April 14, 2011 – Self-service business intelligence is growing in demand, according to new research on the use of BI from consultancy Aberdeen Group.

Aberdeen’s study found that companies are facing two primary pressures at the same time: growing data volumes and shorter reaction times. In addition, 43 percent of survey respondents are challenged by increasing or changing demand for management information.

The benchmark report evaluated 170 organizations using BI. They found best in class to have three performance criteria: managers at 36 percent of best in class can access information they need, in time dictated by decisions, 100 percent of the time; best in class only need 4.3 hours on average to add columns to reports; and best in class only need 3.8 days to create a new dashboard. These measurements gauge time required to address new information as needed. Overall, the criteria gauge effectiveness of the organization to deliver the right information at the right time.

"Thirty-one percent of managers indicated that they needed information within one hour of business events occurring," says David White, Aberdeen senior research analyst. "To meet that challenge, BI delivery has to change. Most companies have already automated routine reporting. Now, top performing firms are raising their game by giving business leaders the data, tools and skills to discover new insights for themselves."

Aberdeen recommends that for success, companies should provide decision-makers with means to manipulate and manage information to be more responsive to changing needs; and spread the word within corporate IT to become more hands off and let business become more self-sufficient (though IT will help prepare the groundwork for successful self-service BI). Also, managers will need to cultivate the right supportive culture, including education and attitude.

The report, “Agile BI: Three Steps to Analytic Heaven” is free for a limited time.

Read some Information Management stories on self-service BI here.

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