How to Solve the Top 5 Challenges with Self-Service BI

Solve your self-service business intelligence challenges for successExecutives who don’t create a data-driven culture for their companies for decision-making waste the opportunity to draw insights that reveal ways to increase sales, cut costs, drive efficiencies and beat out their competitors.

A wise business leader solves the challenges of implementing a business intelligence and analytics solution so that culture can thrive. But to get a handle on those issues, you need to know what they are.

Today’s executives often turn to embedding self-service business intelligence solutions to solve those challenges and get business user adoption. As good as self-service BI can be, an organization had better meet the challenges head on.

Achieving Optimal Data Quality

A survey done in conjunction with the 2016 Starfleet Research Benchmark Report on Self-Service Business Intelligence showed that “86% of companies view the need to achieve acceptable data quality as the biggest obstacle of all.”

Identify data quality issues and develop a plan to improve quality over time. Failure to perform data cleansing runs the risk that inaccuracies will distort the data, making any decision using it flawed. Steps to take:

  • Develop a systematic process for identifying and eliminating data errors.
  • Improve validation at the data entry stage, cross-checking reference data.
  • Employ data cleansing software.

Integrate Data from All Relevant Sources

Data integration remains a technological and organizational challenge at many organizations. Separate databases serving different departments and managerial fiefdoms can limit what data can be used. Solving the technological issues can be straightforward.  Removing departmental restrictions to multiple data sources won’t always be so easy.

Self-service BI solutions need access to relevant data from multiple sources to create meaningful reports and visualizations. Without this access, business users can’t drill down to follow the threads of additional insight for the company. To foster integration:

  • Show the strategic need for data found across the organization.
  • Break down data and departmental silos – an easier task if the need has been shown.
  • Spend the time, money and effort to solve technological problems. (Assuring data quality will be one of those problems.)

Track and Measure Performance

What do 74 percent of the top performing companies surveyed by Starfleet Research find challenging? Tracking relevant performance metrics and figuring out how to measure them so they can maximize their investment. Start with these steps:

  • Select metrics that matter to your business.
  • Select metrics specific to business users’ individual areas of accountability.
  • Put processes in place to track these metrics.

The real challenge in all of these things lies in getting agreement on what these metrics should be.

Create the Right Organizational Culture

As I stated at the start of this blog, executives need to create a data-driven culture. Even today, many people in organizations still shy away from the scientific approach or anything technological, instead relying on their “gut” to tell them what they believe the truth is about the business. While experience teaches us many things, even for old hands spotting trends can be difficult. Assumptions can cloud our judgment as we leave out relevant data.

To create the right culture, you’ll need all hands on deck. Of the top performers surveyed by Starfleet Research, 81 percent agree that group collaboration features and functionality are important or very important considerations for self-service BI purchases.

  • Break down the fiefdoms within the organization by showing the need for insights into the business.
  • Provide business users with access to the right level of data.
  • Empower the “citizen data scientists” found on your staff, those individuals who always dive deep into the application to draw every bit of insight they can from the self-service BI solution.
  • Train business users – managers and executives, too – on the self-service BI application.

Deploy the Right Technologies for BI

No matter what kind of culture develops in your business, without the right tools growth and ROI will remain distant goals.

Rely on the self-service BI software developer’s expertise for integrating the application you choose. But rely on your team’s knowledge about the business and industry to develop the BI tool’s use.

Ask yourself – and potential self-service BI software developers these questions:

  • Can the IT department support the BI solution? (Choosing an open source solution demands this.)
  • Does the BI vendor provide strong support and maintenance?
  • Does your organization have the hardware and database(s) required for self-service BI implementation?
  • Does the BI solution embed within your application?
  • How easily does it connect to your data sources?
  • Does the BI solution include provisions to easily define and assign different roles and functions by seat within the organization?
  • Can features and data access be restricted by those roles?
  • How important is drag-and-drop interface design and visualization?

Download the Full Starfleet Research Report

To learn more about the benefits, how to get the most value, solve challenges and measure performance so your company rockets to success by embedding self-service business intelligence, download the 2016 Starfleet Research Benchmark Report on Self-Service Business Intelligence. Then you can check if Izenda meets those challenges and:

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