Data Analytics

Self-Service Analytics

A person uses a touch screen with charts, graphs, and a digital globe, symbolizing global self-service analytics and interconnected data functions

Self-service analytics empowers users to discover insights and run reports and visualizations without the help of IT professionals.

Why is Self-Service Analytics Important?

Users in different lines of business no longer need to make requests to the IT team to create reports. Vendors have developed new capabilities to make powerful business intelligence (BI) dashboards easier for users to create for their specific business functions.

The main reason to embrace this new paradigm is to allow users to operate autonomously without relying on central IT functions. Starter packs, video guides, in-context help, and cloud-based subscriptions will enable line of business users to explore their own operational data and make data-based decisions with greater agility.

Key Capabilities of Self-Service Analytics

The following features help to make traditional BI self-service:

Ease of Use

The BI user interface must be intuitive with simple drag-and-drop charting for business users to succeed with self-service analytics.

AI Assistance

Artificial intelligence (AI) enables self-service by providing a natural language interface for writing queries rather than writing more complex SQL queries. The natural language approach can take a conversational chat-based approach, prompting the user for the required information. The SQL query the user is building can be displayed as the prompts are completed to teach the user how to write queries more directly. The second area where AI can help is by making it easier to select appropriate algorithms for analyzing and interpreting business data and developing forecasts.

Cloud-Based Service Delivery

Departmental users usually have operational expense accounts, which they can use to fund self-service analytics subscriptions without involving slow and cumbersome procurement cycles.

Built-In Training

In-context demos and video training make the initial learning curve for the BI application less steep.

Pre-Built Templates

Many analytics providers host marketplaces containing templates that are designed to offer a head start. Pre-built templates can be focused on horizontal and vertical lines of business use cases. Examples of dashboards for horizontal use cases might include Customer 360, marketing, sales, and finance. These dashboards use relevant feeds from applications such as ERP, social media, and CRM systems.

Benefits of Self-Service Analytics

Below are some of the many benefits of self-service analytics:

  • Analytics expertise is developed across the business by delegating analytics to individuals in lines of business so they can reduce their reliance on centralized BI and IT experts.
  • More corporate data assets are used for decision making because more people can access self-service tools.
  • Increased business responsiveness to changing customer behavior and market conditions as users are more in sync with such changes.
  • Provide greater analytics expertise for departments and empower them to share insights with shared dashboards.
  • Democratizing analytics by bringing it into the reach of more business users, thanks to increased ease of use and convenience.
  • Improved decision making translates into greater efficiency and profitability.

Examples of Self-Service Analytics

Customer Support

Self-service analytics can help the customer support organization to be more proactive. Basic customer support analytics tracks the number of active calls at various levels of severity and the time it takes to close trouble tickets. More sophisticated analysis involves correlating account management, sales, and support activities to ensure support issues do not impact license renewals. By looking at the individuals who open the most support cases, training opportunities can be uncovered, or higher levels of support, including on-site audits, can be offered to make poor configurations less error prone.


Self-service analytics can help sales teams be more responsive. If sales have direct access to data feeds from marketing systems that track the buyer’s journey, the inside sales team could turn Marketo contacts into active contacts by calling prospects minutes after downloading a gated asset instead of waiting for a notification from Salesforce.

Customer retention teams can proactively track contacts that visit competitors’ websites or search for specific keywords so they can reach out with their best offer and ensure a renewal.


Most marketing teams have difficulty getting a cohesive view of prospects at each stage of their buying journey down the funnel. Self-service dashboards that show paid and organic search activity, landing page visits, downloads, trials, and outbound sales prospecting activity provides the big-picture view they need. Marketing must justify spending on campaigns, etc., so dashboards that demonstrate the return on different campaigns and tactics help make the case for repeat activities.

Advanced Analytics with Actian

The Actian Data Platform provides one place to store, clean and analyze data. Analysis projects at the departmental level can be easily created and shared across the business. The Actian Data Platform works with most data sources and BI solutions, offering each line of business flexibility on which tools they use. Get started with a free 30-day trial by signing up here.