Business users and IT pros realize the value of self-service analytics tools, yet adoption of these tools has yet to take off, according to a report from Logi Analytics.
The survey revealed that less than a quarter (22 percent) of business users and a similar number (23 percent) of IT professionals have access to self-service business analytics (BI) tools and use them when they need it.
On average, self-service analytics reduces IT requests by 37 percent, the report found. However, there appears to be a large gap between the level of importance and the level of satisfaction for many self-service capabilities.
"Small businesses are investing in self-service BI tools, and it is most encouraging to see that they are investing on their own without the need for IT," Alvin Wong, product marketing manager for Logi Analytics, told eWEEK. "The data from the business users in our survey shows that for companies between one and 250 employees, 25 percent have purchased self-service BI tools with minimal or no IT sign-off, which is right on track of the 24 percent average for businesses of all sizes."
Wong noted that 36 percent of this group is likely to do so in the future, compared with the 28 percent overall average.
"There are two somewhat progressive challenges small businesses face. First is just getting going, because they have little to no support from IT—likely because there are only a few IT people on staff," Wong said. "This challenge is usually around finding, connecting and making sense of the data, which is likely coming from spreadsheets, cloud-based applications and some internal data. Once they get the data prepared, they can often find initial success."
The second challenge, he said, arises as a result of that success—expansion, which has two aspects.
"First, users will want to expand the number and types of data sources to analyze into one for more sophisticated analysis. This type of data engineering is usually beyond the skills of most business users," Wong said. "Second, users will want to expand the number of users. Expanding users usually means figuring out how to share information securely among many people, which again, is usually beyond the skills of most business users."
Analyzing data to create visualization appears to be very important to 39 percent of business users, but only 16 percent are very satisfied with the functionality. Moreover, 33 percent of business users say creating or formatting a report or dashboard is very important, but only 17 percent are very satisfied.
The report indicated that the biggest driver for self-service is the flexibility it gives business users who desire to get things on their own time—the top business outcomes from self-service are increasing operational efficiencies, providing business agility and becoming more competitive.
Eighty-four percent of IT organizations plan to invest in self-service BI over the next two years, including investments in additional functionality, deploying new technology, training and writing new reports.
"The flexibility business users have to get things done on their own time is what really drives the need for self-service. Sure, no one wants to wait on IT, but it's really about getting things done when they want," Wong said. "This then makes them more efficient and more agile as they can respond faster to changing business conditions, and helps make the entire organization more competitive because data-driven insights are informing their path."