Self-service BI on its way to consumerization

Business intelligence (BI) tools were among many innovations to take off in 2012, as organizations have noticed the immense benefits of BI’s data analysis capabilities. The next step for companies, then, will be finding a way to get the technology in the hands of more employees.

“Self-service BI is more of a touchstone for how we roll out our business intelligence,” William McKight, president of McKnight Consulting Group, recently told TechTarget. “You can do self-service BI with a variety of tools – it’s really a matter of [what level] the users are and where the technology is and bridging the gap with the idea that you expect users to do more.”

In a recent blog post for InformationWeek, Cindi Howson, founder of BI Scorecard, highlighted the results of her company’s recent business intelligence study, which found that 44 percent of BI teams feel as though they don’t have the resources to keep up with company demands.

The survey did, however, indicate that there is plenty of hope for self-service BI. Nearly half of respondents said they expect this sector to improve significantly in 2013, tying it with mobile BI solutions for second on the list. 

“We’ve come a long way in making BI tools easy to use – that’s always been the mantra,” Claudia Imhoff, president of Intelligent Solutions, told TechTarget. “But where we’ve not done so well and where we still have some challenges is making the information easy to consume in a format users understand.”

Imhoff told the news source that the key to data visualization will be for IT and BI leaders to have better control over their self-service systems. Howson expressed a similar sentiment in her blog post, although she seemed a bit more hopeful. 

As Howson noted, the visual data discovery sector, which is largely synonymous with self-service BI, is growing three times faster than the rest of the BI market. She believes that 2013 could be the year self-service business intelligence becomes a reality.

Mobile BI tools can help
Mobile BI solutions could improve more than any sector but dashboards and self-service, according to the BI Scorecard survey, which would bring business intelligence capabilities to a higher percentage of employees. 

Darren Taylor, president of Blue KC Cobalt Talon, told TechTarget that, simply put, “there’s something less intimidating” about training employees about business intelligence when they’re being shown how to use the software on a mobile device. 

Along with dashboards and self-service software, mobile BI solutions are expected to be among the hottest business intelligence commodities in 2013, according to the BI Scorecard report. 

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