The benefits of self-service BI
IT departments long to be freed from the tedious task of continuous report generation. Moreover, many employees embrace the idea of self-sufficiency when addressing their information needs. However, everyday users may hesitate to embrace self-service BI due to their lack of technical experience. Software development has evolved to cater for all users so self-service business intelligence is more realistic and functional - enabling everyone to benefit.
Self-service business intelligence (SSBI) is a data analytics solution that enables non-technical users to independently access, query, and analyze company data. With the ability to perform their own analyses and generate reports, employees are empowered to quickly make informed decisions based on the facts. This is because self-service BI eliminates the need to rely on IT to generate reports. Consequently, as the company’s IT department is liberated from the demands of report creation, they are free to focus on other vital IT tasks.
It’s easy to use
Roughly 70% of self-service BI users lack the technical skills needed to work with a complex system. Therefore, a self-service BI solution will only be embraced if it is extremely intuitive and user-friendly. Before investing in a solution, it’s best to work with a vendor that offers a free trial or an in-depth demonstration. This way you can fully evaluate the user interface, and ensure your employees can easily query the data and navigate its features without extensive training. Michael Smith, Director of Operations at Johnston Companies who gave Phocas a trial run said, "Five minutes into the demo, I had found items that didn't have the margin I was expecting, customers that didn't have the profitability I was expecting and vendors that weren't performing the way I expected. I realised that we were onto something that would be very impactful to our business."
Because self-service BI collects the data sitting in your various silos and consolidates it in a single repository, users have access to one version of the truth. When piecemeal data are accessed from various sources, various inaccuracies, duplicate data, and other errors occur. Without access to one accurate source of information, it is nearly impossible to make informed, fact-based decisions. Finally, any self-service BI solution you choose should offer customizable security controls for each user. Such controls restrict the user’s access to only the data relevant to their position. This prevents your warehouse team from accessing company financial information, for example.
You cannot break it
Given that the majority of self-service BI users don’t have an extensive technical background, it is essential that they feel comfortable using the solution. When employees realize they cannot break it, or accidentally delete or lose data, they will readily adopt the solution. As they continue to work with it, their confidence in their ability to make consequential decisions will grow. “What makes Phocas great is when you hand someone Phocas, you can tell them, ‘You can’t break this. Hit any button you want, you can’t break what you are looking at,’” said David Lowenstein of Billows Electric Supply. “It makes everyone more comfortable to try something new.”
It frees up your IT team
The primary advantage of self-service BI is freedom from the challenges of traditional IT reporting. Since users of self-service BI can create their own reports using visually engaging charts and graph, your IT department is freed from the constant demands for new reports. Instead, they are able to devote their time to other important IT tasks. For instance, as cybersecurity continues to be a concern in today’s digital age, it is paramount that your IT department can devote the necessary time to ensuring the security of company data, as well as privacy protection.
It empowers your staff
To ability to make fact-based decisions is the most important benefit of self-service BI. This empowers your employees to query data relevant to their job role, and follow their train of thought as they explore trends and find new opportunities. Unlike traditional static reports, your employees are able to independently create and share customized, dynamic reports in just a few clicks.
Implementing a self-service BI solution isn’t as overwhelming or risky as it may seem when you select a top-tier solution. Phocas, for example, has nearly 20 years of experience helping businesses achieve success. Our out-of-the-box solution is designed with visually stunning and user-friendly dashboard so you can begin making data-driven decisions almost immediately.
To learn more about which metrics you can easily keep track of in self-service BI solutions like Phocas, download our eBook by clicking here, or on the button below.
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