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Self-service BI drives quicker insights

Read time 3min 10sec
Craig Andrew, Keyrus.
Craig Andrew, Keyrus.

In the past, BI tools were time- and resource-heavy, needing the intervention of data experts to analyse the data to produce any actionable insights. This is no longer the case. Today’s BI tools are intuitive and responsive, easy to use, and far better at turning data into insights.

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#ITWebBI2022 self-service BI is an enabler to any user to quickly extract data and create valuable reporting insights, removing prior bottlenecks.

Taking this a step further, self-service BI is now enabling users to make decisions independently, without having to involve data analysts at all. It is also democratising analytics.

According to Craig Andrew, head of BI and analytics at Keyrus, history has seen access to data controlled with exclusive access to those with high levels of technical expertise, generally the IT department.

“Throughout my career I have personally witnessed this resulting in creating large bottlenecks, leaving businesses in desperate need for permanent access to this data to assist with business decision making. Constant report creation requests exacerbated this bottleneck, with more pressure on IT to deliver report after report. The delays here often resulted in the report content becoming irrelevant once it is eventually disseminated to the requestor.”

Accelerated decision making

He says self-service BI enables any user to quickly extract data and create valuable reporting insights, removing prior bottlenecks. “With the correct self-service tool, data is now accessible anywhere, at any time and on any device.”

This is important, he says, because exposing data to more business users accelerates decision making, and ensues that key insights are instantly available to the business. It also frees up the IT department to focus on proactive improvements.

In addition, Andrew says self-service BI promotes a more aggressive drive towards realising the company strategy. “As a result, the company’s data literacy improves. We describe this act of data being readily available to the wide business community as humanising data, one of the key pillars of the way we do business.”

Data governance

However, data governance must be in place to enable the processes and systems that give business users access to the data they need.

According to him, data governance sits at the heart of any successful BI deployment. “Data governance manages the availability of data together with the usability, integrity, and security. For data to be relied on it needs to be accurate, consistent, and trustworthy.”

He says data governance deals with the entire spectrum including data creation, data transformation and data ownership, including people, processes and standards.

“We have been an integral part of very successful BI systems implementations at many customers across various industries and have witnessed firsthand the positive effect of strict data governance on the benefits the organisations reap from their BI systems.”

To unpack what is happening in this area, Andrew and Adam Walker, GM at Keyrus, will be presenting on “Driving business-wide enablement: Maximising your investment into the BI tool”, at the ITWeb Business Intelligence Summit 2022, to be held from 8 to 10 March, at the Maslow Hotel in Sandton, and online.

They will discuss the limitations of data and analytics traditionally being an expert analyst’s job, as well as the benefits of enabling the whole business community to derive answers from the BI tool through self-service, especially in the post-pandemic environment.

Moreover, they will cover the importance of data governance for a successful BI deployment, and will delve into humanising data, including the best practice of enablement methods that empower individuals.

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