“New generation” Business Intelligence – access for all users

3 November 2016

“New generation” Business Intelligence – access for all users

The arrival of Big Data is reinforcing the importance of Business Intelligence (BI) for decision-makers seeking more efficient and, above all, more accessible tools. Thanks to solutions such as Power BI, this domain is becoming more democratic, supporting decentralised decision-making and no longer requiring previous technical knowledge.

With a variety of professional domains from sales to medical, or daily business management to management in general, who doesn’t need data visualisation or visual decision-making support tools? Business intelligence (BI) is defined as a “set of data processing techniques and procedures intended for managerial decision-making”.

With the arrival of Big Data, the need for BI has naturally been strengthened by the abundance of information and new data that hasn’t been taken into account, until now. The problem being that at present BI has always been a matter for specialists, whereas before it was virtually impossible for users to bypass the IT experts not only just for interrogating the BI software but also for decoding the results.

Setting trends with accessibility for users

It’s a lot simpler today. BI is now more “democratic”, with solutions such as Microsoft’s Power BI, which enables the efficient visualisation of data from multiple sources with ergonomic formatting and easy reading. It has now all been simplified so that users can benefit from it without needing any previous technical knowledge of the software.

Power BI, a Cloud Azure package unit, offers an accessible tool for users and this, truly, is a market trend. We no longer need to create models linked to the visualisations we want to produce. To take the example of sales, a lot of data has to be collected and processed which then has to be transformed and analysed so as to visualise it in decision-support mode.

In self-service mode, the Business Director can write his or her own reports without having to go through an IT expert to whom, previously, he or she would have sent a set of instructions. Another important point of note is that this new generation BI is available on any device type – mobile or tablet, for example – whereas many other solutions require users to be office-bound, stuck behind their computer.

BI management in self-service mode

The days of the Excel graph are far behind us! Data from different sources (internal or external, structured or unstructured such as Big Data) must be easily combined to create interactive reports and to share ideas visually for collective decision-making within the company. Moreover, if we want to share the decision-making collaboratively, we must be able to manage the BI in self-service mode through end-user compliance-control.

Of course, a part of this “new” BI remains a matter for the specialists. The company BI expert has to aggregate existing data (applications, data marts, various spreadsheets), structure the data and ensure its quality so that reports and analyses etc., can be entered in the system. These must be accessible in self-service mode by the end-user.

Assistance is necessary

Setting up open-access and decentralised BI systems, for example, without requiring previous technical knowledge from users doesn’t come without its own set of problems. Advice and assistance are absolutely necessary for optimal integration. Not only technical but targeted assistance for each user is imperative, with the trainer recommending consultants specialised in their sector.

It’s also important to be proactive, because a lot of data may actually be dormant. Users should feel free to audit dormant data so as to exploit it to a maximum and make use according to their clients’ needs.


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