With so much data currently available to businesses, it can be easy for decision makers to feel as though they are drowning in information. After all, 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are being generated on a daily basis, and even though only small percentage of that is being captured and stored, it’s still more data than most businesses are prepared to handle. A concept that has been developed to help businesses put that data to proper use, by properly organizing, analyzing, and presenting that data in a way that is easy to understand is Business Intelligence (BI). This is generally accomplished through the use of advanced BI software tools. However, as complex as the data being analyzed might be, the tools designed to address that data can be just as complicated. Because of this, BI tools that are designed with self service in mind are proving advantageous, especially when compared to traditional BI.
Although there are various competing definitions for both self-service BI and Traditional BI, the most simple version is this: Traditional BI is software that is designed to allow users to gather information from a wide range of sources, and then to organize, analyze, and share that information in an accessible way. Self-Service BI follows the same basic definition. Where the two differ is in how the platform itself is used. Traditional BI is not designed for usability. Instead, it requires specifically trained IT professionals in order for it to function in any beneficial way. Self-service BI, on the other hand, is designed to be accessible to any and all potential users, without necessitating IT involvement.
As data becomes ever more prevalent, many organizations that were once perfectly happy using traditional BI platforms are beginning to see the limitations of having to involve IT professionals in the process. As such, the need for self-service BI is becoming almost universal.
Self service BI connects the business leaders and decision makers of the world to the data they rely so heavily on. Rather than necessitating the need for an IT middle man, self-service BI provides direct access, allowing users to concentrate more on the the results of the data that’s been gathered, and less on the processes used to gather it.
Beyond this specific advantage, there are a number of other benefits associated with self-service BI:
Self-service BI is an advancement that is changing the way businesses use data, and it’s popularity is only growing. In fact, it is expected that by 2017, over 50% of business users and analysts will have access to self-service tools.
With this proliferation of self-service BI, a greater focus on timely, confident decision making is developing. On the other hand, those organizations that choose to stick with traditional BI may find themselves at a disadvantage. After all, with so much data now available, users who have the ability to access it directly will be the ones who get the most out of it.