Enabling a true Self Service BI platform has to be done across three different components: People, Process and Technology (Figure 2). Each component highlights a different focus that complements the others:
Figure 2 - Components to enable a true self service BI platform
In order for the platform to be functional, it has to be implemented with a complete Business focus in mind; if preferable someone from the business should lead the initiative and clearly define how the new platform is going to impact the operations of the business. Furthermore, change management strategies should be clearly outlined and the project plan should allocate sufficient time for them. The business lead should establish a vision for the future that energizes and set the expectations as to what to come from the platform. A training plan should be designed that takes into consideration the different skill levels of the users to make sure all the users will be able to get the most of the new capabilities and they won’t resort back to old habits.
Once the direction of the initiative has been set, it will be critical to align the technology components to support it. Establishing a common infrastructure, both on the database platform and the BI toolset suite will be vital to the success of the initiative. The database platform will have to provide a stable, scalable environment that can grow with the users, adding capacity as the business matures and as the data volumes grow. A robust data model will be required that can capture the nuances of the business, and most important how do they relate and fit into the Enterprise.
In order to overcome the technical complexities of the data and facilitate the use to the business community, there will be a need to establish a common metadata business layer.