights. Almost two-thirds (63 percent) of their respondents believe that self-service data analytics creates “significant competitive advantage.”

For Further Reading:

5 Rules for Successful Self-Service Analytics

Creating Self-Service Organizations with Data Catalogs

3 Best Practices for Implementing Self-Service Data Preparation

The study surveyed 449 senior IT and business unit executives from various industries around the world. Those respondents with a high level of BI expertise were the most likely to already be using a distributed model and the most likely to be seeing a significant return on their analytics work.

Applying the distributed model allows the people closest to business challenges to develop their own dashboards and perform their own analytics. Most self-service solutions provide data visualization tools, and according to study respondents, one of the top five benefits of the distributed model is clearer, more intuitive visualizations and presentations.

These highly relevant dashboards and visualizations benefit the bottom line in many industries. Self-service analytics is identifying opportunities, revealing fraud, optimizing processes, and cutting costs, all because the people in a position to act on a data insight have access to the tools to quickly discover that insight.

Respondents to the Qlik/Forbes survey believed that every single business function except finance should be using more self-service data analytics. (Finance groups are already using self-service at a high level.)

That is not to say that self-service solutions don’t have problems. Twenty percent of respondents report that they are having challenges combining data from different sources, and 15 percent are concerned about data security in the distributed model. Effective data governance is crucial for organizations looking to move to this model, not only because of security, but also because users need to be confident that they have access to all the data applicable to their questions.

Fully 53 percent of the survey respondents believe that their companies are “falling behind” when it comes to BI. They might be over- or underestimating their competitors’ systems, of course, but the pace of change today is clearly causing fewer companies to remain confident in their current systems. Only around 20 percent of respondents are currently very satisfied with how complete, timely and accurate their data is.

Organizations around the world are embracing self-service data analytics to provide faster, more accurate, more applicable data insights. Despite the challenges, 82 percent of companies report that they are moving toward a more distributed model, and 57 percent say they plan to accelerate their investment in self-service BI.

Self-service analytics is clearly in your competitor’s plan. Are you ready?

About the Author

Lindsay Stares is a production editor at TDWI. You can contact her at lstares@tdwi.org.


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