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10 Good Reasons Why You Need a True Self-Service BI Tool

Elements of Self-Service BI

Let us show you how Business Intelligence (BI) can be beneficial to your company’s bottom line. The first part is to know what works and what doesn’t work in your business, doing this will help you improve.

The practice of Business Intelligence has come a long way in recent years. Redwood Capital released a report forecasting that the global BI market is expected to reach $21 billion by 2018, up from $14 billion in 2013, an annual growth rate of over 8%. Businesses, large and small, have more data than ever and they need to create value from their information. As the applications become more affordable, the introduction of Self-Service Business Intelligence Tools has made in depth analysis more user-friendly, so that everyone on the team can participate.

Self-Service BI (SSBI) empowers everyone, even the non-techies, to access and analyze data used to make business decisions without consulting the IT department. With the right tool, each user can design and share their own dashboards and analyses within an approved and supported software.

Because not all users are technical wizards, SSBI typically involves a user interface that is extra-intuitive. The IT department may still have a role in configuring the system, but from then on, regular users can focus on insights from the data, not the technology.

While many tools are described as Self-Service BI, they might not all be user-friendly. This blog post outlines ten reasons why you need a true SSBI solution, and what that solution should offer.

1. Increase Your Bottom Line

To get the most out of their data, companies should define their objectives before beginning analysis. Specific questions help your team focus on the right data, saving time and money. Even with the best intentions, reports can often fail to answer the original question or to produce actionable results. With SSBI, the person asking the questions can easily reach the data they need to find answers. If the results are not relevant, they can change and re-run the query without the help of the IT department. By answering critical business questions and creating actionable insights, every company’s bottom line will improve.

2. Answer Critical Questions in Seconds

Gone are the days of asking for a critical KPI and having to wait hours, if not days, for the busy IT department to pull the report. SSBI puts the user in charge of the data. Data can be accessed on the fly for real-time analysis and immediate actionable insights, giving your team a competitive advantage.

3. Excel Just Isn’t Cutting It

When you can’t access the data you need it is still common for users to shortcut their data management processes to get instant answers. Excel is a common go-to tool for short cuts. A 2011 study by Forrester showed that 88 percent of users rely “heavily”or “exclusively”on spreadsheets. Old-style BI is clearly not meeting their needs. While 2011 was four years ago, it is safe to assume that number is still high, especially when it comes to ad hoc analysis.

Though Excel was never intended to be a BI tool, it can be tempting to depend on spreadsheets for workflow from familiarity. Relying on Excel is a risky proposition because it requires a lot of manual data entry, leaving it prone to errors, especially when spreadsheets are passed around your organization.

The days of exporting large datasets to spreadsheets to be converted into charts and pivot tables are over. With the new generation of Self-Service BI tools, data analysis within spreadsheets belongs to the past.

4. Combine Multiple Sources

Comprehensive Business Intelligence often requires combining multiple data sources and performing cross-database queries. From online to offline data, a user-friendly SSBI setup will enable you to aggregate and analyze every type of data available in one place.

5. Democratizing Data

The entire team no longer needs to rely on a data scientist poring over spreadsheets, looking for clues to improve services. Self-Service BI provides information for everyone involved on the project in an easy-to-share format.

Because all team members can easily access the same data, SSBI makes the decision making process more inclusive. Joao Tapadinhas, a research director at the analyst firm Gartner, explains, “BI has become more democratic and more employees can benefit from it on a day-to-day basis. It is shifting away from an elite group of users where actions take hours or weeks.”

SSBI puts everyone involved in the decision making process on the same page, allowing everyone an equal opportunity to impress the boss and customers.

6. Mobile Matters

Business Intelligence means having the right data at the right time to make the right calls. Nowadays, having the right data at the right time means accessing your data wherever you are, which often involves the use of a mobile device. Mobile Business Intelligence has become a driving force in business decisions.

“We’re seeing more CEOs and CFOs being direct users of BI. After email, BI is the most popular application. If you have mobile access, it’s easier to be right when it comes to making a decision, then and there” says Joao Tapadinhas.

Taking BI mobile is critical for companies to respond to issues in real-time and make informed decisions immediately. Continual access to dashboards means that you and your colleagues will always have the information you need, regardless of your location.

7. Free Up The IT-Department

Old data, or different data structures, often bring the IT department back into the picture to clean up the data to make it functional. A common issue with this, is that it impacts how timelines are delivered. Across industries, the vast minority of users get their reports within one and three days of the initial request. With the fast pace of today’s business environment, a day long wait can render the initial question moot.

8. Data Visualization Is Key

Software Advice released their 2014 Business Intelligence Software BuyerView report listing last year’s top BI software buyer trends, including motivations for purchasing software and the most-requested tools and features.

The report shows that data visualization plays a key role in buying decisions, and that 40% of first-time buyers cited data visualization as their top priority when evaluating alternatives. Combining millions of data points and advanced math concepts to make a story that people will understand is not an easy task. When it comes to data visualization, simplicity and clear data presented will increase the level of audience engagement.

Even though this data visualization concept has been used by managers for many years, the use of dashboards has become indispensable to filter and manage the vast amounts of data that modern companies generate.

9. Telling Your Story

While data visualization is part of your story, the topic of storytelling deserves to be a stand-alone bullet point. Data will be remembered only if presented in the right way and in the right context. A story will always be more effective and memorable than a spreadsheet or a complicated dashboard.

Have you been confronted with dashboards chock full of analytics that are not relevant to your question? It is a challenge to make data-driven decisions if you do not understand the story behind the numbers. Modern dashboard software enables the report creator to better understand the underlying data, and craft more compelling stories.

Accessible anywhere, through mobile devices and desktops, dashboards drive better team collaboration and greater insights than traditional solutions like PowerPoint or Excel ever could.

10. Limit Your Risk

Many SSBI providers offer their tool as a software as a service (SaaS). In comparison to traditional BI tools, this type of software provides a solution without the time, expense, and hassle of developing a BI infrastructure internally. There are no upfront investments required to start and no maintenance charges. Typically, buyers pay a monthly fee dependent on the required feature set, number of users and data sources, as well as your individual data volume. Companies no longer need to build their own data centers and hire large IT staff to get started. All you technically need to do is to sign up. Most providers offer a free trial so you can make sure the product is right for your needs before you commit.

How datapine’s Self-Service BI Tool Can Help You

datapine's self-service BI Tool

Our objective is to develop and distribute an SSBI tool designed specifically for the end-user. Compared to other software providers, who call themselves ‘Self-Service Business Intelligence’, you will never need a BI expert or SQL developer to operate our product. With datapine anyone, even staff untrained in data analysis, can manipulate datasets, ending long delays for the IT department to deliver a simple analysis. Executive, business development, marketing and management departments can directly access the company database and design their own database queries via our SQL query builder.

Drag & Drop Interface

We designed our drag and drop interface in collaboration with a large number of companies – from small startups to global players – to be as intuitive as possible. Algorithms run in the background to give our interface added built-in intelligence, helping you every step of the way.

Self-Service BI with an Intelligent Abstraction Layer

In the past, multidimensional SQL queries and crunching large datasets required expensive technicians and software. Never before has such a smart abstraction layer been available to translate your interactions into database queries. Manipulate your data, and turn it into visualizations which lead to results. The charts and tables are easily shared via a dynamic dashboard, so all of your colleagues can view, understand and participate in the process. Use insights generated by our Business Intelligence software to increase efficiency, identify new business opportunities and effectively monitor your ongoing operations.

KPI Dashboards Accessible From Everywhere

Our tool lets you monitor data and generate new insights from any location, via your web browser or tablet, while maintaining the highest data privacy and security standards. We invested much time and extra effort to build an enterprise-level security layer, similar to core banking applications. You can copy your data into our data warehouse to speed up your work, or retain your data in-house by connecting datapine remotely to your server. Either way, you can operate with the privacy standards you require. Whatever your data plan is, we’ve got you covered.

Once you have created your KPI dashboards you can share them with your colleagues, business partners and management on a regular basis by setting up automated reporting guidelines which are then sent out at regular intervals of your choice via E-Mail. Additionally datapine empowers you to share interactive dashboards via URLs with just a few clicks.

Start Your 14 Day Free Trial Now

Don’t wait and find out what datapine’s self-service BI tool can achieve for your business by signing up for our 14-day free trial – without any further obligations. Test our smart solution and you will experience first-hand how to make lasting changes that will drive your business in the right direction.


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