man looking at analytics dashboard
By sharing team's data efforts in a shared library, a business can put analytics in the hands of more and reduce redundant reports PHOTO: Olu Eletu

In a data-driven organization, self-service business intelligence (BI) and analytics hold the key to empowering more people across your organization to make better decisions. Self-service BI and analytics have the potential to deliver meaningful business improvements while limiting dependence on IT, driving more widespread analysis and facilitating the discovery of new actionable insights. 

Discussions of self-service often focus on user interface considerations, but while intuitive user interfaces are an important element in achieving self-service BI and analytics, a shared library of trusted data, formulas and visualization assets is what will drive your company’s self-service success to a whole new level.

Shared Libraries Spur More Insights

A shared library can supercharge your organization’s self-service BI and analytics capabilities by providing secure access to core data sets, formula functions and prebuilt visualizations — all tailored for users in different business domains. That’s because a shared library of curated BI and analytics assets allows your company to implement a synergistic model for data analysis where many users benefit from the work of a few.

For example, shared libraries can enhance standard revenue reporting by adding detail to aggregated sales transactions and analyzing product and customer hierarchies to allow more users to uncover deeper geographic and buyer-pattern insights. 

Sharing Means Caring About Your Users

A shared library takes self-service analytics to the next level. Even of your company has a well-designed user interface, starting from scratch for every analytics insight requires more expertise, time and effort than modifying a trusted data set or dashboard from a shared library. 

What’s more, providing your users with access to a shared library can reduce the strain on your overtaxed IT and data management resources — especially in the areas of reporting and data visualization. And robust security for the shared library will allow for effective management and control of user access in viewing, modifying and contributing new library assets as well.

Create Data Superheroes With Self-Service Analytics

Shared libraries can also give subject matter experts (SMEs) within your organization an opportunity to become analytics superheroes. By leveraging SME’s abilities to share their expertise more widely, shared libraries give them a greater opportunity to support more staffers across your company in achieving their individual BI and analytics pursuits. 

According to The State of Analytics in 2017: Inside & Outside the Enterprise (PDF), a 2017 survey by my employer, enterprise BI and analytics teams often lack skills that the creation of shared libraries can effectively address:

shared libraries stats from jreport

Deploy Your Company’s Existing Skills and Expertise 

But achieving a highly effective self-service analytics initiative requires more than user interfaces that are intuitive and visually appealing. The availability of data, the skillsets of your users and their respective BI and analytics needs are also vital considerations. 

To implement a shared library, seek solutions that build on your users’ existing skills but don’t hesitate to enlist the help of IT and functional experts to build out an initial set of assets to populate the library. 

After this initial investment, your self-service analytics will pay dividends in improved decision-making, as your users increasingly embrace their newfound abilities to call upon assets from the shared library while relieving demands on your IT and data management staff.