By 2017, it is predicted that most business users – in addition to the analysts – will have access to their own version of self-service business intelligence tools. The ability to prepare their own data for analysis has been a long time coming, and the pace of change from the rigid, hierarchical, organizational structure of the 1980s business has been phenomenal.

BI_Self_Service_IndividualisticIn the 80s, all decision was top-down – from senior executives and filtered through to the rest of the company from there. As the 90s progressed, a more fragmented structure was becoming apparent. However, this served only to create silos out of different company systems – making reporting difficult and inaccurate.

The internet started to change everything again; companies once again strived for faster, and better, communications. This began the process of the exponentially increasing demand for data and analysis.

Chloe Green, writing for Information-age.com, talks about today’s company structure as flat – with middle management almost entirely gone and decision makers responsible for different departments within a business. As the structure becomes even more fractured, companies are forced to redefine and review their use of self-service BI.

Further trends are seen in the way data is used in society more generally. Data analytics is increasingly driven by individualism and personalization. C-suite professionals are increasingly more aware that individuals are unique and want to be treated as such. This is the ‘me, me, me’ generation – and is evident in the wide array of individualized brand marketing campaigns. For example, take the way that Coca Cola have successfully used their marketing campaigns to target individual consumers with tricks like printing first names on bottles.

And so, enterprise data is driven by the same needs for self. The range of personalities within an office, coupled with increasingly seen trends such as bring-your-own-device pushes organizations to provide intelligence to everyone through self-service tools. Interactive, purpose-built tools designed for this purpose are delivering fast, easy and direct answers to common problems and specific questions within the workplace.

This revolution in the way that information is used within a company has enabled individuals within a company to make the right decisions, at the right time. It’s no small wonder then, that more and more companies turn to this self-service form of BI and are expanding beyond a small group of power users.

This is proving a boon for frontline staff, which now has the ability to review data directly relevant to their jobs – making informed decisions in real time. As society evolves and becomes more individualistic, so too, should business leaders.

Big Data and related technologies – from data warehousing to analytics and business intelligence (BI) – are transforming the business world. Big Data is not simply big: Gartner defines it as “high-volume, high-velocity and high-variety information assets.” Managing these assets to generate the fourth “V” – value – is a challenge. Many excellent solutions are on the market, but they must be matched to specific needs. At GRT Corporation our focus is on providing value to the business customer.

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