In today’s ever changing world, we have really revolutionized the concept of self-service in all aspects of our lives. As consumers for example, we have fully embraced a do-it-yourself mentality when it comes to making purchases online, searching google for advice on problems, and even opting for the self-checkout line at the supermarket. In much the same way, users are now demanding that information flows freely within the workplace, enabling them to make quick strategic decisions without having to ask IT to fulfill every request. But where do you start and how do you deliver it successfully to your business and it’s users?
You’re in luck because we’re going to break down the 5 ways to ensure self-service success:
1. Know Thy User: Self-service can mean different things to different people, so you need to know how your users work with data. Look at the Continuum of Self-Service for example. On one end, they could be consumers of pre-formatted data; and on the opposite end of the spectrum, they could be analysts who prefer to interact and analyze data to uncover new insights on their own. Or quite frankly, they could be some hybrid of both 😉
2. Tailor Capabilities to Thy Users: Self-service as you know by now is not a one-size-fits-all model. Yes – it’s a broken record that needs to be played again and again. You need to match capabilities to your users. For instance, information consumers will most likely be interested in reporting with little to no interactivity; more data-savvy users will demand drill-down analysis; and analysts will crave visual data discovery that helps them figure out the answers to new questions as they come about.
3. Meet Users Where They Work: This era of providing report-writing abilities in a completely separate BI application is slowly coming to an end. You need to deliver information to users according to their preferences and especially within the context of where they work, which is ultimately inside their preferred business applications and/or their mobile devices.
4. Balance Freedom and Control: Empowering users with the freedom to use data doesn’t mean your giving up control. Fostering an environment that encourages self-service while also governing the access to data in a centralized manner is achievable. Apply the necessary security controls and auditing measures to the self-service capabilities that will ensure users are given the right data access.
5. Drive User Adoption: Let’s be clear. Traditional BI wasn’t empowering. Either you ended up with a small team of analysts writing reports for a few or worse, really expensive shelf ware. Drive adoption across the entire user base not only be providing intuitive functionality, but also by monitoring usage and collecting feedback. It’s important to take a long-term strategy view on self-service and adapt to changing needs as they evolve.