A Framework for Self-Service Business Intelligence


In the information age, competitive advantage comes from making business sense of vast amounts of data. Departments demand Business Intelligence for specific local needs that may not be offered by a central enterprise BI team. How do we begin to meet these needs in an orderly way? This post addresses this need with a framework for delivering self-service BI.

Define Personas and Deploy a Portfolio of Tools
Instead of finding the one end-all, be-all, future-proof BI tool for everyone. IT must identify the different business use-cases in their company and offer BI tools that suit those cases. Requirements for these tools will vary based on the use-cases. Here is a list of possible business personas with their varied BI requirements.

Consumer Driven Use-Case
Frequent in operational environment.
Requires very defined metrics that do not change every day.
Consume, Interact, Personalize

Creators Use-Case
From interactive dashboard to a managed experience where people can extend what you give them. They want to understand perfomance, for example, by groups. So we provide them ways to further manipulate information.
Query, Author, Share

Analysts Use-Case
Self-Directed Experience. Want to give them a blank canvas and let them iterate as much as possible.
Connect, Discover, Collaborate


We want to keep these personas in mind and give each what they need. One size does not fit all. The framework is simple. It really is just understanding the use-cases for BI and segmenting the population. Then you give them the tools for their specific BI need.

The framework is extended as one continues to iterate. Today’s Self-Service drive’s tomorrow’s BI requirements. It may be that analysts in a self-directed experience discover a pattern that benefits the enterprise so there must be a way to promote findings up to and through the other persona-based tools.

Final Thoughts

  • Make self-service pervasive – Embed analytics into business processes. This increases adoption and speeds iteration and collaboration between IT and the business.
  • Share datasets across personas and tools within product families. BI tools can even come and go while common datasets are rigorously validated and confirmed for use across the enterprise.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>