7 signs you need self-service reports in financial services


Overview | What you'll learn: 

If you’re an IT leader in the financial services industry, you know what it takes to provide the infrastructure your organization requires. Bullet proof security, unshakable compliance, and massive data management all depend on you.

There’s another growing pressure you’re likely facing: the need to provide more analytics. With so much data pouring in, everyone from top execs to individual analysts is looking for ways to get more insight from data to help the organization excel.

How do you deliver analytics to everyone when you face tight budgets, no bandwidth, and the need for immediate answers? Implement self-service business intelligence.

If any of these 7 scenarios feels familiar, you’re ready for self-service BI:

  1. Execs are demanding analytics
  2. Endless queue of report requests
  3. Reports lead to more reports
  4. Frustration that data is old
  5. Demand for mashed-up data
  6. Desire for visual analysis
  7. It’s already happening

Read this whitepaper for a complete look at this list and – most importantly – what’s in it for IT.

We've also pulled out the first several pages of the whitepaper for you to read. Download the PDF on the right to read the rest.


IT leaders in Financial Services have a lot riding on their teams. Security and compliance are essential backbones to keep the lights on. Data storage and management are pressing issues given the massive amounts of information pouring in. Networks and trading systems have to be bullet proof.

But there’s another growing pressure that IT must face: the need to provide analytics. Corporate leaders are acutely aware that buried in all their data is the secret sauce for competitive differentiation and industry leadership. And they turn to IT for the solution.

In this era, leaders within many industries – companies like Capital One, Amazon, and Harrah’s – have built their prowess on analytical cultures. As Thomas Davenport and Jeanne Harris explain in their book Competing on Analytics, “Organizations are competing on analytics not just because they can…but also because they should.”

How can you close the gap between the goal to become a data-driven organization and the reality of tight budgets, a business intelligence (BI) team without bandwidth, and demand for solutions that can be up and running immediately? The answer is self-service business intelligence.

Instead of confining your organization to a small pool of expensive, elite, BI professionals, self-service BI equips individuals throughout the organization to do their own analysis. The good news? These people are experts and they know exactly the questions they need to ask and answer. The great news? They’ll have a solution that gets them answers quickly they can then share with colleagues, fueling the reality of a data-driven organization.

Are you ready?

How do you know you’re ready for self-service BI? Look for these 7 indicators:

  • Execs are demanding analytics. Let’s face it – if your senior leadership team is pounding the table, insisting that you become a more data-driven organization, you can skip to “Getting started” at the end of this paper. But it’s likely that your team is seeing at least a few more of these indicators as well.
  • Endless queue of report requests. You’ve thrown up your hands in exasperation knowing that you’ll never, ever get through the list that grows daily. Your crackerjack analyst team is doing their best, but they are only human. The most you can hope for is prioritizing the requests, which usually translates into the highest priority items getting done but most of the others falling on the floor.
  • Reports lead to more reports. Despite your efforts to elicit a full set of requirements before building a report, the follow-up questions never end. While it’s good that your work reveals something interesting, it’s not so good that the only way to answer the next question (and the 20 after that) is to cycle back through your team.
  • Frustration that data is old. One of the unavoidable realities in the cycle of requesting a report, waiting for the report, then asking more questions about the report is that data gets stale. Both our professional and personal worlds have evolved to the point where we expect instant gratification. This latency just doesn’t cut it.
  • Demand for mashed-up data. While people might not use the term “mashed-up,” it’s what they have in mind when they say “could we layer some third-party market data on top,” or “I’ve got a bunch of stuff in an Excel file and I want to see how it relates to what’s here.” While you see the value of combining multiple data sources, it’s not practical for a centralized BI team to make all these adjustments.
  • Desire for visual analysis. People get more out of data when they can see it in meaningful visual forms versus scanning rows, columns, and tables. If people haven’t started requesting more visual data, they’re likely to start. How does this relate to self-service BI? When people can see their data in myriad forms, they aren’t coming back to you for new views to get their answers.
  • It’s already happening. While not true everywhere, many organizations already have rogue self-service BI implementations. Resourceful business leaders recognize your team’s bandwidth limits, and they know they’ve got top talent and projects to deliver. The result is that many have implemented their own self service BI implementation. The silver lining for IT leaders is that these implementations are yielding bang-up results and you’ve got willing and eager constituents who will support your self-service BI initiative.

Want to read more? Download the rest of the whitepaper!

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