Self-service BI is a hot topic as the year is coming to an end. It is a major trend that will continue in 2017. Some CIOs think it is a scary scenario, while other CIOs fully embrace it. Why do we see such duality? It can be attributed to two main models in Business Intelligence: federated and centralized.
Traditional to Federated
Traditional BI meant IT would model the data and create reports to satisfy the business users’ needs. Business users did not have access to the data and keeping data security was fairly easy. But reports were time consuming. Users did not get real-time insights and IT wasted a lot of time on reports instead of focusing on other tasks. As BI became more and more important, the trend shifted to self-service analytics.
Now, there are two ways of doing self-service analytics. The first is federated. This means business users can use a BI solution on their own desktop. They can export data, model it, and save it. They can create their own reports. Users save time and no longer bother IT with requests for reports. But federated BI is risky and messy. Having users work in separate desktops means that they work in silos. There are many versions of the truth and it eventually becomes impossible to merge all the data. Different departments use different BI solutions, creating silos, data chaos, and an overlap of resources. As more users have access to more data, the risk for data leaks grows. Data could easily be misinterpreted or someone could manipulate data based on a past version and create multiple versions of the truth. That’s why some people say that self-service BI is scary.
Centralized as the Solution
In reality, self-service analytics are not necessarily scary. The second model, is centralized BI. If self-service BI is deployed in a centralized environment, the risks from federated BI are mitigated. In centralized BI, users work connected. Business and IT become a team, a partnership.
While business teams need to choose what solutions they need for their business pains, IT teams need to decide how to deploy those solutions. IT governs over the system and enables business users to create the reports themselves in centralized self-service solutions. Business users enjoy self-service capabilities, real-time reporting, and collaboration. And IT governs over the data to set up permissions, allowing more data sharing in a single centralized solution that maintains only one version of the truth. There is more security because now there is a team responsible for this, keeping control. And safe sharing drives collective knowledge. The organization as a whole gets smarter as people work together.
Self-service BI can either create problems or be the solution to problems. It all depends whether it is federated or centralized. That’s why we need to understand that when CIOs talk about it being scary they are probably referring to their own experiences with federated BI. And who can blame them? Federated is disastrous. Hopefully, more organizations can experience the benefits and calm that come with centralized BI.
Panorama Necto is leading the modern BI market. Necto is the most secure, centralized, and state of the art BI solution. It has a powerful suggestive engine and patented algorithms that find automatic insights hidden in the users’ data. On top of that, users can define their own thresholds for exceptions or anomalies. Necto presents insights in beautiful dashboards. These dashboards can show data in infographics to make it more understandable and to drive engagement. Users can set up automatic KPI alerts to notify them when anomalies occur. Necto is empowering businesses by enabling them to use their data to make better decisions.