Organizations are redefining business intelligence (BI) based on how it improves and aligns with their model for success. Cloud BI, managed BI, big data BI – the categories seem like they’re constantly evolving. One area that’s gaining steam is self-service BI, which Forrester predicts will close the gap between business and technology.
But what is self-service BI?
Put simply, it is when users take existing business intelligence tools to analyze true and live business data and build out all kinds of visual reports without the need of IT or business analysts. According to Gartner, self-service tools will be commonplace for most companies by 2017.
What Self-Service BI Means for Business
The growth of self-service BI will have noticeable impacts on business, including:
A power shift – the IT department used to own nearly all aspects of software usage. The self-service model largely removes IT from the equation. After a solution has been made available to staff, the onus of operations falls to the individual business functions. As a result, decreased IT involvement translates to reduced overheads and opportunities for IT to deal with more important issues. In turn, staff becomes more empowered to solve problems without calling for IT to bail them out at every turn.
Heightened integration – businesses run multiple databases and need to find ways to leverage data between them to increase discovery. Solutions that don’t offer the self-service aspect will quickly become obsolete. The result will be a greater reliance on BI offerings that let users integrate software to maximize outcomes.
An improved user experience (UX) – as more users jump on board the self-service BI train, ensuring their experience is seamless will only grow. Customers that struggle to make sense of dashboards or to analyze data will refuse to use the problematic service.Vendors will need to pay even more attention to the role that UX plays in success.
A greater reliance on the cloud – quality self-service BI will not succeed without greater movement toward cloud technology. In today’s business environment, users expect access to solutions anywhere and anytime. The mobile economy demands that services be equipped to handle continuous geographic changes among users. Customers want access to data in a simple but adaptable format. Relevant self-service BI soon won’t be able to exist without this capability.
The Phocas Difference
Phocas is the global leader in providing self-service cloud BI to mid-market businesses in manufacturing, distribution and retail. At Phocas, our simple but powerful analytical capabilities help turn data into insights and visuals including charts, graphs, and maps. In just seconds, users can access data on sales, forecasting, inventory, pricing changes, shifts in profit margins and budgets. Phocas provides a comprehensive BI solution that helps its growing client base stay ahead of the competition.