Business Intelligence for Business Users: Insight When and Where You Need It

April 02, 2014

Analytics Demystified, Dashboards Reporting and Visualizations, End User Self Service

Self-Service Business Intelligence

Companies can attain better business outcomes when many different business users can access complete, consistent and trustworthy information the way they want, (e.g., from the web, smartphones, tablet or desktop).  Business users want self-service BI, so they do not have to rely on IT for important reports or data. This paper covers how important it is to address the needs of different BI users, so they have insight when and where they need it.


Business Intelligence is used more pervasively by all business user types.  A comprehensive BI solution addresses all user needs, when and where they need information. 


Senior Executives; Finance Managers; IT Managers; Business Intelligence Managers; Business Analysts


Business users and BI: A progression

BI Solutions are no longer limited to a select user base.  The expansion of business intelligence allowed managers to access to timely, detailed reports needed to do their job.

 Start anywhere, go everywhere

 A comprehensive BI solution allows companies the ability to:

  • Assemble and more easily interact with relevant information to understand the business
  • Analyze information to make fact based recommendations.
  • Share and collaborate so everyone is aligned on decisions.
  • Act on what they find to drive better business outcomes
  • Work where they want
    • Over the web
    • On a mobile device
    • On a desktop
    • In other applications

 Executives need a BI solutions to:

  • Connect with other executives or managers to share insight and gather broader perspective and opinions.
  • View plans and information and make annotations so others can view their comments and suggestions and make adjustments.
  • Track projects and activities and gain instant access to a complete task list.
  • Put their fingers on a source of data or a report whenever they need it with features that easily trace the history, author and path of any information received.

 Business Managers need a BI solution to provide:

  • Reporting capabilities that provide them with a comprehensive and consistent view of business and operations
  • Features for interacting with those views on their desktop, with a web browser or both
  • Multidimensional data management for reconciling transaction and planning data to create a corporate-sanctioned view of business information
  • An enterprise dictionary to provide meaning
  • A facility for integrating external or standalone data with their corporate information

 Using automated, ad hoc workflow capabilities, business users can:

  • Interact with their activities
  • Start tasks
  • Match individuals with activities
  • Manage projects and monitor progress

 Business Analysts need query and reporting capabilities that:

  • Presents them with a complete and consistent view of business and operations, not disparate perspectives that they must later compare and rationalize
  • Helps them access reliable statistical evidence, trends, patterns and predictions easily
  • Expands visibility and intelligence beyond the information at hand

 Business Analysts need to be able to:

  • Use and save BI content or create sophisticated desktop reports such as briefing books and dashboards in a Microsoft Office application.
  • Refresh Microsoft Office documents with updated information on demand.
  • Share and publish files to a secure BI portal.
  • Access modeling tools that can help them incorporate analysis of a broader range of alternative scenarios to build “what-if” projections.

 Non-technical users require:

  • A single place they can use as a starting point for understanding information and uncovering insight—and checking on how they are doing
  • A browser-based reporting feature to help them interact with the data they need for actionable insight
  • Automated scorecards and metrics to help them visualize how they are performing based on targets set for role-specific projects and activities.

 The right BI solution allows users to:

  • Collaborate with other business users.
  • Follow their activities in an automated workflow.
  • Make comments and notes in reports