Forbes Insights Study: Most successful BI deployments provide self-service access to data

A global study sponsored by Qlik finds nearly 60 percent of companies plan to accelerate investment in self-service BI capabilities. 

qlikQlik® (NASDAQ: QLIK), a leader in visual analytics, in association with Forbes Insights, today released results from a global study revealing that the most successful business intelligence (BI) programs are significantly more likely to place analysis and decision-making solutions in the hands of business users.  According to the survey, nearly two-thirds of respondents believe that self-service data analysis creates significant competitive advantage, and half of respondents believe such an approach can help to reveal valuable insights.

The study, which surveyed more than 400 senior IT and business professionals, confirms that organisations are embracing self-service environments where users can take control of their own analytics, modeling, visualisation, and decision-making.  In fact, more than half of respondents cited that their BI environment features a significant or very significant degree of self-service elements.  At the same time, IT departments and business unit heads alike are concerned about data governance issues impacting everything from data security to its completeness and veracity.  Nearly 20 percent of respondents cited that the most challenging issue to enabling self-service access is the difficulty in combining data from different sources.  Another key challenge is ensuring data security, cited by 14 percent of respondents.  According to respondents, for a self-service model to be successful, there needs to be an effective data governance model – one that not only preserves data security and integrity, but also gives users confidence that their analysis works with complete and accurate data sets.

“Gathering and mining more and more data will not lead to better decisions,” said Head of Business Intelligence at National Express, Frank Kozurek.  “True BI means empowering business users with tools and governance that will allow them to explore their own data using the insights that only they possess as a result of being so close to their business needs.  They can get whatever data they want, they can interact with it, play with it.  BI that isn’t fundamentally self-service driven is not intelligence at all.”

Additional key findings include:

  • Self-service solutions, data visualisation software give BI a new look: 54 percent of respondents say improving data visualisation is a strategic imperative; 40 percent agree self-service data analysis models create a significant competitive advantage; and 53 percent believe distributed, self-service enables end users to develop more visually compelling analysis. In terms of how value is created within a self-service BI framework, overall respondents most frequently cite improvements in activities such as identifying business opportunities (69 percent), optimised or dynamic pricing (65 percent), or gauging productivity (63 percent).
  • Data literacy is today’s must-have skill: Future directives include enabling business units to interact with more forms of corporate and external data, expanding training for executives, as well as providing greater mobile and cloud access to needed data streams. 54 percent of the respondents say they are pursuing the creation of a center of excellence to improve their self-service data performance. Nearly three in four respondents say they are, today, directing their IT departments to work more closely with business units to expand access to more forms of corporate and external data. Another 62 percent agree that line managers need to take significant steps to become more data literate.
  • Drivers in the shift toward a more self-service BI environment: According to the survey, in about a quarter of instances, senior management plays the lead role in creating a more self-service environment. But for most respondents, 64 percent overall, some combination of senior management alongside an organic, bottom-up set of initiatives is what leads to adoption. As to where value is being created today, the most frequently cited functions include finance (67 percent), sales (61 percent), marketing (60 percent), and compliance (60 percent).

For more information:

The report, along with additional assets, is available for download here:

For a deeper analysis into the study and to learn what companies can do to harness self-service BI to drive breakthrough results, join our webinar in EMEA, on 26th May, featuring Bruce Rogers, Forbes’ Chief Insights Officer and Mike Saliter, Qlik’s VP of Global Industry Solutions.  Register here:

About This Research

The insights and commentary found in this report are derived from both a survey and qualitative interviews with senior executives. In March 2016, Forbes Insights, in collaboration with Qlik, conducted a robust global survey of 449 senior IT and business unit executives from a range of industries in North America, Europe, and APAC.  Titles of respondents include: CIO (44 percent), VP/business unit director (24 percent), CFO/treasurer/controller (10 percent), director (9 percent), CMO (8 percent), SVP/VP (3 percent), and CEO (1 percent).

About Forbes Insights

Forbes Insights is the strategic research and thought leadership practice of Forbes Media, publisher of Forbes magazine and, whose combined media properties reach nearly 75 million business decision makers worldwide on a monthly basis. Taking advantage of a proprietary database of senior-level executives in the Forbes community, Forbes Insights conducts research on a host of topics of interest to C-level executives, senior marketing professionals, small business owners and those who aspire to positions of leadership, as well as providing deep insights into issues and trends surrounding wealth creation and wealth management.

About Qlik

Qlik (NASDAQ: QLIK) is a leader in visual analytics. Its portfolio of products meets customers’ growing needs from reporting and self-service visual analysis to guided, embedded and custom analytics. Approximately 38,000 customers rely on Qlik solutions to gain meaning out of information from varied sources, exploring the hidden relationships within data that lead to insights that ignite good ideas. Headquartered in Radnor, Pennsylvania, Qlik has offices around the world with more than 1700 partners covering more than 100 countries.

About QlikView South Africa

QlikView South Africa is the local representative and distributor for Qlik (NASDAQ: QLIK) a leader in visual analytics. Its QlikView Business Discovery solution bridges the gap between traditional BI solutions and inadequate spreadsheet applications. The in-memory associative search technology QlikTech pioneered created the self-service BI category, allowing users to explore information freely rather than being confined to a predefined path of questions. Appropriate from SMB to the largest global enterprise,QlikView’s self-service analysis can be deployed with data governance in days or weeks. The QlikView Business Discovery platform’s app-driven model works with existing BI solutions, offering an immersive mobile and social, collaborative experience. Headquartered in Radnor, Pennsylvania, Qlik has offices around the world with more than 1700 partners covering more than 100 countries.

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