pros and consThere is much hype today about ‘big data’ and ‘self-service reporting’. There has certainly been a definite shift in the business intelligence arena. Traditional BI used to be in the hands of IT alone, whereas these days everybody has access to high volumes of data and so the question is raised as to whether self-service reporting is a actually positive thing for organisations or not.

Here are some pros and cons of self-service reporting:


  • Empowers users – Self-service reporting provides the tools for you to design and customise your own reports.
  • Requires minimal assistance from IT – It allows both business and IT professionals to focus on their own expertise. It also provides non-technical staff with the power to gather meaningful information.
  • Operationally efficient – You can test an assumption in a flash, rather than sending a report to IT and waiting for a response. Therefore, appropriate business decisions can be made more quickly. Reports can also be distributed easily.


  • Too much power in the hands of users – Anyone can create massive volumes of data and this is open to being misinterpreted or misused. Companies hire knowledgeable IT analysts for good reason, as they know the system and can ensure data integrity.
  • Data manipulations are open to misinterpretation –Users may be able to manipulate queries for validations of their own assumptions and if these are not properly monitored, non-intelligent decisions can be made.
  • Potential time waster – Too many staff are free to look up different BI queries when they want and this can result in wasted time.

To summarise, self-service reporting can indeed be a very useful platform, however, for it to be used successfully organisations need to ensure that appropriate measures are set in order to deal with problems that might arise.

You may be interested in checking out our self-service reporting tool, Sharperlight. Sharperlight can deliver enormous benefit to organisations with its cross-platform reporting capabilities and has proved extremely popular with our clients.

Feel free to let us know your thoughts on big data and self-service reporting on +44 203 866 8800, or:

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