Self-Serve BI

Do self-serve BI tools support data governance, integral data security and organizational IT standards and policies? In some cases, the answer is ‘no’. But, that shouldn’t stop you from looking at self-serve BI tools. The question isn’t whether the integrity of data governance can be preserved when using self-serve BI tools. The question is really, ‘which vendor should I select in order to achieve true self-serve BI and data democracy without eroding data governance and security?’


So-called ‘Self Serve BI tools’ provide ready-to-use data connectors, and access for business analysts or dashboard developers to connect to data sources and perform discovery using visualization and data discovery tools. Members of enterprise IT teams do not like to promote access beyond a select few developers and analysts, because they are afraid it will violate the data security mechanisms in place.

Many of these popular BI tools, including Qlikview and Tableau, offer limited options to control data security or they need in-depth development efforts to implement fine-grained access rights. Their data discovery tools allow direct connection to data sources from desktop-based discovery tools, and a select group of users can connect and compile data to which they have access (including data on their desktop or data collected from non-validated sources). These users can perform data discovery, design dashboards and make those packaged dashboards available to business users. The dashboards are published on a server and made available to business users in a browser environment giving limited options and access to BI data for business user analysis. Most of the time business users are granted access rights at the dashboard object level. In this way, IT cannot control access and distribution of data and compliance with data governance standards.

When an organization limits or restricts business user access to BI tools, it cannot implement true self-serve BI, or ensure true analytical and deep dive capability. Business users are limited to ‘corporate’ packaged dashboard views, with restricted drill down, and filtering capabilities. When it comes to real data democratization, these users are left out in the cold.

If your business users are going to use their skills and knowledge to support the growth and success of the organization, the enterprise must find a way to marry data governance and security with self-serve BI, so that both corporate interests are satisfied.

ElegantJ BI, provides IT security layer for creating and managing access to data sources, and for managing fine-grained access rights to access data at the meta data semantic layer, including access control at columns and column data level. It also provides access controls at the individual BI object level. For example, a single sales dashboard might be designed with access rights for the line of business (LOB), or region level, thereby offering the business user access to appropriate data based on their job function. This approach reduces development time, since developers do not need to design different dashboards for different regions or LOBs. At the same time, the IT team can govern access rights at granular levels up to the column level, e.g., region, sales or profit amounts, and column data levels, e.g., Western region, Manufacturing Division, etc. without giving direct access rights to data source to any users.

True self-serve BI tools can support business user access and deep dive analysis, as well as true enterprise-wide, integrated data access that will ensure IT team confidence in data and security governance. Bring your business users in from the cold, and give them real self-serve BI tools, while at the same time, giving your IT team a warm and fuzzy feeling by ensuring great data governance and security.

Original Source – HELP! Users Want Self-Serve BI, IT Wants Data Governance