Like most complex modern systems, self-service business intelligence (SSBI) programs don’t just pop out of the ether. Instead, they take advantage of evolving technical principles and operations and apply those to today’s most successful business practices. The result is a leaner, smarter enterprise that uses actionable data to drive its forward progress.
Self-Service at the Enterprise Level
The concept of “self-service” isn’t new, although its recent application to digital services is certainly a novel use. It builds on the premise that most people like to take care of their own concerns without having to work with a middleman or clerk. A common example is that of the soft drink dispenser. Many people are content to “self-serve” their soft drinks from a dispenser that offers the option they prefer among several others. SSBI services offer the same flexibility, giving corporate leaders access to a variety of business information options that they can use to make better business decisions for their company.
However, just like soda-shop owners must choose which drink options to offer, business owners must also choose the processing options they want to include in their self-service programming so they can access the full value of the self-service opportunity.
Flexibility Is Key
Because each SSBI system is designed to address the specific needs of the company, business leaders should consider their existing assets, current operations and long-term plans when contemplating how to strategize their SSBI development. A fully operational SSBI system rises from an approved and carefully designed architecture that incorporates digital tools specific to the functions and goals of the company.
Consider the Data
Data is not created equally, and one of the biggest benefits of the SSBI system is its capacity to capture, sort, store, and analyze data in all its different formats. Today’s companies routinely collect data across multiple transmission sources (voice messages, email, social media, etc.) that must be sorted and parsed to make it relevant to data in other formats. The SSBI system collects data in all its formats, organizes it for relevance and then stores it where it is easily accessible.
Consider the Users
Not all users of BI are also leaders; many workers need access to information but don’t need to control or modify it to achieve their purposes. Analysis reveals that there are three typical types of SSBI users, and the SSBI system should meet the needs of each:
- Casual users are those workers who use readily available data in their daily labor. They can access dashboards or reports for information, then apply that data to the project or activity. If they have access to the data through the SSBI system, they can perform their function with no further inputs needed.
- Power users are more strategic with their use of SSBI data. These are often department heads or section leaders who need current data to make decisions on-the-fly for larger segments of the company. They may also need to modify or change existing programs to capture newly emerging opportunities that aren’t contemplated by their current programming. For them, SSBI tools allow for both deep analysis and corporate pivots based on incoming information.
- Corporate analysts sit at the top of the SSBI management team. They are responsible for connecting data from across the enterprise to current and future decisions. Their need for a comprehensive and adaptable SSBI dashboard is critical to their work.
Consider the System
Perhaps the biggest gain from SSBI services is that it disconnects the C-suite’s decision-making capacities from the day-to-day labor of the IT department. Legacy data analysis was often the result of weeks of culling and synthesizing information into a pre-presumed report format. The SSBI suite lets decision-makers go directly to the databases and configure their reports based on their needs at that moment.
Today’s SSBI systems provide both power and flexibility to today’s growing data stores.
Self-service is the modern way, and applications will continue to head this direction in the foreseeable future. Need help implementing applications, or training your users? Contact our expert analytics team to discuss your needs. Our team has been working with companies using applications on a wide variety of platforms – including extensive work with self-service platforms – and we can help you get your environment and your team in sync.
This blog post discusses the release of Oracle Analytics Cloud, a service that includes Essbase Cloud, Business Intelligence Cloud and Data Visualization Cloud.