Matt Allington makes the case for self-service BI:
Success or failure of Enterprise BI can be shown as a continuum.
The 5 sample points I call out (from best to worst) are:
- It adds lots of value to lots of people.
- It’s OK, lots of “export to Excel”
- Some use, but not worth the cost
- It is a failure and it is written off
- It is a failure but you keep it.
Note what I list as the worst possible outcome. The solution is no good, and no one does anything about it. This is much worse than writing it off as a failure as you can’t move on if you don’t accept you have a problem.
This is a provocative article with some good comments. I’ve mixed emotions about this, as I see Matt’s point and agree with him in the hypothetical scenario, but it’s really easy for business users to get the wrong answers from self-service tools (e.g., introducing hidden cartesian products or not applying all business rules to calculations) and give up on the product. That might be a function of me doing it wrong and I’ll cop to that if so, but I think that self-service BI needs a “You must be this tall to ride” sign.