It has been a lots of trends and buzzwords during the last 20 years in Business Intelligence area. At the moment self-service BI are one of the most frequent discussions in organizations. Why? Aren’t self-service BI just a hype and a passing trend? I would say No and I will explain why.
Many organizations are stuck in a variety of standard reports. For some cases this is enough but for others it’s not enough when it comes to support faster decisions, blend data sources, collaboration, customizations and analyze information in detail. If you then add possibilities to work with big data and create own analyses and visualization the standard report will not be effective. For the last years the leading vendors has been worked hard to provide this type of tool. A tool that have flexibility to work with common data sources, collaborates with other environments, easy for business people to use, can work with large set of information and last but not least low cost. An equation that can be hard to achieve.
Microsoft has with Power BI come a long way on this journey. With a legacy from older solutions combined with new technology they have provided a solution that actually are user friendly in practice. Self-service BI will not just be a sales pitch. Users will notice themselves how easy it is. Of course you can do formulas and scripting in the tool to support more advanced functions. But this, Microsoft has managed to do without making the tool unnecessarily complicated. Here you can for instance create predictive analysis without programming. Microsoft Power BI simplifies very much for the common user, for example a business analyst, marketing manager, controller etc.
The solution are cloud-based with strong synergies to Azure and Office 365 and it’s also combined with a desktop application. If your organization are having self-service BI needs I would recommend evaluate Power BI.