Self-service BI means that the business users can analyse their data and build reports without depending on computer specialists. 1)
The growing need of information to compete on the market against other companies and the increasing information itself need tools, which can be easily used by end-users without a high amount of experience in IT. The benefits of self-service BI towards the traditional BI:
The end users need less help to run special reports, which makes them more flexible and independent from the IT-team or other support.
This allows them to perform faster and be more efficient than with the traditional BI solution. While the business team can do the analytics and other BI tasks mostly on their own, the IT gets relieved and can focus on other tasks.
The users need less training for the software and they need less support, which can save a lot of money. Also the ability to perform faster, can make a significant difference when it comes to find a non-profitable product in the portfolio or find new markets especially on the fast changing internet. 2)
BI-tools must be easy to use and understand: This is essential, when the end users work with the software independently. The user interface should be innovative and comprehensive while the functions shouldn’t be too complex.
Source data must be easy to access: The business user can use the data, BI components and analytics directly without asking the IT.
Results should be easy to manage and shared: The information and reports and analytics can be personalised for the own purpose and can make it easily accessible for other staff members.
The Data Warehouse must be fast and uncomplicated: The BI tools must have a high performance and scalability to adapt to the requirements. 3)
The fact that inexperienced users with little knowledge of the IT can perform difficult analytics and create complex reports can also have a downside. To ensure integrity of the data is much more difficult with the significant more data. The data could be correct, but the accuracy could be complete wrong in the business logic. To avoid such errors in the usage of the tools, there need to be strict rules how to use the data and how to manage the amount of information which is obtained. 4)
While the interface and functions may be easy and clear, it is difficult to have the same amount of capabilities as with the traditional BI without making the tool too complex again. Many tools make top-quality graphics but lack of features for the need of big companies. 5)
If the self-service BI solution is the right decision for a company depends on various indicators:
Large Companies will use more likely a mix off the traditional BI with self-service to cover all their needs. Small and mid-sized companies will profit rather more of the new form of solution because of typically less complexity and information inside the business.
In the near future the amount of self-service BI will make one of the biggest impacts in the category of Business Intelligence with an estimate at rank 2 for 2017. 6)
3) Vgl. Claudia Imhoff and Colin White: “Self-Service Business Intelligence - Empowering Users to Generate Insight”