Handcuffing Users with Packaged BI Dashboards?

Business intelligence solutions have come a long way in the past five years with continued innovation and transformation from traditional BI to data visualization and data discovery. With the advent of improved BI tools and accessibility, many businesses are using precious IT budgets to add self-serve business intelligence to their solution infrastructure and put the power of self-serve BI tools into the hands of their employees and business users.


Vendors like Tableau have excellent data discovery tools and Qlikview is catching up by launching Qlik Sense. These data discovery tools provide excellent visualization and data discovery with the ability to connect to most popular data sources. But, these ‘packaged desktop’ data discovery tools are generally used by business analysts or dashboard developers. In a typical enterprise BI scenario, dashboard developers or business analysts use these desktop tools to design and publish dashboards to web server for access by business users, and business users view these ‘pre-packaged’ dashboards via a browser-based interface.

What are you really getting with ‘Packaged Dashboard’ Tools?

What do business analysts and dashboard designers get?

  • Desktop tools with personal licenses
  • Comprehensive visualization and discovery
  • Connectivity and access to a wide range of data sources
  • Dashboard design capability
  • Dashboard publishing capability

What do business users get?

  • ‘Packaged Dashboards’ in a browser based interface designed by developers
  • Nearly static dashboard environs with basic drill down and filtering capability
  • No dashboard design capability
  • No data discovery or visualization
  • No integration of new data sources
  • No opportunity to change charts or views, add new data columns, change data operations
  • No advanced analytical data operations or ad-hoc analysis

What is the Business Impact of Packaged Dashboard Data Discovery Tools

  • Happy business analysts and dashboard developers
  • Frustrated business users
  • Restricted business opportunities
  • Delayed problem recognition and problem solving
  • Limited confidence in business decisions
  • Limitations on user/employee empowerment and accountability
  • Restricted creativity and innovation with failed BI self-service initiative

What are the Challenges of Packaged Dashboards?

While executives, IT staff and analysts may have the best interests of the business user in mind, this cookie-cutter view of data does not allow a business user to gather, view and analyze data in a way that assists them in fulfilling their responsibilities. Instead, business users get basic drill down and data filtering in a more static, less interactive environment. True self-serve BI should allow users to perform deep dive analytics, bring data columns into personalized dashboards, create ad hoc views and queries on data or perform powerful cross tab analysis, change data operations and perform other advanced analytics. When a business ‘feeds’ packaged data to a business user, they cannot perform their own analysis, look at the root cause of a problem or engage in further ad hoc reporting or deep dive analytics.

What About Data Governance and Integrity?

Apart from this ‘pre-packaged data’ issue, these desktop based tools do not always fit neatly into data governance policies, and raise valid questions from IT regarding which users should have access to what data. The use of non-governed data may also raise questions about the quality of data and business confidence in using that data to make decisions for the enterprise.

What is the IT and Budget Impact?

Desktop-based IT tools are not necessarily a perfect fit for every enterprise architecture. This misalignment can result in additional expenses to accommodate the new BI desktop application in the IT landscape, including the cost of licenses, compliances, upgrades and the maintenance associated with each of the desktop applications deployed across the organization. When the organization compares the ROI to the cost of implementing and supporting these desktop applications, they will come up short, because the solutions are not scalable and do not suit the performance and scalability requirements of today’s IT infrastructure.

Desktop-based tools are expensive to roll out to business users. Even if the enterprise limits the rollout to a few business users, that select group of users will require advanced training to become proficient in the use of these desktop-based discovery tools. Because, these solutions are designed for developers, and analysts (in other words, those who can write scripts and code to design dashboards, connect to data sources and manage the BI solution), and not for business users.

Why Should You Choose True Self-Service BI Tools?

If you want to empower business users with BI tools that have true interactivity and personalization features and will allow for real self-service, in an open data discovery environment, you must select a business intelligence solution with interactive dashboards and ad hoc reporting. ElegantJ BI offers a 100% browser-based, self-serve BI environment that provides a seamless user experience on desktops, tablets and mobile devices, and allows business users to do more than simple drill down and data filters. Deep Dive analysis allows business users to access data integrated from disparate data sources and to use that data to perform swift, Deep Dive analysis, and make decisions. All of these benefits are supported by a system that provides trusted data governance, offers swift ROI and low TCO, and protects the integrity of enterprise IT architecture, while allowing the business to stay within budget and roll out BI tools to business users.

Self-Serve BI

What does IT get?

  • Simple deployment and sustained user base growth with limited IT and analyst involvement
  • Alignment with data governance policies with fine grained access rights
  • Easy integration into IT architecture and infrastructure
  • Low TCO

What do business users get?

  • Interactive (rather than ‘packaged’) dashboards
  • Ad hoc analysis
  • Self-serve, deep dive analytics
  • Flexible views and displays
  • Browser-based, mobile access for tablets, smart phones, desktops
  • Ability to add columns and data, change data operations, create reports and much more

…And What’s the Business Impact of Browser-Based, Self- Serve BI?

  • True self-serve BI tools for business users, IT and analysts alike
  • Rapid BI user adoption
  • Personalized tools that provide meaningful data and displays for every user and function
  • Low TCO and rapid ROI
  • Confident decision-making
  • 1/3 the cost of desktop-based data discovery BI tools

If your organization wants true data democratization and self-serve BI, don’t let your Business Intelligence implementation be derailed by restrictive BI tools that require advanced training and management and rely on programmers and/or business analysts to provide ‘packaged dashboards’ and limited drill down and filtering capabilities that frustrate your business users. Your business users provide valuable skills and knowledge and, with the right BI tools, will contribute to the bottom line and keep the business on track and competitive.

Take the handcuffs off your business users and give them true self-service BI tools. You won’t be sorry!