The cloud has unleashed the potential of people to combine data from thousands of sources in ways that were unimaginable just five years ago. It’s time to take a fresh look at BI with an eye toward making it the energy source of a new kind of agile and responsive organization.
Innovative data management is not only a major source of competitive advantage in nearly every market, but the lifeblood of web-scale companies that are reshaping retail, transportation and hospitality industries, among others.
Legacy technology and processes that limit the potential of everyone in an organization to leverage the power of data threatens the health of the entire entity. It’s time for a new approach to leveraging business intelligence across the entire organization, empowering BI teams to deliver insights using actionable real-time analytics, and for individuals and business units to access the insights they need simply and easily from any device at any time.
The Concept of Self-Service BI
Much has been made of the notion of self-service BI. The idea is to combine the specialized knowledge and insights of business users to identify the right questions to ask with the expertise of data scientists and engineers to find the right data sources and prepare the necessary data sets.
Data scientists are needed to create the guardrails that prevent their business colleagues from making misguided decisions based on inadequate understanding of data.
To achieve this goal data quality matters, and BI systems themselves must be maintained and updated. Similarly, giving business users the freedom to dispense information from their BI tools doesn’t negate the need to ensure that the appropriate data sources are used, data has been cleaned and software is patched and updated.
The Magic of Ownership
A tried-and-true approach to achieving the right balance of resources is to create small teams of people who have ownership of subsets of data that are relevant to their business function. The team is accountable for making sure the right data is employed, kept current and applied to the right problems.
If there are inaccuracies, it’s the team’s job to fix them. Collaboration is essential. Any BI tool the organization uses should have built-in capabilities for sharing, commenting and building upon each team member’s work.
Benefits of Cloud-Based BI
Modern cloud-based solutions shift processing to a scalable server and give administrators the tools to achieve the proper balance of data access and security. They can see visual representations of how data is always flowing through the pipeline as well as login attempts, data use, user activity and the status of data sets in real time. Alerts can be set to fire when anomalies or data problems are detected.
It’s Time to Leverage the Cloud
The proliferation of cloud services and solutions has been transforming industries and disrupting long-established business models over the past decade. The shift of BI to the cloud is the latest step in this evolution.
Companies that are able to leverage intelligence quickly and easily, and spread it across their workforces, can achieve significant competitive benefits, cost savings, improvements in productivity and morale and faster, easier access to innovation.