The Importance of Self Service with Data Discovery Tools

Mar 23, 2016
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When it comes to business intelligence, self-service is an approach to data analytics that plays a crucial and incredibly beneficial role within an enterprise since it allows for no-wait decision-making. No-wait decision-making is a huge contributor for a company’s bottom-line. Self-service allows business users to retrieve, interact and collaborate with company information without having to contend with unnecessary IT intervention. Thanks to self-service, IT personnel can focus their efforts on more large-scale responsibilities that benefit the entire enterprise, such as setting up the data warehouse and data marts underpinning the BI system, for example, while other team-members can work more strategically and efficiently. Quality data preparation tools are imperative to the independence of business users and integrated tools allow users to operate, analyze, change and calculate data sets quickly using GUI’s to alternate between data prep and visualization screens with a click.
BI is becoming increasingly intermeshed with self-service which should come as no surprise since it allows data analysis to become far more streamlined and keeps companies optimally responsive, efficient and agile. Self-service data-discovery tools allow decision-makers to tap the information they require which enhances their success. Self-service also helps a company to realize reduced administrative burdens, shortened timelines and the emergence of deeper insights.


Self-service acts as an enterprise’s coveted ally for several reasons:

1: The Consumption and Enhancement of BI Becomes Simplified
Self-service business intelligence (SS BI) enriches the business environment since discovering, retrieving and sharing information reports and analytics can be accomplished with extraordinary ease. Personalized dashboards and automated BI capabilities allow for data to become readied for any user’s specific situations. Additionally, data is offered in a user-friendly configuration and can be delivered to a device and user- interface, according to the user’s preference.
The natural by-product of self-service, within the realm of BI, is the fact that decisions and responses are faster and more precise. A user’s insight becomes deeper and more qualified by way of interactions such as entering feedback on analytic results or models or identifying information such as external links and other germane information that directly impact the workings of the business. Having this information presented in a simplified format gives the user advantages that increase workflow and usability. An intuitive graphical interface allows the user to enjoy a point-and-click configuration in which they can zoom and pan allowing them to isolate smaller sections of data to more easily analyze and edit it. Visual data flows simplify navigation and increase workflow by making any step instantly accessible to view data outputs and make needed edits. Finally, data lineage will allow users to highlight a data element and track its origins during the assembly process.

2: BI Tools Become Easy to Use
Without question, the tools that generate BI results simply must be user-friendly. Not every staff member will be exceptionally tech-savvy; and because of this, self-service allows even a rookie, at any time, to select reports, retrieve required data and create analyses with seamless ease—when and where any of it is needed.
Self-service has an innate way of enhancing morale and productivity. Even though self-service is purposed with high-tech analytics in mind, it is also designed to be successfully used by any team-member since more-complicated analytics are easy to employ, create and publish. Frustration, especially among less-tech-savvy information workers, can be minimized when users are dealing with sophisticated analytics that would, otherwise, be complicated and demanding to construct. Feelings of personal success and achievement breed productivity and enhanced success within the entire enterprise. Please note that proper data preparation tools are paramount in the execution of a user friendly interface.

3: Changes in Business and IT Backlog are Comprehensively Addressed
Business changes are as predictable as taxes; and self-service meets those changes by enabling users to construct analyses, reports and data sets that cater to individual needs. A virtually-perfect scenario is created where the enterprise can choose the necessary BI components to assess the existing business climate and make decisions that are applicable for the time being and make swift and decisive assessments as business changes emerge. Self-service thoroughly addresses business change, IT backlog and the need for a business to be analytics-driven.
As many already know, IT backlogs only serve to cause late deliveries of new reports or queries; and when slow deliveries consume far too much time, business users feel the angst. When this takes place, users may choose to bypass IT and can make hurried, premature BI decisions. This, in turn, can cause incongruent sources of data and content to emerge; and this can be costly. All this can be eliminated when self-service BI is in place that allows business users to create their own analyses, while optimizing efficiency.
In the end, IT can concentrate on more comprehensive endeavors such as incorporating new technologies to enhance business performance. IT becomes viewed by business users as an ally rather than an obstacle now that discovery tools are being offered with embedded intelligence that aids data preparation tasks changing the way organizations leverage data for decisions.
It makes perfect sense that business users would prefer to create their own reports as opposed to playing the waiting game with IT. Some business users insist on no IT intervention, at all, so they can take advantage of unregulated access to data and immediately use it, as it becomes available. Self-service BI is a huge contributor in a company’s success since it all goes back to how users react to critical and essential data. Users want to be competitive and make sound decisions partly because they know their job security is included in the mix. Self-service is an integral component of the decision-making process, allowing conclusions and assessments to be optimally sound—and that is good for business!


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Mike Miranda writes about enterprise software and covers products offered by software companies like rocket software about topics such as Terminal Emulation, Legacy Modernization, Enterprise Search, Big Data, Data Discovery, Enterprise Mobility and more.