What is Self-Service BI?
With Self-Service BI you get the possibility to analyze data of your company independently. The evaluation with such a system is uncomplicated and fast. BI stands for Business Intelligence and is known as a tool of finance departments. With Self-Service BI, departments can now do the data analysis themselves. Learn more about Business Intelligence and the advantages of Self-Service BI..
Business Intelligence: An important control tool with weaknesses in practice
In theory, business intelligence is supposed to provide a company with valuable data. Through evaluations and analyses, BI facilitates decision-making for those responsible. Business intelligence has the potential to reveal a wide variety of business processes and developments in visualized reports that are easy to understand.
In practice, the process is laborious, slow and has potential for conflict. The business departments rarely receive the data they need as a basis for making the right decisions. What’s more, they have no way of carrying out appropriate analyses themselves. External analysts take over the complete process from data collection to report creation.
Controlling is responsible for creating such reports. This is where the problems begin. The departments request certain reports. Then a certain amount of time passes until the reports are created. These often do not correspond exactly to the desired specifications. In addition, departments often have problems with critical feedback from the outside. Accordingly, there is a natural aversion to negative reports.
If there is already a problem with the communication between controlling and the business department, business intelligence is directly doomed to failure. At the same time, you as a company are giving away a lot of resources and potential for optimizing business processes.
The goals and benefits of business intelligence and controlling
Business intelligence has developed since the 1960s. Business Intelligence is a systematic approach to the evaluation of business data. It is based exclusively on facts. With the progress of digitalization, the process of data evaluation has evolved. Controlling was introduced as an independent department for the preparation of data analyses.
The goal of business intelligence is to create meaningful analyses of individual areas or company processes. They are structured on the basis of a timeline. In this way, statements can be made about the development, progress and current status. The reports are also intended to help optimize business processes.
Business Intelligence is thus essentially a tool for decision-makers. It enables them to monitor the status of key business processes. At the same time, Business Intelligence helps to create strategies for the future direction. Thus, the process has the potential to increase efficiency, growth and profits of a company.
What makes Self-Service BI different?
With a system for self-service BI, you move data evaluation from Controlling to the individual departments. These departments then have the option of performing analyses and visualizations of their own processes themselves.
In contrast to centralized controlling, there is no need for a detour via IT. The departments are generally the better contact when it comes to evaluating processes in their own area. The quality of controlling analyses, on the other hand, stands and falls with the skills of the employees there. Communication with the specialist departments also plays a central role.
Self-service BI enables departments to perform smaller and larger analyses independently at any time. This does away with the practice of using Excel as a platform for evaluating information. The fact is that specialist departments are dependent on such evaluations. If no other option is available, Excel is often used. However, this program is far too limited for in-depth analyses.
What are the benefits of self-service BI?
These are the most important advantages of Self-Service BI at a glance:
- Moving away from limited Excel analyses
- Data analysis at any place, at any time and on any device
- Data visualizations with high informative value
- Relief of IT and controlling
- Permanent access to business intelligence and data analyses for the specialist departments
- «ouf oft he box»-access to different data sources
- Low/No Code – reports (almost) without programming
How does a self-service BI platform integrate with your business?
The core of self-service BI is software. This platform is the central hub. The software primarily performs the following three important functions:
- Importing the relevant data via interfaces
- Evaluation of the information
- Provision of the analysis in a comprehensible and visualized form
The platform handles these functions largely on its own. The initial integration is the main task. Here, a connection to the relevant data sources is made via connectors. Data evaluation and data modeling are performed automatically. Parameters are selected via a graphical user interface, allowing focus on specific factors.
Integrated in solutions for self-service BI are also tools for data visualization. These prepare the evaluated results in an easily understandable form, especially in graphical charts.
If a platform for self-service BI offers these functions, then your business departments have a powerful tool for data analysis. It is additionally important that the software is easy to use.
Modern platforms for self-service BI are usually cloud-based. This has a number of advantages. For example, the platform is directly available to you without a lot of configuration effort. In addition, the software can then be used at any time and in any place.
This opens up the possibility for mobile analytics. Your departments can then quickly create and share evaluations at any time. In times of home offices and mobile workplaces, such a platform is thus the optimal complement to a modern IT infrastructure.
Implement Self-Service BI with redIT
We at redIT offer you Self-Service BI as a cloud-based solution for your company. The platform is based on Microsoft Power BI. In addition to providing the platform, our offer also includes other services.
These include, above all, integration support. This is one of the central challenges and the basis for effective business intelligence. This requires an interface and data source analysis.
Based on this analysis, we connect the platform with the various data sources for you. More than 270 data connectors are available for this purpose. It is possible to integrate local sources as well as data from the cloud.
We also carry out customer-specific adaptations. This includes links to business applications and individual visuals. Furthermore, we train you and your employees in the use of the platform. This ensures independent and efficient use of the platform in your company.
During ongoing operation, we provide you with helpful support. The comprehensive services we provide enable you to activate the full potential of the platform for business intelligence.
How does data analysis work with Self-Service BI?
One point that has made business intelligence so complex over the years is the growing amount of digital data. When the concept was still young, hardly any digital information was available for analysis. Often, it was compiled specifically for analysis.
Now, the majority of modern companies operate completely digitally. All processes and operations in the company are stored in digital form. This generates an enormous amount of data every day. In this context, there is also talk of Big Data. The amount of digital information can no longer be evaluated by conventional means.
Therefore, the first task in setting up such a system is to create a data warehouse. This is a central database containing information from various sources. The data is stored in a uniform format. For example, the ERP system, the online store, Google Analytics, Excel or even cloud databases serve as the source for the data warehouse.
The central data warehouse is then the starting point for the actual data analyses. Self-Service BI accesses the data warehouse when your departments start analyses. We at redIT set up the data warehouse for you. This is done via interfaces and connectors. This ensures that the database in the warehouse always obtains up-to-date information from the connected systems.
Self-Service BI integrates seamlessly into your IT environment
It is not only uncomplicated to import data into the system. The system for self-service BI from redIT also integrates smoothly into the Microsoft landscape. This includes Teams or SharePoint online. This way, employees can share reports with colleagues. It is also possible to export individual data sets to Excel.
Internal communication can also be implemented directly via the dashboard. This makes it possible to ask questions or get feedback from the departments during reporting.
How does data visualization work with self-service BI?
The start of a data analysis including a visualization is the interesting process in Self-Service BI. You and your employees perform these steps completely independently.
The process begins with the selection of data sources. A dashboard with a graphical user interface is available for this purpose. This is one of the central factors why the operation is so simple. All functions are designed for no code or low code. This means that no programming skills are required for operation.
The data sources are preconfigured and linked, making selection easy. For example, this could be the sales figures for the last quarter. For the analysis, employees can then select the relevant data sets for this specific query. For example, visitor numbers, conversion rates or CTR of advertising campaigns can be interesting in this context.
Ready-made templates are available for data modeling and visualization. You can also customize them according to your own needs. Bar charts, line charts, area charts, pie charts and other variants are available.
The concrete process of data evaluation with Self-Service BI
Data analysis with Self-Service BI proceeds in the following three steps:
- Selection of relevant data
- Data modeling
- Choice of visualization
Why is data analysis with self-service BI so helpful?
The evaluation is carried out with the help of artificial intelligence. In just a few moments, the selected data is available for reporting and is prepared graphically. This means that differences in sales figures between the current and previous months are quickly visible.
Due to the numerous data sets, it is possible to draw conclusions as to why the sales figures have developed the way they have. This concerns both negative and positive trends. Furthermore, the data visualization helps to uncover correlations between actions. Perhaps an advertising campaign generated a lot of clicks, but hardly any actual sales.
Self-service BI is predestined to make such connections visible. In this way, data analyses contribute to the optimization of processes and decisions in your company. Since specialist departments can use such a system to independently examine processes, they will be able to make independent decisions quickly in the future. In addition, specialist departments can carry out analyses at short intervals, as the process is very simple and fast.
redIT: We are your strong partner for Self-Service BI
If you choose redIT as your partner, you will receive a complete solution for self-service BI. We accompany you from the requirements analysis to the integration and support during operation.
Our business intelligence experts set up the complete system for you. This includes the individual configuration of the data sources, the data warehouse and the data modeling. This gives you a platform that is ready for immediate use.
In order to provide you with regular information on Microsoft Power BI, we offer an event every second Wednesday. Register for the next “Power BI Wednesday” or visit our Power BI Basics Online Course.
In the future, your departments will no longer have to rely on controlling or external help. Instead, they will optimize their own work themselves with the help of meaningful analyses. Are you also interested in a system for self-service BI? Use our contact page. We at redIT will advise you without obligation about a concrete concept for your company.
You can also find us in the Marketplace of bexio.