There are many natural enemies in the world. The Yankees and the Red Sox. Cats and dogs. IT managers and self-service analytics—right?
According to Gartner, self-service analytics is a “form of business intelligence in which line-of-business professionals are enabled and encouraged to perform queries and generate reports on their own, with nominal IT support” (emphasis mine).
For folks working in IT, the word “nominal” may signal a red flag. A surface-level assessment might suggest self-service analytics is an enemy that will diminish IT’s role and unleash chaos.
In reality, that assessment is far from true. When anyone can explore their own data, IT’s role becomes elevated. Both IT and the business win.
With self-service analytics, IT can focus on creating a secure environment in which people can be highly productive with their data. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Here are three tips to help IT employees embrace the self-service model and become a partner in the business.
1) Establish an Analytics Team Within IT
The self-service strategy starts with an analytics team that lives within IT. In this environment, analysts don’t write reports. Instead, they help other people see and understand their data.
A successful IT team will do more than just provide vetted data sources in a secure environment. While that’s a crucial first step, the team must also help people across the organization conduct their own analysis and share their findings.
Establishing an analytics team within IT will ensure everyone in the organization knows where to turn when they need help during the analytics process. The team should also build and spread a culture of analytics throughout the company.
To do so, this team might send out a weekly newsletter or host brown-bag lunches to share tips. The team can also hold weekly office hours to answer any data-related questions. With a dedicated and proactive team, IT can be at the helm of building a culture of analytics through people, processes, and technology.
2) Integrate to Free Up Your Time and Maximize Impact
One important part of that culture is integration. IT must prioritize connecting to data in systems across the organization like Splunk, Salesforce and ServiceNow, then embedding relevant dashboards on internal wikis, forums, and even back in Salesforce—places where you know people already spend their time.
This not only frees up IT to take on a more strategic role but also helps the business react quickly and better serve customers. Consider customer-relationship marketing company Merkle. The company deals with a lot of data, and a lot of data types from SQL Server to Salesforce, to Excel.
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