Information Technology

Five tips for success with self-service analytics

By Sridhar Iyengar, Vice President, ManageEngine
Information Technology
Published: 5 December 2016

As businesses increasingly embrace digitalisation, many are finding they have built a tangled suite of IT tools in an effort to properly manage their networks, apps, and components. This has led many of these organisations to form independent data islands. The result is a one-dimensional and incomplete view of their IT systems.

To solve this issue and continue building up their IT systems effectively, organisations are quickly turning to IT operational analytics tools that will allow them to analyse data from multiple sources and spot trends quickly, enabling effective decision-making.

Organizations across the globe are seeking self-service analytics tools as their top choice for avoiding more costly or complicated solutions that do not provide easy user access to important data.

Here are my top five tips on how any organization can be successful using self-service analytics.

1. Make data accessible to a wide range of employees
Owing to their often high levels of complexity, traditional business intelligence tools have always been relegated to the hands of select data experts, meaning that decision-making capabilities were limited to just a privileged few. Fortunately, that is no longer the case. In the modern world, data is an integral part of any business–across nearly every sector imaginable–and so users need to be able to access it on a daily basis so they can make decisions on their own.

2. Empower all users
Long gone are the days when users had to wait patiently for the IT department to furnish a report or a chart to get the information they needed. IT and business users alike are no longer willing to depend on other sources to fulfil their reporting requirements, and the majority prefer to do it on their own. Self-service business intelligence tools provide greater flexibility in this regard and allow users to quickly carry out a wide range of important tasks, including creating personalised reports, acquiring real-time insight on the data they need, and carrying out necessary action.

3. Embrace personalisation
Different teams will all likely have very different reporting needs. With this in mind, self-service reports can provide a huge boost to productivity, as they can be personalised based on the individual requirements of staff. By enabling a fuller level of personalisation, they can also provide more insight into why certain strategies are more likely to work than others.

4. Enable quick and easy on-demand reporting
Ad-hoc reports are more popular than standard reports, as they provide answers to specific questions. With this in mind, organisations need to be able to create ad-hoc reports instantly and without a minute of delay. With self-service reporting, enterprises can finally assist users in easily accessing and sharing any pertinent pieces of information they need to have access to.

5. Good visuals can go a long way
A visually driven, intuitive user interface adds more context to data, and allows users to instantly view, interpret, and analyse their information. Users can now create reports and dashboards quickly and easily using intuitive and powerful visualisation tools such as charts, widgets, KPI metrics, pivot tables, and much more. Self-service tools allow them to visually slice and dice data, drill down into the gritty details, and even change appearances with different chart types and a wide range of predefined templates for everyone.

About the author: Sridhar Iyengar is the vice president of ManageEngine, a division of ZOHO Corporation. He is responsible for building IT management solutions for mid and large markets. He has spent around 15 years in the network management industry, building products and solutions for telecom carriers, OEM, and enterprise and service providers. He can be reached at @isridhar.