Businesses today are creating, accessing and storing more information than ever before.
This is not only structured data like spreadsheets and databases—but also increasingly unstructured data, streaming in real-time from online transactions, social interactions, and IoT device sensors.
However, on average, up to 73% of all data within an organisation goes unused for analytics (Source: Forrester). This means that most of the potential value in a company’s data is never unlocked and utilised.
Conventional data analytics and business intelligence (BI) tools are also not accessible or usable by most business people—or by their customers. So even when potentially valuable data is made available, most people have no easy way to get insights from it.
But this is changing. Progressive businesses are creating a variety of new digital tools and dashboards that make it quick and easy for customers and employees to bring data insights to life.
These self-service analytics tools enable customers or business users to run queries and generate reports themselves via a web browser or mobile app, without needing specialist IT assistance.
Three factors are vital for delivering a successful self-service analytics tool:
Making the right data accessible for analytics
These self-service tools provide a range of basic analytic capabilities, based on an underlying data model. This data has usually been processed, simplified or scaled down, for clarity of understanding and ease of access. Making the right data available to the tool may require consolidation of siloed data sources, real-time data processing, and development of new application programming interfaces (APIs).
Understanding what users want to know
Rather than providing advanced general-purpose analytics, these tools are configured to answer a specific set of questions that users need answers to. For the tool to be truly useful, it must be created based on research and understanding of the most frequent and pressing user needs.
Making insights clear with design and visualisation
The goal of these tools is to deliver insights via an outstanding user experience (UX). Rather than just viewing data in lists and tables, they should provide graphical dashboards and interactive visualisations, to make the meaning and value of the data immediately clear.