A new Approach – Self-Service Business Intelligence Tools


Because both the data warehouse and OLAP approaches fall short of expectations for speedy and comprehensive analytical data access, a new approach surfaced.

The SSBI Technology

Self-Service Business Intelligence (SSBI) technologies, like Qlik and Tableau, introduced an approach to data analytics that enabled business users to access and work with corporate information without the IT department’s involvement. These SSBI tools have the capability of ‘blending’ or locally integrating data from the data warehouse with any other data sources not stored in the data warehouse. This is accomplished by pulling copies of the data sources into a local data store where the analyst can ‘blend’ or integrate the data as needed.

Pitfalls of SSBI

These self-service tools are flexible and relatively easy to implement and they provide a good level of independence for data analysts but there are clear disadvantages to these tools. The most prominent disadvantage is that data analysis performed in this manner quickly becomes unmanageable, resulting in redundant work, inconsistent results and, in short, chaotic reporting practices when used on a broad scale throughout organizations. Since everybody can define their own rules and calculations, it is both possible and likely for different groups and individuals to calculate the same KPIs and metrics in different ways, leading to an array of conflicting results, and to the publishing of both confusing and contradictory information.

Because these solutions have no permissions structure, there is no security layer to protect sensitive data, which is a severe
vulnerability since analysts frequently and casually exchange data files. Also, the ability to transform the data is relatively limited in most cases. Further, because many machines are doing the same work for different users in parallel, powerful computer resources are being used inefficiently, contributing to rising costs and lower system performance.

Advantages and Disadvantages of SSBI Tools

Would you like to know more about SSBI and different data integration tools? Check out our free ebook, “Beyond the Data Lake”, and enhance your knowledge of modern data integration.