Self-service analytics has the potential to transform every facet of an organization. It will enable the CFO to give human resources, marketing, product, sales, and operations access to the financial information they need to do their own data discovery and visual analysis, so that they can understand the bottom-line impact of their decisions.
With the right tools, business managers, business analysts, and employees who take the initiative on finding answers will be able to blend data sets together to answer questions with more context. For example, a financial analyst could move well beyond aggregate measures like average store profitability, and on to the fine-grained drivers of profitability by specific product lines within specific stores. This ability to easily hone in on small details can ensure that a finance organization’s strategy and discipline is shared by marketing, product, and other core operations.
Let’s look at some other things organizations could do with the right self-service analytics tools:
- A retailer or quick service restaurant could analyze profitability down to a store or even individual SKU by marrying point-of-sales systems with merchandising classification hierarchies.
- A business-to-business enterprise could improve financial forecasting by joining financial data with pipeline data to analyze not only current growth rates, but also to better understand how the opportunity backlog might impact future revenue.
- A hospitality company could bring in public sources of data such as hotel reviews, ratings, or weather information to present a holistic business dashboard, including financial, operational, and contextual metrics.
Certainly, data governance and security controls need to be in place when financial and human resources data become democratized across an organization. Processes must be established to ensure that third-party data is accurate, defined appropriately, and up-to-date. Analyses are most useful when tailored, such as providing store managers with dashboards populated only for their specific stores or regions.