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3 ways IT can benefit from self-service analytics

There are many known enemies in today’s world. Barcelona and Real Madrid. Mac and PC. IT managers and self-service analytics. True?    


Some in IT hold the belief that self-service analytics will diminish their roles and unleash chaos. But actually, self-service analytics is a huge resource for IT. Who amongst us wouldn’t prefer managing curation and governance over the procedure of churning out reports week after week?    

When anyone can explore their own data, it elevates the role of IT. With self-service analytics, we can focus on creating a secure environment where people can be highly productive with their data. In this way, IT remains essential in its new role.    

Here are three tips to help you embrace the self-service model and become a partner in the business.    

1. Set up an analytics team within IT    

The self-service strategy starts with an analytics team that lives within IT. In this environment, analysts don’t write reports; instead, they help other people see and understand their data.    

The team provides vetted data sources in a secure environment. By using the screened data, people across the organisation are able to conduct their own analysis and share their findings.    

The whole idea is to build a culture of analytics through people, processes, and technology with IT at the helm.    

2. Free up your time by integrating internally   

Part of this culture is integration. You can connect to data in systems across the organisation like Splunk, Salesforce, and ServiceNow. You can then embed relevant dashboards on internal wikis, forums, and even back in Salesforce—places where you know people already spend their time.   

This modern approach to enterprise analytics not only frees up IT to take on a more strategic role but also helps the business react more quickly. The more questions people ask, the more value they extract from the data to ultimately benefit the customers. 

3. Work smarter and unlock your own insights  

Self-service analytics isn’t just good for the business. It empowers IT, too.  We recently learned something unexpected when an IT team member pulled our VPN usage data. With just a few minutes of exploration, we found that nearly half of our users in Europe were connecting via the data centre in the U.S. instead of their local one in Europe. 

Those users were connecting across an ocean, meaning they were waiting longer than necessary for the connection. Definitely not efficient. This issue was impacting quite a few of our users and made our service appear slow, yet it may have gone unresolved without the right tool. 

Seeing the data visualised on a map prompted the person to ask more questions that eventually led to the finding. In this way, data can help IT answer their own questions and make smarter decisions. What are the current support-response times across geographies? Where are you spending money, and how should you plan my budget? How active is your ticket-triage list, and are there any indications of a systemic problem? Uncover your own insights just as your colleagues in sales, marketing, and operations are doing.

A world where IT and business play on the same team

Self-service analytics helps the business gain insights from the data when it matters most. It also elevates the role of IT from a tactical helper to a strategic partner. Some still think of IT and business users as playing for different teams. 

But when IT empowers the entire organisation to explore data in a safe, governed environment, IT becomes a partner in the business and this drives success for everyone.  Just because we think something is the case doesn’t mean it’s true. Challenging convention is needed in today’s workplace and collaboration between IT and the business is an example how a shift in thinking can bring about new opportunities. When IT are playing for the same team, everyone is a winner.

Saskia Van Daal, Product Marketing Manager, Tableau Software