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IT's Role in Personal, Self-Service Analytics and Discovery

Personal, self-service analytics and discovery is one of the most important trends not only in business intelligence (BI) but in user applications generally. Expensive, monster systems that have big footprints and are not flexible to meet dynamic business needs are increasingly viewed by users as legacy. Rather than work with monolithic, one-size-fits-all applications that are dominated by IT management and development, users today want freedom and agility. They do not want to wait weeks or months for changes; they want to tailor reporting, analysis, and data sharing to their immediate and often changing needs.


I recently wrote a TDWI Checklist Report on this topic. The report offers seven steps toward personal, self-service BI and analytics success, from taking new approaches to gathering user requirements to implementing in-memory computing, visualization, and enterprise integration. I hope you find this Checklist Report useful in your BI and analytics technology evaluations and deployments.


An important conclusion in the report is that perhaps ironically, IT data management is absolutely critical to the success of personal, self-service analytics and discovery. Nowhere is this truer than with enterprise data integration. Business users often require a mix of different types of data, including structured, detailed data, aggregate or dimensional data, and semi-structured or unstructured content. In addition, given that it is doubtful that users will give up their spreadsheets any time soon, systems must be able to import and export data and analysis artifacts to and from spreadsheets. Assembling and orchestrating access to such diverse data sources must not be left up to nontechnical users.


Thus, even as users celebrate the trend toward personal, self-service analytics and discovery, its success hinges on IT’s data management prowess to ensure data quality, enterprise integration, security, availability, and ultimately, business agility with information. 

Posted by David Stodder on June 28, 2012


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