Is Self-Service Analytics really the way to go forward

Bernard MarrBusiness Analytics - Self Service has written a very interesting piece on  He surmises that self service analytics (the act of giving analytics access to non analyst but business users – e.g. marketing managers) has it’s place but, should be as a back up or verification.

Analysts should be doing deep insight and providing qualified and researched insight.  Simple reports aren’t going to give sufficient competitive intelligence to support a data-driven organisation.

I concur with Bernard’s thoughts.  I have always tried to encourage clients and businesses to focus on deeper insight and leave the general reporting to single page dashboards.  Incident reporting can be done via live results (available in most web analytics solutions) and joined with live reporting from DevOps.

Speaking of which I find that DevOps are a massively underutilised resource.  They are able to do amazing log file analysis.  Identify javascript errors.  Hack Attacks and more.  If you’re not already doing this and your organisation has the resources in place.  I suggest you, as a web analyst, buys them a coffee and gets access to the tools.

On the surface, democratizing the data and analytics seems like a great idea, especially considering the dearth of qualified analysts to fill a glut of jobs.  And as data becomes more central to jobs in every sector and field

Analytics has never been just about giving the figures to the stakeholders.  It is understanding the meaning behind those figures.  The context – answering the “WHY” question.  I think that with the volume of work analysts have at the moment (mostly due to a lack of skilled teams) are guilty of not being able to do this.

A dashboard is an indicator.

A report provides actionable insight.

Self-service analytics should be a complement to a data science team, not a replacement. I want people across all levels of an organization to feel empowered to consume and use the data they need; but I also want someone at the helm, steering the ship, able to answer questions and help the company and its individual departments course correct based on the data they receive.

Business Analytics Self Service

A report isn’t using just one data source even if it’s recognised as the ‘best version of the truth’.  It qualifies the statements by using other sources – external benchmarking, voice of the customer even news paper articles and research studies.

It is this approach, and only this approach, which will win the hearts and minds of the stakeholders and management.  Once you have a process in place and the right team it’s a lot simpler than it initially appears.

Best of luck fellow analysts.


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