Essential Guide

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DIY BI: A guide to self-service business intelligence implementation

Explore the potential advantages and challenges of self-service business intelligence, and get advice on how to manage deployments of self-service BI tools and maximize their use among business users.


The objective of self-service business intelligence is straightforward: enable end users to make decisions based on their own queries and analyses, while also freeing up BI and IT teams to focus on other tasks. Self-service BI also allows business users to customize reports to their own needs, rather than relying only on the predefined data and canned reports available in BI systems. However, maximizing the use of self-service analytics tools can be a challenge for organizations, despite their best intentions.

Effective implementation of self-service BI applications and tools requires an understanding of the varying needs of different users and ongoing support from BI and IT professionals to help users throughout an organization take full advantage of self-service functionality. What is intuitive for one user may elude another, in many cases requiring customized training programs for different levels of expertise in order to reap the most benefit from self-service tools.

This Essential Guide offers articles that address self-service BI trends, the technology's potential benefits and challenges, and strategies for managing successful deployments. It also looks at the self-service BI capabilities of Microsoft's SQL Server database and related technologies.

1Applications and advantages-

Self-service BI trends and benefits

Business users should run the majority of BI analyses themselves, with only 20% of queries and reports created through requests to a BI team or the IT department, according to consultancy Forrester Research Inc. Self-service BI tools are essential for end users to achieve that level of independence. In this section, learn about the potential benefits of self-service BI and steps that BI and IT managers can take to ensure that organizations are meeting their BI goals through the use of self-service software.


Business users act as analysts with self-service analytics systems

Business users are able to perform various analyses themselves with the help of data visualization software and self-service BI tools. Continue Reading


Marketers address data skills shortage with self-service analytics

Self-service analytics tools can help companies cope with the lack of skilled data analytics professionals, according to BI managers at two marketing firms. Continue Reading


Self-service BI empowers users and relieves IT pressure, report finds

A Forrester Wave report addresses must-have capabilities for self-service BI platforms and looks at vendors that are providing those functions. Continue Reading


Widen business intelligence usage with self-service software

Companies can gain more from business intelligence deployments while relieving IT's workload by giving users self-service tools. Continue Reading


More businesses prioritize self-service BI, empowering users

Learn how businesses are addressing common issues such as poor data quality by empowering users and implementing self-service BI software. Continue Reading


Finding ROI through self-service business intelligence

Self-service business intelligence may hold the key to getting a solid return on investment on BI projects, but some control is still required. Continue Reading


How to keep tabs on self-service BI programs

Self-service BI can quickly get out of hand without a structured and well-governed data management foundation. Continue Reading

2Secrets to success-

Challenges and best practices of self-service BI

Managing self-service BI programs is more complex than it appears, as end users have different needs and typically require training and assistance on an ongoing basis. As a result, self-service BI is neither one size fits all, nor a program that runs on automatic pilot. These articles offer insights into how flexibility, carefully selected tools and user support are imperative to self-service BI success.


Evaluate the advantages, risks of self-service analytics tools

When business users take responsibility for self-service business intelligence, there are some risks involved, but there are ways to mitigate those risks. Continue Reading


Focus on data governance strategies for effective self-service analytics

In this podcast, TechTarget editors discuss the importance of implementing data governance strategies to support self-service business intelligence. Continue Reading


Much depends on the needs of users in self-service BI

Putting tools in the hands of business users is only the beginning of an effective self-service BI program, explains consultant Wayne Eckerson in a Q&A. Continue Reading


Effective self-service BI stems from flexibility, governance, user aid

Self-service BI isn't meant to be a one-size-fits-all initiative, and it requires careful oversight and up-front development work. Continue Reading


Look beyond the short-term for BI program success

Mortgage lender Quicken Loans evolved its business intelligence program from static reports to self-service BI tools and shares some lessons learned. Continue Reading


Customized self-service software needed to fit diverse users

Different groups of end users will have different needs to consider when it comes to configuring and deploying self-service business intelligence tools. Continue Reading


Careful consideration needed for self-service applications

Find out what factors to look at before your organization deploys self-service business intelligence software. Continue Reading

3SQL Server BI-

Self-service business intelligence and SQL Server

Boosting the business intelligence capabilities of SQL Server has been a priority for Microsoft, which has designed tools such as PowerPivot and Power View to empower users to make decisions based on their own analyses. The articles in this section offer information about SQL Server business intelligence options, including self-service BI software.


SQL Server 2012 offers business intelligence upgrades

Read about the improved business intelligence features in SQL Server 2012, including extensive reporting and analytics capabilities, as well as Power View. Continue Reading


Insider tips on SQL Server BI from author Brian Larson

Get advice on implementing SQL Server business intelligence and suggestions for getting started from consultant and author Brian Larson. Continue Reading


Project management must: Supporting different levels of BI needs

Read an excerpt from Brian Larson's book to learn how business intelligence can enable users to make more effective business decisions -- if their differing requirements are met. Continue Reading


How Intel improved chip manufacturing with SQL Server 2012 BI

Intel used the self-service business intelligence features of SQL Server 2012 to help it keep up with the famous Moore's Law in its microprocessor production. Continue Reading


Tips for BI as a service: Keep it user friendly

Consultant Don Jones offers advice for scaling BI systems and encouraging employees to take advantage of the benefits of business intelligence. Continue Reading


Improving BI skills in small businesses

Small and midsize businesses should prepare business intelligence deployments by "skilling up" on both the user and IT sides. Continue Reading


Power View provides new looks for SQL Server BI

Consultant and tech writer Robert Sheldon discusses the capabilities of Microsoft's Power View business intelligence tool, as well as its limitations. Continue Reading


Self-service BI terminology

Learn about and review terms related to self-service business intelligence with this glossary.


SQL Server self-service BI quiz

Test your knowledge of self-service BI and how it pertains to SQL Server with this brief quiz.

Take This Quiz

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