Looker Blog : Data Matters

Why Your Company Needs a Self-Service BI Tool

Kenny Cunanan, Product Marketing & Analytics Manager

May 31, 2019

Technology is continually and rapidly changing. For organizations today, this means that in order to stay ahead of the pack and get real-time answers to pressing questions, data management is a necessity.

From sales reports to company or industry trends, analyzing raw data has become central to promoting growth and improving decision-making. Big data is the future, and self-service business intelligence can give your organization data on-demand and the ability to quickly connect analysis to action.

What is Self-Service Business Intelligence?

Self-service business intelligence refers to a set of tools that help companies manage their data, transforming raw numbers into streamlined reports that improve company-wide decision-making. These tools allow companies to promote collaboration across multiple departments and to utilize ad hoc querying.

As a branch of data analytics, self-service business intelligence reporting gives organizations the opportunity to interpret data in a meaningful, easy-to-read way. A flexible BI software program helps users understand data projections and other analyses -- even if they don’t have a background in analytics.

Benefits of a Self-Service BI Tool

If you’ve ever looked at raw data and felt overwhelmed, business intelligence reporting can help you make sense of your data without relying on outside analysts. It empowers you to take vital information and draw smart conclusions from it on-the-fly.

With BI reporting, you can harness the power of data on-demand. Anyone from advisors to C-suite executives to department heads and team members can navigate data with ease, allowing everyone to make sense of the data and make informed decisions that impact the company as a whole.

BI tools give decision-makers, not just trained analysts, the freedom to spend more time actually analyzing data, instead of trying to find ways to organize it in a sensible way. Using self-service BI as a springboard, those making decisions can use data to spot trends and identify areas where the company can improve operations. For example, a retail company can use data to easily create BI reports that pinpoint:

  • Which products are selling
  • What time of day sales reach their peak
  • Which marketing efforts are working, and
  • Where improvements can be made within a company’s workflow.

Challenges of a Self-Service BI Tool

Just as every business is unique, so too are the challenges organizations may face when using a self-service BI solution. Depending on the size and ability of your company, self-service BI may create complications, such as wasted resources or a reduced ability to make fast, informed decisions. This can occur if your company selects a BI toolset that relies too heavily on individual user decision-making. Organizing your data can give you and your team more freedom to take action on your data-based findings.

Additionally, when choosing a self-service BI software suite, it’s important to read the fine print. Not all BI tools will keep your business compliant. While data can help you make informed decisions, you’ll still need to bolster that data with good ol’ fashioned research. A BI platform can help you leverage data in the face of industry-wide changes, but it can’t make the right decisions for your business.

Learn about Looker’s specific capabilities with data governance and overcoming data challenges in our whitepaper, "Best Self-Service BI Strategy For Your Business".

How Do I Know If I Need Self-Service Business Intelligence Reporting?

Large and small companies alike can benefit from business intelligence reporting. The reality is, data is everywhere -- people just need an easier way to make sense of it.

Self-service business intelligence reporting may be right for your company if:

  • You want to improve decision making
  • Data seems to become old too quickly
  • Your business lacks proper data visualization, making it difficult for others within the company to see the impact of your findings
  • Your team has a backlog of ad hoc report requests
  • You have difficulty spotting trends in company operations
  • Executives want to become more data-focused

The Future of Business is Data-Driven

In a data-driven business landscape, it’s vital to be able to transform your data into actionable information at scale. A self-service BI software platform can help gather sales data, trend reports, and more -- giving you the tools you need to compile that information in a crisp, concise way that makes sense of complicated figures. Combining data visualization and the ability to carry out ad hoc querying, self-service BI can help your company move forward with the most up-to-date data available.

Click here to learn more about Looker’s self-service BI capabilities or reach out to our teams to get started with your free trial of the Looker platform!

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