Three steps to managing self-service BI

There has been much discussion recently about data falling into the wrong hands, following the Information Commissioner Office (ICO) fines for companies that have inadvertently lost customer data.

Not to mention information that has come to light from the Wikileaks scandals. There can be no denying that the issue of sensitive data is something CIOs need to tackle head-on.

Particularly with the ICO now having the power to fine organisations up to £500,000 for serious data breaches, ten times the maximum penalty level that had previously been in place.

These concerns around data sensitivity create new challenges for CIOs in ensuring employees have access to the data they require to deliver their job responsibilities at optimum performance.

In light of these issues, many CIOs are now looking into self-service BI, to provide employees at all levels with reporting tools that enable them to navigate and share data sensibly across the organisation.

However, it is important that CIOs not only enable an environment that encourages caution around sensitive data, but also remain one step ahead to manage their business critical data and the people who have access to it.

This is because in the modern working environment, employees across all functions need access to data and information to make decisions without delay.

Take the fall-out from the banking crisis as a prime example. While many institutions were pre-warned about the slowdown in inventory turnover, few banks had the data available to minimise the impact of the crisis. If the data had been available, banks could have then tightened their lending standards and adjusted capital reserves accordingly.

The good news for CIOs is that the prevalence of technology in companies is now driving flatter organisation structures, which in turn puts data into the hands of the many, not the few.

It is an organisation’s employees who know what information they require, so in certain cases, the CIO may wish to provide them with the reports and dashboards they need to make informed decisions.

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