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The DIY BI trade-off: How IT wins by empowering business users

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The DIY BI trade-off: How IT wins by empowering business users

Who owns BI at your company?

If you’re in IT, and find yourself sharing this responsibility with sales, marketing or finance leaders, you’re not alone.

Historically, BI solutions were so complex and technical there was little argument that IT would need to maintain ownership of not just the technology, but reporting and dashboards, too. Now, business users have access to mountains of data from Salesforce.com, marketing automation tools, social media and other cloud technologies, and they want BI to move faster. They’re so hungry for on-demand analytics that they’ll lobby for outright BI ownership -- and industry analysts support the shift.

What is the risk in letting business users have outright BI ownership? IT plays a valuable role in BI. They ensure consistent tools across the organization, evaluate technology for security and flexibility, and execute more sophisticated technical tasks such as extracting data from source systems, transforming and joining them and making them available to the business users via flexible logical data models. The secret to BI success is to empower business users with self-serve reports, dashboards and dimensionality, while IT handles the heavy technical lifting. That’s why successful BI implementations depend on a close collaboration between line-of-business owners and IT. Here’s what you’ll bring to the organization by when you empower business users:

1. Consistency

When you put BI apps in business users’ hands you close an important gap in analytics and reporting: the hand-off between the users who ask the questions and the analysts who attempt to answer them. By allowing users to put their own dimensions on data and build custom reports and dashboards you immediately deliver a single source of truth to end users.

2. Resources

We often hear from IT teams that the best thing that the enablement of business users to manage their analytics or BI reports is the ability to refocus their teams talents on high-impact work. It can take IT hours to compile data and create reports that only answer single-dimensional questions. But the time that BI apps save actually enable business analysts to perform more sophisticated work that answers not the what, but the what if. We heard recently from Jumptap’s CTO Bob Hammond, that the custom analytics app his team built for sales and marketing saved his group more than 20 hours per week. What could you do with 20 extra hours per week?

3. Alignment

I love the perspective that John Schaub from Hootsuite shared with us recently. He said, “Our business users are closer to data than ever. The new level of familiarity allows them to ask better questions and get more powerful answers.” IT departments often end up as the organization’s unsung heros. Give users access to the data they need and the ability to do ad hoc reporting on-demand and you’ll see IT transformed into the team that can deliver endless possibilities. That’s powerful.

Written by GoodData Author  | 

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