3 Common Hurdles You Can Overcome With Self-Service BI

  • Richard Thelwell
  • May 7, 2014

Do you find it difficult to access your company data and create reports? Don’t worry…You are not alone! We explore three of the most common challenges your business might face and see how Self-Service BI could be the solution.

After working with dozens of companies who have gone on to implement BI solutions, we have identified the challenges that businesses typically face when it comes to BI and Reporting.

If one or more of the following applies to you, it might well be the case that your company could benefit from a Self-Service BI solution!

Hurdle 1: Extracting data from multiple sources

Getting at the information you need is difficult: it is spread across different systems, spreadsheets and sites. This makes it difficult for you to self-serve and get the information you want quickly. Sometimes, you just can’t get the information you require.


Self -Service BI Tools can help overcome this problem by creating a Data Warehouse that allows you to join together data from different sources and store it all in one place.

Actually, while the Data Warehouse takes a lot of the glory, it’s something else that does all of the hard work – ETL. ETL – or “Extract, Transform and Load” – is the software layer that takes raw business data and turns it into useful information (which it then stores in the Data Warehouse).

With Self-Service BI and ETL, you can organise your data to make it easy to manipulate. You can apply rules and calculations to the data before it enters the Data Warehouse, so that when you come to report on it, the answers are already there. Finally, you can use business rules and other techniques, to “clean up and enrich” data – plugging gaps, fixing problems and adding value.

Hurdle 2: Overcoming bottlenecks in the IT department

Turning raw data into useful information is difficult, as it requires the application of business rules and complicated processing. Maybe calculating true gross margin involves applying sales and supply side rebates or factoring in delivery costs – which makes analysing it a manual task for finance or IT staff.

Bottlenecks form around key individuals with the technical skills to extract data and turn it into meaningful information. These people get maxed out. Delays form, and risk is increased.


With Self-Service BI, you no longer need to rely on IT departments to create your reports for you – the power is in your hands. You can create reports wherever and whenever you want with ease, meaning there is no delay in receiving the information you need.

Hurdle 3: Ensuring insights are timely

When reporting is manual, it’s infrequent or arrives late. You get January’s sales figures in mid-February. You find out a key product line is selling fast, several weeks after the event. You get management information monthly or quarterly, not weekly or daily.


Self-Service BI takes the hassle out of building reports, requiring significantly less manual effort on the part of the user. This speeds up the whole process and ensures that you receive the actionable insights you need in a timely manner. Many Self-Service BI Tools also allow you to schedule reports for a specific time or date, thereby guaranteeing that your reports will always be on ready on time.

Self-Service BI—it’s Business Intelligence as it should be.

Download our free E-book to find out more about self-service reporting.