Self Service BI: Why You Need it
Bangalore: BI Solutions have only been available traditionally to the executives largely because there was a need for intervention from IT professionals to design and produce reports.
In the present day, the need for business intelligence has extended into the realm of all knowledge workers including sales professionals, marketers, financial analysts, IT professionals, and virtually anyone who relies on timely, accurate information to make decisions. Thanks in no small part to the self-service solutions that have become popular; BI is more accessible than ever before.
A Forrester paper commissioned by SAP entitled, “Self-Service: An Essential Capability of BI” discusses this. This result is based on interviews conducted with 30 professionals in several industries within the US, UK, India, and Singapore, in which Forrester asked about usage requirements, patterns, and challenges of modern office workers.
Today’s knowledge workers are increasingly forced to rely on themselves for most of their information needs and consequently spend too much time looking for data. This indicates that they have information needs which are not fully addressed by earlier-generation BI applications. They could greatly benefit from an intuitive, search-like interface that requires minimal training. There is a need for self-service BI solutions that require minimal IT support.
The Forrester study recognized a variety of opportunities and use cases for self-service BI, including:
Sales: The Forrester study emphasized on business opportunities for sales operations, sales managers, and individual relationship managers. It discovered that, “Respondents were all very enthusiastic and quick to identify with the benefits they would receive with a self-service BI platform.”
Marketing: Forrester found that, “All marketing organizations are collecting all kinds of metrics and data, but most still struggle to connect the dots between the information collected and real business value.” This was based on surveying a number of key marketing professionals, including campaign managers, product marketing managers, and pricing mangers.
Finance: The survey also included auditors, business analysts, and business liaisons. Forrester observed that, “These business people are certainly finding big savings opportunities across the matrix, but the level of effort to collect the information to perform the analysis are extremely difficult. In some cases, it can take days to find all of the right information to analysis a cross-functional process.”
Forrester also made a few recommendations about picking the appropriate BI solution which can:
1. Run and lightly customize canned reports and dashboards.
2. Execute ad hoc queries.
3. Add calculated measures to existing reports.
4. Allow users to collaborate.
As per Forrester, more than half of the businesses that participated in the survey, consider new BI tools to be a high or critical priority for the next 12 months. Self-service has become important for staying ahead in the game.
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