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Self-Service BI: re-discover your business!

Making decisions, based on thorough analysis of your strengths (and weaknesses) is one of the key aspects for being successful. In times of almost every second counting, you are more often and more prompt in need of reports that provide you with relevant and reliable real-time information about your organization. How can you improve and speed up your decision-making process? How can you find your way faster through your data maze? The key lies in making it simpler with Self-Service BI and discover unknown insights into your business.

The constant need of (Big) Data analyses

In these times of economic pressure, more complex business processes, constant changing environments and explosively-growing volumes of available data (Big Data), there is an ever-increasing need for correct, timely and up-to-date information. These (constant) changing circumstances, influenced by both internal and external factors, require a new understanding. For this, organizations need a constant flow of relevant information to improve their decision-making process.

Many organizations have already relied for many years on Business Intelligence software, such as SAP Business Warehouse and SAP Business Objects, to have a constant flow of reliable and relevant organizational information. These tools transform all existing data into meaningful and useful reports, providing users with better insights for making the best decisions. The trending topic in the world of Business Intelligence Applications is Self-Service Business Intelligence (SSBI). In this article, I will explain this evolution and have a look at how you will benefit from Self-Service BI, but also at the challenges that SSBI brings to your company.

What is Self-Service BI?

Self-Service Business Intelligence is an approach, enabling business users, who don’t necessarily have an IT background, to get the required data and create their own reporting and dashboarding application. SSBI applications are meant for Business users who want more, agile and accessible analysis possibilities at their disposal at the time when they need it.

Why Self-Service BI?

Why should you consider allowing your business users to create their own analysis applications?

  • Your end users don’t have to wait for days/ weeks to get the necessary reports/ dashboards/ infographics from other departments that are currently responsible for creating these applications;
  • The analysis applications, required by your business users, can be created faster. This results in an accelerated decision-making process;
  • Your IT/ BI department that is currently making all the reports required by the business departments, has more time to focus on other important tasks;
  • Self-Service BI tools aim to make things simpler and only require a short implementation period. Their decision-making acceleration goal results in a high Return On Investment (ROI).

Since SSBI tools are created with a special focus on business users, they have to be intuitive and user-friendly. In this case, however, simplicity doesn’t limit features. In order to reach a short learning curve, the future users should be trained to get the maximum out the SSBI tool and enhance their analyzing capabilities.

New challenges with Self-Service BI

However, the advantage of making reports simpler with Self-Service BI, can also be considered a challenge to an organization. Generally, SSBI tools don’t support complex business logic if you use them without Business Warehouse software. So, for involving complex business logic in your reports, some extra creativity is required.

Implementing a Self-Service BI tool is a strategic decision that brings new challenges to your organization. Since this approach provides the end users with new and additional possibilities for analyzing organizational information, certain technical caution is required when more people have access to the database (e.g. performance and authorization-related issues). Moreover, new rules and policies need to be defined for using the data (e.g. how to deal with certain information?).

How to proceed

When implemented and used correctly, Self-Service BI has a lot to offer and will improve efficiency of the relevant data and information flow throughout your organization. In my opinion, Self-Service BI is an added value for your organization when you are willing to tackle new challenges of data sharing and data governance by creating policies. You can watch the recording of our webinar “Easy Dashboarding with SAP Lumira” to find out more:

Webinar Recording

Webinar Recording

Easy Dashboarding with SAP Lumira

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About the author
Tommy Beckers
Tommy Beckers
I am a Managing Partner at PIKON Benelux in Genk, Belgium and am the Head of PIKON’s Competence Center for Legal Requirements on PIKON international group-level. I see it as my duty to find and create an added value for our customers across the globe along their digital transformation journey with SAP.

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