When I talk to people about adding self-service BI to their company's environment I generally get a list of reasons why it won't work. Some things I commonly hear:
- I can't get anyone in IT or on the business side to even try it.
- The business side doesn't know how to use the technology.
- This threatens my job.
- I just don't know where to start either politically/culturally or with the technology.
- I have too many other things to do.
- How can it possibly be secure, allow standardization, or result in quality data and decisions?
- That's not the way we do things.
- I don't really know what self-service BI means.
So what is a forward thinking BI implementer to do? Well, Intel just went out and did it, blowing through the supposed obstacles. Eduardo Gamez of Intel's Technology Manufacturing Engineering (TME) group interviewed business folks to find those who were motivated for change, found a great pilot project with committed employees, and drove the process forward. They put a "sandbox" environment up for the business to use and came up with a plan for monitoring the sandbox activity to find models and reports worth adding to their priority queue for enterprise BI projects. The business creates their own data models and their own reports for both high and low priority items. IT provides the infrastructure and training including products like Analysis Services, PowerPivot, Power View, SharePoint, Excel, SQL Server, and various data sources. The self-service models and reports are useful to the business - they reduce manual efforts, give them the reports they want much faster, and ultimately drive better, more agile business decisions. If a model isn't quite right after the first try, they can quickly modify it. The same models and reports are useful to IT - they are very refined and complete requirements docs that shorten the time to higher quality enterprise models and reports, they free up IT resources to build a more robust infrastructure and allow IT to concentrate on projects that require specialized IT knowledge. Everyone wins with a shorter time to decision, higher quality decisions, and a significant impact on the bottom line.
Learn more about how Intel TME is implementing self-service BI:
- White Paper: Implementing Self-Service BI to Improve Business Decision Making
- Presentation from PASS Business Analytics Conference: How Intel Integrates Self-Service BI with IT for Better Business Results (also attached to this blog post)