How to Avoid Drowning in Data or Starving for Insight

Without self-service business intelligence, end users may starve for data needed to make actionable insights.Whether your organization sells B2B or B2C, the sheer volume of data collection increases by orders of magnitude almost daily. But for most businesses, that data never reaches the people who need it to make the best decisions for the organization. So opportunities are lost.

Data pours in from marketing and sales applications, from point-of-sale and e-commerce sales. Customer feedback, social networking and call centers add to the volume. Many businesses can only use a small percentage of this data as it’s locked in different systems across different departments. Technological and organizational challenges make it tough to break down these data silos.

But business users need access to the right data. To end these silos, focus on the right data rather than on the sheer quantity of data. Business leaders need to understand what data to embrace with so many new data sources.

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Reveal Actionable Insights with Self-Service BI

A self-service business intelligence solution provides discovery and visualization capabilities to reveal actionable insights. But the business users need access to the relevant data sources.

Self-service BI can only provide these capabilities by stitching together data from many sources. The solutions only work with permission to access the relevant data sources. A marketing analyst who wants to merge supply chain and sales data needs database access from other departments or that initiative will stall.

Companies Demand Collaboration

Even if they grant access to the data, individual business users need to collaborate on the data and insights gleaned from it. A benchmark report by Starfleet Research revealed that 81% of companies agree that group collaboration features and functionality are “important” or “very important” purchase considerations. “Executives can ask questions and knowledgeable users answer; people can point out important discrepancies, and everyone can see which data points gather comments and which gather dust,” the report states.

Take Report Creation Out of the Hands of IT

Many organizations pick centralized tools that require administration by IT or power users. That comes with a cost. Self-service BI requires a bare minimum of IT professionals to support the analytics initiative. That frees high-value technology resources from spending most of their time creating customized reports. Starfleet Research reports that “the savings in terms of operational costs are glaringly obvious.”

Business users won’t have to ask IT staff to create report after report. Starfleet Research reports that 42 percent of business users generally had to wait too long for IT to fulfill requests for new reports. The wait time ranged from several days to even weeks. By that time, the opportunity to act on data insights may have passed.

Self-service BI empowers non-IT professionals with data access and insights discovery. They don’t wait weeks for IT to produce custom reports in response to data from previous reports. Decision making accelerates when business users have access to the data needed to derive actionable insight.

Greater personalization and improved service interactions require the use of data to improve processes. Embedding analytics capabilities into applications used by contact centers, logistics applications, ERP, sales and marketing applications allow for more agile and data-driven decision making and better customer service interactions.

The benefits are easy to see. The time savings alone are huge. Starfleet Research’s benchmark report reveals that 92 percent of top performing companies cite time reduction as a top reason to deploy self-service BI.

Business users who relied on traditional BI tools called IT response suboptimal at best. That required them to pester IT many times to get a new report. Almost half of them (47 percent) needed to go outside the standard reporting process monthly to get what information they needed, according to Starfleet Research.

Download the 2017 Benchmark Report on Self-Service Business Intelligence to learn more about how to measure performance and ensure success in your BI implementation.

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