The Night Is Dark And Full Of Terrors – Gear Up With Self-Service BI

Ina Felsheim

The night IS dark and full of terrors:

  • Dark because no one quite articulates what they mean by self-service BI. Unless someone does the work to clarify and shine a light on self-service BI, the night will remain dark.
  • Full of terrors because expectations are not clearly laid out, and yet blame for unsuccessful projects is plentiful.

Let’s shine a light on some of that darkness. What do we mean by self-service BI?

ssbi_definition

These are not the professionally authored operational reports that we’ve been creating for years. Nor is the definition constrained to data discovery, dashboarding, or operational reporting. Instead, it is an approach that crosses all of these pillars. The interoperability between professionally authored and self-service is key, because professionally authored reports can provide filtering and input controls that empower end users to customize their results.

And the terrors? Here’s a great study from KPMG that outlines that despite the investment and conversation, CEOs are still not trusting the data they are basing their decisions on. Yet with all of this mistrust, we are still not seeing interest in making sure their company is a leader in data and analytics.

ssbi_data_trust

But lack of clear leadership and investment is not helping the problem—oh, no. Things are happening in the dark. Even in mature BI organizations, users are generating their own content for analytics. In most cases, the user-generated content is being blended with enterprise curated content (see the Forrester whitepaper). Do you have a line on the trustworthiness and use of this user-generated data? These custom calculations and data are influencing key decisions (see figure 2).

ssbi_definition

Do you have a good handle on the dark corners of self-service BI in your company? Have you evaluated data usage and creation?

Stay tuned for Part 2 of this series, in which we’ll talk about how BI competency centers can function as the “Hand of the King” to support self-service BI.

For more insight on where data analytics is headed, see Business Analytics: What Trends Can We Expect In 2017?