The days when business intelligence (BI) tools were only deployed by a few large enterprises due to their high costs, complexity, and required skills are long gone.
Thanks to self-service BI tools, small and midsize businesses (SMBs) have become avid buyers of such tools. Affordable and user-friendly self-service BI tools have made in-depth analysis easier, meaning all team members can participate.
Even Gartner agrees, saying: “Organizations are embracing self-service analytics and BI to bring analytics capabilities to business users of all levels (full report available to Gartner clients).”
Let's pause for a quick definition before diving into the advantages of self-service business intelligence for your business.
Self-service business intelligence is the process of any end user creating and analyzing their own reports. Data can be analyzed by non-technical staff and departments (rather than solely relying on IT professionals or data analysts) via simple user interfaces to gain insights.
Self-service BI and analytics can change the game altogether for your business, with affordable and pay-as-you-go tools. These tools help you gain key insights without specialist knowledge.
Training needs are almost minimal, and support costs decrease as these tools are easy to learn with minimal support. Your staff can get up to speed fast, and access the tool via browser from anywhere.
Non-technical staff members (such as your marketing team) can analyze customer data themselves to better understand customer needs. Your finance team can quickly find out where the money went last year, how the business is doing this year, and make projections. Manufacturing team members can make their own dashboard to track production performance in real time, view potential bottlenecks, and identify optimization opportunities.
With self-service BI, everyone has access to the same version of your business data, unlike Excel spreadsheets where data isn't updated in real time across machines accessing it. Self-service BI can pull and compile data from disparate systems, such as accounting, ERP, and HR software.
Traditional BI tools often give users no choice but to guess. Queries and requests were routed through the IT department, and by the time a report came back the data was often out of date, or the report no longer needed. But self-service BI has changed the situation altogether. Now, users can access the data insights they need without waiting, with analytics available on demand. Users can easily test any trends or correlations, and subsequently make data-driven decisions.
The faster your team members access data and analyze it, the faster your business can move. While your competitors are still waiting for their own reports, your business can already be moving forward, applying actionable insights. That's because all your users, regardless of their level or role, are able to analyze data and identify market opportunities that otherwise would remain hidden. Self-service BI works equally well for everyone, be it your CEO, production line operator, HR director, or sales rep.
Self-service BI tools free up your IT department just as much as they liberate non-technical users. While users race ahead and get the insights they need, your IT team's workload is reduced as they don't have to answer numerous requests for BI queries and reports.
If you've tried traditional BI tools and found that they don't work for your business, the benefits of self-service BI may be just what you need.
If you're trying BI and data analytics for the first time, self-service BI is a cost-effective, flexible solution that doesn't bring requirements for an army of data scientists along with it.
A self-service BI tool allows you to uncover more business opportunities, make better decisions faster, and get ahead of the curve. And GetApp can help you find the right tool by building you a personalized list of the best BI software for your business needs. Check it out here.