How many companies are looking to enable their employees to be more productive, independent and effective? We would guess every single one. The good news is, there is a tool available even to small businesses that enable those successes: self-service BI (Business Intelligence). Self-service business intelligence tools are becoming more and more desirable, and robust, as companies look for ways to enable all types of users, including casual users, power users, and executives to independently perform new queries, reports, analytics, and dashboards. TechTarget explains that the idea behind self-service analytics software “is to foster wider and more effective use of BI tools by enabling end users to write queries and create reports on their own, without having to wait for IT or BI teams to do the work for them.”

So, what can self-service BI help to improve in your organization?

Productivity. Self-service BI tools increase productivity by decreasing longer turnaround times often found when there is a need to go through multiple business departments such as IT operations. InformationWeek recently published an article stating that self-service BI allows “business users to quickly respond to changes, and ask and answer their own questions, while avoiding long turnaround times typically experienced in IT operations.”

Flexibility. Each end user may be asking different questions, and looking for different answers. With flexible in-memory acceleration, users are able to create reports and answer questions for themselves, rather than having an IT department create reports for each question/user. Especially as data volumes grow, this becomes increasingly critical.

Scalability. BI tools are not just for the big players in business anymore. Using self-service options, BI becomes more affordable and available for smaller companies. IBM, reviewing the rise of personal, mobile and social BI, added “BI software has historically been the domain of larger enterprises – mainly due to skill, time and cost required to implement, but today it’s being used by businesses of all sizes.”

Predictability. Predictive analytics is playing a pivotal role in business operations today. The ability to perform real-time “what-if” analyses throughout a work day creates a self-sufficient, informed workforce.

All these benefits do not come without any strings attached. There is no solution that can just be put in the hands of employees and instantly adopted, understood, and utilized to its fullest capabilities. Similar to the adoption of any new laptop, phone, and iPod there is a learning curve. You need to learn the shortcuts, the apps to download to make your life easier, which browser will fit your needs, and so on. That level of customization and training in BI solutions is a one-time service (class schedule) that reaps tremendous rewards.

We help to implement one of Forrester’s highest rated self-service BI solution: IBM Cognos Insight. The Cognos platform provides the foundation for interactive analysis to independently explore, analyze, visualize and share data without IT assistance. In minutes, analysts and line-of-business managers can create and share custom applications, dashboards and visualizations to help solve individual and workgroup challenges.

If you have questions about self-service BI or are interested in a demo of Cognos Insight, contact us!