Over the years I’ve had the pleasure and experience of working with both ends of the BI spectrum: from corporate BI pros to the more recent self-service experts (there is a problem with that phrase, more to come on that). In the real world neither side of the spectrum can nor should be used for the other’s requirements. Both corporate and self-serve have their sweet spots!
IT People Business People
IT exists for a reason; the business users (as a whole) do not care about data governance matters such as data models, data quality, and related matters. Business users are as savvy today as they ever have been, both about their data and its underlying value to the business. They demand real-time, transparent, and high-quality access to their respective data sets. They demand ubiquitous access regardless of the device they are using and it doesn’t matter if Apple, Microsoft, or HP is the manufacturer. From laptops to tablets to phones they are increasingly demanding universal access and why shouldn’t they? Looking forward, vendors must finish the empowerment story for business users by providing universal access to trusted corporate and 3rd party data that makes them inspired to keep learning about the business by placing them in a ‘fun’ and exploratory environment.
IT People on the other hand still exist for a reason. Without solid foundational decision support repositories such as data warehouses to empower self-service tools like PowerPivot the value of self-service tools is lessened. No matter how great the self-service tool is business users don’t want to be bothered with tasks such as data cleansing and complex correlations. Regarding my statement earlier on self-service experts…if a self-service tool generates experts than how truly self-service in nature is it? Complexity breeds lower adoption rates.
Thru the implementation of both a data warehouse and self-service tools (that are fun, easy to use, and exploratory-like) a business can become both enabled and empowered!