Commentary: Trust and data quality critical in self-service BI

Piecing data from multiple sources to glean useful business insights is often a frustrating affair. Even after the data sources have been identified, it would take days for an IT department to generate the reports you need.


In response, a flurry of software vendors, such as JackBe and QlikView, have developed self-service business intelligence (BI) tools that make it easier for business executives to say, marry real-time sales data across different retail stores with performance targets to gauge how effective a marketing campaign has been.


Take Presto 3.5, JackBe’s latest iteration of its BI tool that allows business users to easily create operational and metrics driven apps and dashboards using real time information across the enterprise. Executives can drag and drop data points on their dashboards, create data visualisations and access reports on PCs and mobile devices.


JackBe CTO John Crupi told Techgoondu earlier this month: ”Rather than extract, transfer and load data into a data warehouse, which doesn’t make sense when you have data sources from Twitter and other social media, we are able to connect to live sources and allow you to put together the data as you need it without waiting for IT”.


While self-service BI tools will go a long away to speed up data-driven decision making, enterprises will still need to grapple with data quality issues such as duplicate and inaccurate data that plague many BI projects.


If data quality issues are left unchecked, business executives may grow to mistrust the data – and insights – generated by BI tools in decision making. Perhaps establishing a trust system where users are allowed to rate the “trustworthiness” of data sources for other users may help.


Also, by allowing business managers to align metrics with live data at the operational level, companies need to make sure executives are tracking the right metrics that are aligned with their corporate strategy. Otherwise, there’s a risk that self-service BI will end up as white elephant projects that do nothing more than providing fancy dashboards.

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