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How data discovery can empower your team

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How data discovery can empower your team

Dashboards and self-service BI are fairly recent developments of in the Business Intelligence (BI) industry. Early on, reports were typically static, and only had the information IT was able to / chose to provide, regardless of whether it met the requirements of key business users.

David White of The Aberdeen Group, in his paper on Data Visualisation, noted that management information was delivered in the form of static reports that were devoid of any interaction. Back then, the traditional form of BI, better known as managed reporting, was considered to be on IT’s ‘turf’.

Anything IT gave to the business user was all they got. David refers to this as the Ford Model T era of BI. Henry Ford was notorious for saying, “Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black.” This era of Business Intelligence believed that business users were told they could get any report they want, as long as corporate IT has already developed it.

But the BI world has evolved rapidly. And we are now in an industry that can deliver Mobile Business Intelligence and Self-Service Business Intelligence. As key business users demand better access to data and analytics, the need for self-service BI soars. Gone are the days when employees want to wait for IT to action their request. Now, they want efficiency, and that comes with the ability to access data, alter specifications and generate exactly the reports they need.

In the quest for self-service BI, businesses have been introduced to Visual Data Discovery. As defined by The Aberdeen Group, visual data discovery is “A rich, highly interactive, visual tool provided to business users to allow them to manipulate and explore information directly”. Whilst business users themselves hold the reins to create and access different views of data, corporate IT is still involved in certain areas.

Visual data discovery are several steps ahead of traditional managed reporting and dashboards. With managed reporting, the information presented is quite rigid and changes need to be made by IT. With dashboards, although users can interact with data and have better graphical representations of their data, they are still heavily reliant on IT to complete the projects. Visual data discovery essentially empowers managers with the simplicity to create reports the way they need it, even though it’s not completely off IT’s hands.

In their 2013 survey of 29 organisations using visual data discovery, The Aberdeen Group uncovered the following analytics benefits:

  • 86% of visual data discovery users were able to get access to timely information, as compared to 67% of users without visual data discovery
  • Organisations with visual data discovery were able to provide analytics to 40% of their employees, whereas organisations without visual data discovery were only able to do so for 27% of their employees
  • 48% of BI users are able to find information needed without IT’s help most or all the time in organisations with visual data discovery. At organisations without the tool, only 23% of employees were able to cope with minimal or no IT involvement.

Visual data discovery has clearly enabled efficiency. After all, it is silly to wait for IT to get anything done – the average BI project backlog of IT departments is 143 days.

Additionally, it has also set the stage for manager empowerment. Employee autonomy is commonly found in several organisations using visual data discovery. Through its self-service capabilities, visual data discovery allows organisations to decentralise BI and embed analytics in several business units within an organisation. Through this decentralisation, managers are empowered in the following ways:

1. Tailored analytics

74% of organisations with visual data discovery allow users to make changes to their analytics environment as they feel necessary, to get exactly the type of reports that they need. Less than half of organisations without the tool allow this freedom.

2. Driving analytics projects and initiatives

Organisations with visual data discovery are 50% more likely to allow business managers to initiate and drive new analytics projects. 66% of organisations with visual data disovery allowed this, while only 44% of organisations without did the same.

3. Data integration

50% of organisations using visual data discovery enable business users to perform data integration in some form. Previously, data integration would be solely IT’s responsibility and companies with out visual data discovery, were mostly not able to do this, aside from a small 16%.

Ultimately visual data discovery can facilitate manager empowerment by decentralising Business Intelligence and enabling analytics in business units. Through visual data discovery, organisations give business users the ability to act independently - to explore and manipulate data to find answers to an array of questions or to raise new questions for high-level executives and subsequently, make better business decisions.

Written by Phocas Software
Phocas Software

Empowering businesses with intuitive data analytics, driving informed decisions for growth and profitability. We make people feel good about data.

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