According to a new report by Forbes Insights, in association with Qlik, “Analytical Enablement: How Leaders Harness Distributed Business Intelligence to Drive Breakthrough Results“ the most successful business intelligence (BI) programs are significantly more likely to place analysis and decision-making solutions in the hands of business users. According to the survey, nearly two-thirds of respondents believe that self-service data analysis creates significant competitive advantage, and half of respondents believe such an approach can help to reveal valuable insights.
The global study, which surveyed more than 400 senior IT and business professionals, confirms that self-service data environments deliver stronger returns—with 64% of respondents agreeing that “self-service data analysis models create significant competitive advantage.” At the same time, IT departments and business unit heads alike are concerned about data governance issues impacting everything from data security to its completeness and veracity.
“Business users know their own needs better than anyone else,” said Bruce Rogers, Chief Insights Officer and head of the CMO Practice at Forbes Media. “Self-service means they can explore whatever data they want, looking at it in a way that makes sense to them.”
“Leaders know that in addition to intuition and past experience, it’s the power of connecting all of your people, all of your data, and all of your ideas that brings new data-driven possibilities to life,” said Mike Saliter, Qlik’s VP of Global Industry Solutions. “It’s no surprise that we found an overwhelming number of organizations who were eager to move toward a culture of self-service decision-making. We believe everyone across the business should have access to trusted and actionable data to help them make the best decisions.”
Other key findings include:
- Self-service solutions, data visualization software give BI a new look: 73% of respondents say improving data visualization is a strategic imperative; 64% agree self-service data analysis models create a significant competitive advantage; and 63% believe distributed self-service enables end-users to develop more visually compelling analysis.
- Data literacy is today’s must-have skill: Future directives include enabling business units to interact with more forms of corporate and external data, expanding training for executives, as well as providing greater mobile and cloud access to needed data streams. Over half of companies, 54%, say they are pursuing the creation of a center of excellence to improve their self-service data performance. Nearly three in four respondents say they are, today, directing their IT departments to work more closely with business units to expand access to more forms of corporate and external data.
- Drivers in the shift toward a more self-service BI environment: According to the survey, in about a third of instances, senior management plays the lead role in creating a more self-service environment. But for most respondents, 64% overall, some combination of senior management alongside an organic, bottom-up set of initiatives is what leads to adoption. As to where value is being created today, the most frequently cited functions include finance (67%), sales (61%), marketing (60%) and compliance (60%).
- The most challenging issue to enabling self-service access: the difficulty in combining data from different sources, cited by 20% of respondents. Another key challenge is ensuring data security (14%).
About This Research
The insights and commentary found in this report are derived from both a survey and qualitative interviews with senior executives. In March 2016, Forbes Insights, in collaboration with Qlik, conducted a robust global survey of 449 senior IT and business unit executives from a range of industries in North America, Europe and APAC.