There is a lot of noise in the BI marketplace regarding ‘Self-serve BI’. And that is good. As a result, every business understands the value of self-serve BI and data democratization and most businesses are actively working to provide that value to the organization and to the business users by empowering users to make swift, confident decisions.


But, there is a caveat in this process. If a business is looking at a so-called self-serve business intelligence solution, it is imperative that the organization understand whether that solution truly offers self-service to business users or whether the self-service outreach is limited to a select few.

If you are using popular tools like Qlikview and Tableau, you may be missing out on the real benefits of self-serve business intelligence tools. These solutions offer excellent visualization and data source connectivity to developers that use desktop-based tools. Using these personal desktop BI tools, programmers, dashboard developers or analysts build packaged dashboards and then publish them in a browser-based environment for business user access. Designing and maintaining these dashboards is a task that is reserved for those with advanced training. The resulting dashboard ‘templates’ provide static user experience to business users with access to limited filtering and drill-down capability. So, business users can’t follow a lead, test an assumption or solve a problem in a self-serve environment. In other words, their hands are tied by the needs of the management team, developers and analysts have anticipated.

Bottom Line for Packaged Dashboard-Based BI Tools

Developers Gain

Control & Powerful dashboard design & visualization tools

Developers Lose

Time & User satisfaction

Users Gain

Packaged Dashboards in browser with Limited flexibility and analysis

Users Lose

Time and Decision integrity

There is no way a programmer or analyst can guess how each team member might need to find and use information. Nor, can they design one view of a BI tool that will satisfy every role, function, user skill level or business circumstance.

Do you really want your business users to merely survive, or worse, to make the wrong decision or take the wrong path simply because they are working with prepackaged dashboards with limited views and analysis?

The ElegantJ BI definition of self-serve BI differs from packaged dashboard-driven BI tool vendors. ElegantJ BI provides support for every business user by giving them the power of deep dive analytics that is compliant with desktops, tablets and mobile devices. That environment allows for easy drag and drop dashboard development and personalization, and results in access for ad-hoc reporting, cross-tab analysis, forecasting, impact and sensitivity analysis and other features that are not available to users in a ‘packaged dashboard’ environment that is designed and managed by specially trained dashboard developers or power users. 

While many vendors may say they provide self-serve BI tools, their definition of self-serve is limited to those with advanced training, and development and analytical skills and BI features and capabilities are available only in personal desktop-based tools, used by these developers and business analysts.

ElegantJ BI offers true data democracy that gives business users the same sophisticated tools in an easy-to-use environment, without technical intervention or controls imposed by others.

Bottom Line for ElegantJ BI – True Self-Serve BI

Developers Gain

Time and Focus on business use cases

Ease of Maintenance and Integration

Transformation from ‘doers’ to ‘facilitators’

Developers Lose

User dependence on developers and Multiple iterative development cycles

Users Gain

Data Democracy and Self Serve BI Tools

Confident Decisions and Flexibility

Comprehensive Analytical Tools

Swift Solution Adoption

Users Lose

Restricted Access, Frustration and Delays

Incomplete, Unclear data

…and remember, that every gain or loss experienced by a developer, analyst and business user also has an impact on the organization.

Why limit your business users to pre-packaged dashboards designed by business analysts and/or developers when what they really need is personalized, browser-based, deep dive analytical tools that can help them to achieve empowerment and accountability and be a true asset to your business.

Your business users can thrive with a 360 degree view of data, comprehensive slice and dice, drill down, drill through, and the ability to bring in new data, new columns, design pivots on fly, change data operations, and otherwise surf and play with data to answer questions quickly and with confidence – all in a 100% browser based environment, accessible from and compatible with any device.

If your organization is going to invest the time, effort and money to implement or upgrade a business intelligence solution, it is important to understand the tradeoffs vs. the benefits of ‘packaged’ dashboards. The real benefit to users, developers, analysts and the organization will come from true data democracy and self-serve BI tools that allow users to gather and analyze information with tools that allow for personalized views, flexibility to add and remove data and clear intuitive reports and displays.

When you hear the term ‘self-serve’ in the business intelligence market place, be sure you understand what it means. Does it mean that developers and analysts get self-service tools or is it truly self-serve in a data democracy environment that will empower your business users?

If you want your business users to lose the BI blues, you have to cut them loose. Let them use their creativity, knowledge and skill to your advantage!

Original Source – Lose the BI Business User Blues