How Self-Service Business Intelligence (BI) will enhance your team’s capability.

by Jerome Ching, Aquiliti Business Analyst… 

Self Service BI

Only a few years ago, many procurement teams had not yet heard of self-service BI, and still heavily relied on internal IT teams with enterprise resource planning tools or simply used Microsoft Excel to carry out their reporting. With the advent of self-service BI, business users without a statistical background can work with corporate data to drive insights (such as dynamic category plans, spend analysis, procurement risk reporting, benefits tracking).

With the growing adoption of self-service BI, Gartner predicts that in 2019, the analytics output of business users with self-service capability will surpass that of professional data scientists (


Why is self-service better than traditional BI?

Lately, there have been many new and intuitive BI products in the market to address the growing demand from organisations for more use of analytics driven decision-making in their organisations. However, when it comes to self-service BI and traditional BI, what sets them apart?

The major difference is the level of reliance on IT to produce regular standardised reports. Self-service BI promotes the autonomy of business users to modify, shape, integrate different data sources to create and model their hypotheses into personal data stories, tailored to their business environment.

With this freedom comes shared responsibilities. Data governance and security will need to be mapped for all users including IT to preserve the security and standardisation of the organisation’s data.

As a result, data and analytics leaders are implementing self-service capabilities to create a data-driven culture throughout their organisations. This ultimately allows individuals to easily learn and benefit from effective analytics and BI tools, driving favourable business outcomes on demand, without the reliance from centralised IT systems.


Are the new tools alone enough?

With the growing demand and adoption of BI tools, individuals and organisations have been investing in acquiring and integrating these tools. However, what does this mean for their employees? With the amount of data being created today, and the growing need for procurement teams to be successful with that data, there are many individuals who feel overwhelmed by data. This combination can be a strong indication for procurement teams to start to foster the right culture and training for individuals to become more data literate to keep up with the growing availability of data.

Data literacy is the ability to:

Read: the simplest facet, the user needs to know how to read and comprehend the data available to them.

Work: the ability the shape and transform raw data to put it in the necessary context to gather insight to answer business questions.

Analyse: this facet means the user could build hypotheses from the data presented in the relevant context.

Argue: the ability to convince and persuade their insights to an audience with the data as the source of credibility.

If your procurement team aims to create a data-driven and data-literate culture in tandem with the investment of self-service BI tools, it will allow you to gain much more powerful insights on demand. However, even if your procurement team possesses the basic analytic skills, being able to make the leap into self-service BI and reducing reliance over IT can be challenging. Understanding that challenge has created a need for Aquiliti to help clients make that leap less daunting and more effective.


Aquiliti and BI

At Aquiliti, we not only design and deploy dashboards, we understand procurement and sustainability teams’ challenges, allowing us to provide proactive advice on data quality, data origination, and the analysis that should be done to uncover greater value.

We tailor the dashboards from those that we have developed for numerous procurement clients to date. We can use our standard templates to accelerate your deployment process and bring the learnings from previous clients to your context. So no matter where your organisation is at in the BI journey, Aquiliti can support your team to create a data-driven workforce.

To learn more visit our Business Intelligence page