We made a podcast: Managing Self-service BI in Complex Data Landscapes

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Real-world Advice From a Leading Construction Group

During my relatively short time at ZAP, I have quickly come to understand how important it is for our customers to be able to make accurate, relevant, business information available to all their users when they need it.

The right information in the hands of the right people at the right time enables the proactive identification of issues, potential risks, and areas of improvement, as well as quick, confident decision-making.

But there’s an important distinction to make between providing users with access to information relevant to their role and giving them the ability to find that information for themselves.

As consumers of business data become more sophisticated, we have seen increasing demands for the ability to explore business data more freely. The trend of users asking questions and uncovering their own answers, without requesting support from IT and/or Data Analysts, is a positive one.

Those familiar with the BI industry may well be thinking ‘Self-Service BI’. And for many, Self-Service BI will mean a visualization tool (dashboards, graphs, and charts) that can be pointed at a data source and quickly provide users with unrestricted access.

Sounds great, right? And it can be. But what about when users are faced with complex data structures and interrelationships such as those found in ERP applications? Given the complexities of this type of data, it is almost impossible to guarantee that users are generating accurate, trustworthy information with self-service tools.

But there is a way to ensure self-service access to data is secure and the information output is accurate, relevant and trustworthy. In the first edition of our Data Transforming Business podcast series, Jim Fennell, Information Systems Manager of Lagan Group, gives a real-world example of how.


Episode 1

Best Practices in Becoming a Data-Driven Organisation

Episode 2

Self-Service Business Intelligence for ERP Systems—Dream or Reality?

Episode 3

Unlocking business insights from ERP and related business management systems

A leader in the UK and Ireland construction industry, Lagan Group is a large organization of independent businesses that, as well as having their own systems and processes, also perform complex inter-group transactions.

Success for Jim meant giving each company self-service access to their own data, while also providing controlled access to data from other businesses in the group. In addition, Jim also needed to deliver consolidated, group-wide, financial and operational information to the top of the organization. You can hear how he did this by listening to the podcast now.

All three episodes of our Data Transforming Business podcast series, produced in collaboration with Sage, can be accessed now. Each podcast is an information-packed 10-minute discussion, chaired by moderator Donna Burbank of Global Data Strategy, with industry experts sharing their insight and experience.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments on the podcast and your own business transformation through data. Please send them to me at ben.douglass@zapbi.com.

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