Self-service analytics moving to the cloud for many firms

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Self-service analytics, a type of business intelligence that enables business users to perform queries on their own with easy-to-use tools, is increasingly moving to the cloud and extending beyond visualization, according to Ventana Research.

The firm’s research shows that a huge majority of organizations expect to conduct analytics in the cloud and anticipate that most of their data will be in the cloud eventually, said Dave Menninger, senior vice president and research director at Ventana Research.

To remain relevant, self-service analytics needs to go beyond visualization, Menninger said. “Analytics needs to lead to action,” he said. “Merely understanding what happened in the past is not sufficient.”

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are the techniques for predicting outcomes and guiding organizations to the best next action to take, Menninger said.

Most of the organizations Ventana has surveyed are using AI and ML today, and a good number prefer to have these capabilities embedded in their BI and analytics tools. Self-service analytics requires self-service data preparation, Menninger noted.

“You can’t do self-service analytics if you can’t access the data you need in the format that you need, and the data is rarely in exactly the right format,” Menninger said. “Our research shows that the most common place where organizations spend the most time in their analytic processes is in preparing the data for analysis.”

As evidence of this trend, Menninger said, self-service analytics vendors are adding data preparation capabilities to their product offerings.

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