Self-service access to data leads to most successful BI deployments: Forbes

self-service BI

The most successful BI deployments are significantly more likely to provide business users with direct access to analytics, modelling, and visualisation solutions, according to results from a global survey sponsored by visual analytics leader, Qlik, in association with Forbes Insights.

To that end, nearly 60 per cent of survey respondents said their companies plan to accelerate investment in self-service BI capabilities and 54 per cent said they are pursuing a centre of excellence to improve their self-service capabilities.

Almost two-thirds of survey respondents said they believe that self-service data analysis creates significant competitive advantage, while half said this approach can reveal valuable insights. More than half said their BI environment provides a significant or very significant degree of self-service.

The study, which surveyed almost 450 senior IT and business professionals in March, found that nearly 20 per cent of respondents saw the biggest challenge to enabling self-service is in combining data from various sources, while 14 per cent said it is ensuring data security. An effective data governance model is key to the success of a self-service model, according to respondents.

“Gathering and mining more and more data will not lead to better decisions,” said Frank Kozurek, head of business intelligence, National Express. “BI that isn’t fundamentally self-service driven is not intelligence at all.”

The research found that 54 per cent of respondents viewed improving data visualisation as a strategic imperative; 40 per cent said self-service data analysis models create a significant competitive advantage; and 53 per cent said distributed, self-service enables end users to develop more visually compelling analysis. Self-service benefits most frequently cited were improvements in identifying business opportunities (69 per cent), optimised or dynamic pricing (65 per cent) and gauging productivity (63 per cent).

Nearly three in four respondents said they are now directing their IT departments to work more closely with business units, and 62 per cent said that line managers need to take significant steps to become more data literate. Highest value is seen to be created today in finance (67 per cent), sales (61 per cent), marketing (60 per cent) and compliance (60 per cent).