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Self-service, collaborative & mobile BI: Opportunities vs. challenges

In a series of video Q&As, business intelligence analysts and IT vendors discuss the current state of self-service, collaborative and mobile BI tools and offer advice on deploying and using them.

The methods used to access and use business intelligence (BI) data have changed notably over the past decade and continue to evolve, according to participants at the Pacific Northwest BI Summit 2011, held in late July in Grants Pass, Ore. Self-service BI technology, which enables business users to directly access and query BI systems, has become faster, more flexible and easier to use. Many BI tools now offer embedded collaboration features, which can help users to share query results and insights and to work together on data analysis. And after years of limited adoption, mobile BI usage appears to be on the upswing, due largely to the skyrocketing popularity of tablet PCs that lend themselves to BI applications.

But summit attendees – industry analysts and consultants, plus executives from technology vendors – noted that this proliferation of new functionality and delivery methods introduces new challenges for BI teams. BI professionals, they said, must find cost-effective ways to implement the technologies while ensuring that the system performance, data integrity and security needed to support widespread deployments are in place. In addition, organizations often find that leveraging self-service, collaborative and mobile BI requires cultural and business process changes as well as technical ones, making effective change management a key prerequisite for success.

Some of the questions raised during the discussions at the summit sparked spirited debates. Should BI tools have built-in collaboration features, or should BI capabilities be integrated into existing collaboration environments, such as SharePoint or even Outlook? Will the growth of mobile technologies and “app stores” inspire end users to want to source their own front-end BI tools? In this set of video interviews recorded at the summit, you’ll learn more about the latest trends in delivering BI to end users and get practical advice on how to successfully deploy the enabling technology.

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