2012 Survey on Self-Service BI and Analytics Now Available for Download

Opportunities abound for organizations that are able to gain insight into customers, sales, markets, and processes, by analyzing data culled from a myriad of sources across the enterprise. This rich information can enable executives, managers, and professionals to answer questions never possible before. As a result, for the companies that are able to provide business decision makers with quick and efficient access to BI or analytic data from which they can create their own interfaces and reports, competitive advantage can be realized.

However, today’s BI systems still present challenges to achieving the full benefit of enterprise data, according to a survey of 250 data managers and professionals, conducted by Unisphere Research, a division of Information Today, Inc., for Tableau Software. Respondents to the survey are among the readership base of Database Trends and Applications

Learn about the key steps to achieving self-service BI and analytics at your organization in this special Thursday, November 29th webcast at 11 am PT/ 2 pm ET. Led by DBTA columnist and Unisphere Research analyst Joseph McKendrick, the webcast will present the opportunity to gain a better understanding of today's self-service BI solutions and the features that are enabling organizations to successfully expand accessibility to BI and analytics. Register now.

Although the research shows a trend toward self-service BI systems that can help decision makers more easily gain meaningful information, organizations are still behind when it comes to making such capabilities pervasive across their organizations. In addition, questions about data quality, data timeliness, and organizational support need to be addressed, the survey finds.

The latency of BI information, difficulty in using tools, and challenges in finding appropriate data are the main complaints heard about today’s business intelligence and analytic systems, according to the survey. In addition, only a handful of people in respondents’ organizations have direct access to the information they need.

Self-service BI is now offered to some extent in half of the organizations surveyed. However, in most companies, fewer than one out of 10 employees have access to BI and analytic systems.

Since many of the survey’s respondents were data managers in charge of information delivery for BI and analytics systems, they have seen for themselves the frustration users are experiencing with their current environments. A majority of respondents, 52%, cite issues with the latency of information—which they say needs to be delivered faster or be more timely to make a difference. 

In addition, 41% of the respondents report that members of their organizations are experiencing difficulty with the complexity of tools and solutions. Almost two-thirds of respondents, 39%, also report that they and their end users have difficulty finding the right information needed in data stores across their organizations.

Decision makers or information workers may not have access to many existing BI solutions or environments, which are made available to only IT and selected power users. A reliance on a few information gatekeepers to answer critical business questions results in decision makers’ frustration with delays, while also heaping more responsibility on already stressed IT departments.

Yet, a fundamental hindrance to more widespread access to BI isn’t provisioning portals and dashboards, the survey finds. Instead, it is a lack of a unified view of the enterprise. There tend to be many different types of BI and analytic solutions and tools scattered across enterprises.

The most prevalent tool employed for BI, in fact, is a spreadsheet, which serves as an ad hoc workaround to the restraints of online enterprise data. More than three-quarters of respondents, 78%, report that a spreadsheet is their primary BI tool. In addition to spreadsheets, there is also a wide range of other tools and solutions employed in respondents’ organizations, including dashboards (65%), standard reports (62%), data warehouses (57%), and data mining. Many of these solutions don’t integrate completely, resulting in siloed views of the business.

To download a copy of the survey report,  "Opening Up Business Intelligence to the Enterprise: 2012 Survey of Data Professionals On Self-Service BI and Analytics," go to A short registration form is required.