Why self-service analytics is replacing traditional business intelligence

In modern business, it is typical for organisations to use several diverse IT tools to monitor their applications, networks, and other IT components in real time. Unfortunately for these organisations, structuring IT in this way commonly leads to the formation of independent data islands, which in turn can create a one-dimensional view of IT at large.

But in order to make informed strategic decisions, organisations must acquire an IT operational analytics tool that can effectively analyse data from multiple sources and spot trends quickly in order to allow users to make the right decisions without delay.

While there are several analytics tools currently available on the market, the majority of these tools tend to be either very complicated to use, very costly to adopt, or both. On the other hand, self-service analytical tools can provide organisations with a rare combination of simplicity and affordability, making them incredibly popular among users. With the recent emergence of these comprehensive tools, every IT user can access data from various silos, acquire unified insight, collaborate with other teams, and gain the visibility necessary to make faster and smarter decisions on a consistent basis.

In a recent survey conducted by the real-time IT management company ManageEngine, over 160 IT professionals–including CIOs, managers, and technicians from around the globe–highlighted their top priorities and most common and frustrating challenges when it comes to analysing data. Here are a few of the most insightful findings, which all coalesce to suggest that self-service analytics is here to stay.

1. Analytics is no longer just for data experts

Owing to their often high levels of complexity, traditional business intelligence (BI) tools have always been relegated to the hands of select data experts, meaning that decision making capabilities were limited to just a privileged few. Fortunately, that is no longer the case. In the modern world, data is an integral part of any business, across nearly every sector imaginable, so users need to be able to access it on a daily basis so they can make decisions on their own.

2. Empowering users ensures much better IT governance

Long gone are the days when a user had to wait patiently for the IT department to furnish a report or a chart so that the user could get the information they needed. IT and business users alike are no longer willing to depend on other sources to fulfill their reporting requirements, and the majority prefer to do it on their own.

Self-service business intelligence tools provide a much greater level of flexibility in this regard and allow them to quickly carry out a wide range of important tasks, including creating personalised reports, acquiring real-time insight on the data they need, and carrying out the necessary action.

3. Customisation completely replaces standardisation

Different teams will all likely have very different reporting needs. With this in mind, self-service reports can provide a huge boost to productivity, as they can be personalised based on the individual requirements of staff. By enabling a fuller level of personalisation, they can also provide more insight into why certain strategies are more likely to work while others will not.

4. On-demand reporting is critical

Ad-hoc reports are typically considered to be the more popular option, as they provide answers to specific questions and analyse only specific data. With this in mind, organisations need to be able to create ad-hoc reports instantly, without any delay. With self-service reporting, enterprises can finally enable users to easily access and share any pertinent pieces of information they need to have access to.

5. Visual analytics are simply more popular

A visually driven, intuitive user interface adds more context to data than the other options and also allows users to instantly view, interpret, and analyse their information. Users can now create reports and dashboards quickly and easily using intuitive and powerful visualisation tools such as charts, widgets, KPI metrics, pivot tables, and much more. Self-service tools allow them to visually slice and dice data, drill down into the gritty details, and even change appearances with different chart types and a wide range of predefined templates for everyone.

Going forward, organisations must strive to be proactive and agile in order to meet the constantly changing requirements of modern business. By investing in a self-service analytics tool, these organisations can be sure that they are taking a step in the right direction by empowering users, increasing productivity, and positively impacting the business at large.

Sridhar Iyengar, vice president, ManageEngine

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