Befriending Dragons

Intersectional Coaching Journeys: Reframe, Unblock, Move Forward


Self-Service BI Works!

When I talk to people about adding self-service BI to their company’s environment I generally get a list of reasons why it won’t work. Some things I commonly hear:

  • I can’t get anyone in IT or on the business side to even try it.
  • The business side doesn’t know how to use the technology.
  • This threatens my job.
  • I just don’t know where to start either politically/culturally or with the technology.
  • I have too many other things to do.
  • How can it possibly be secure, allow standardization, or result in quality data and decisions?
  • That’s not the way we do things.
  • I don’t really know what self-service BI means.

#PASSBAC 2013 Cindy and Eduardo 

So what is a forward thinking BI implementer to do? Well, Intel just went out and did it, blowing through the supposed obstacles. Eduardo Gamez of Intel’s Technology Manufacturing Engineering (TME) group interviewed business folks to find those who were motivated for change, found a great pilot project with committed employees, and drove the process forward. They put a “sandbox” environment up for the business to use and came up with a plan for monitoring the sandbox activity to find models and reports worth adding to their priority queue for enterprise BI projects. The business creates their own data models and their own reports for both high and low priority items. IT provides the infrastructure and training including products like Analysis Services, PowerPivot, Power View, SharePoint, Excel, SQL Server, and various data sources. The self-service models and reports are useful to the business – they reduce manual efforts, give them the reports they want much faster, and ultimately drive better, more agile business decisions. If a model isn’t quite right after the first try, they can quickly modify it. The same models and reports are useful to IT – they are very refined and complete requirements docs that shorten the time to higher quality enterprise models and reports, they free up IT resources to build a more robust infrastructure and allow IT to concentrate on projects that require specialized IT knowledge. Everyone wins with a shorter time to decision, higher quality decisions, and a significant impact on the bottom line.

Learn more about how Intel TME is implementing self-service BI:

Eduardo ( and I ( or @SQLCindy) are happy to talk to you about Self-Service BI – let us know what you need to know!

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PASS BAC PREVIEW SERIES: SQL Professionals and the World of Self-service BI and Big Data

Are you excited about the upcoming PASS Business Analytics Conference? You should be! This conference will offer a wide range of sessions about Microsoft’s End to End Business Intelligence (including Self-Service BI), Analytics, Big Data, Architecture, Reporting, Information Delivery, Data Management, and Visualization solutions. Whether you are an implementer, a planner, or a decision maker there is something here for you!


What makes this conference different? Why should you put in the effort to attend this conference in particular? We are seeing a paradigm shift focused on shorter time to decision, more data available than ever before, and the need for self-service BI. There are exciting technology solutions being presented to deal with these needs and new architectural skills are needed to implement them properly. Self-Service BI and Big Data are very different in many ways but also responding to the same problem – the need for additional insights and less time spent getting to those insights and the resulting impactful decisions. Self-Service BI via PowerPivot, Power View, Excel, and existing and new data sources including HDInsight/Hadoop (usually via Hive) offers fast time to decision, but you still sometimes need Enterprise BI to add additional value via services such as data curation, data stewardship, collaboration tools, additional security, training, and automation. Add in the powerful new data sources available with Big Data technologies such as HDInsight/Hadoop that can also reduce time to decision and open up all sorts of new opportunities for insight and you have many powerful new areas to explore. Not to mention that Dr. Steven Levitt, author of Freakonomics and SuperFreakonomics, is one of the keynote speakers!

Read more about my thoughts on Self-Service BI and Big Data in this #PASSBAC guest blog published today: PASS BAC PREVIEW SERIES: SQL Professionals and the World of Self-service BI and Big Data

And sign up for the session I am co-presenting at #PASSBAC with Eduardo Gamez of Intel: How Intel Integrates Self-Service BI with IT for Better Business Results

Take a look at all the information tagged with #PASSBAC and tweeted by @PASSBAC, there are some good blogs, preview sessions, and tidbits being posted. Get your own Twibbon for Twitter, Facebook, or however you want to use it, the Twibbon site will add a ribbon to the picture of your choice:


If you’re going to be in Chicago anyway, you might as well stay a few extra days for two nearby SQL Saturdays. The weekend before the conference take a short hop over to Madison, WI for #SQLSAT206 on April 6, 2013 at the Madison Area Tech College. Then head over to the bacon, uhhh, PASS BA CONference April 10-12. Stay one more day in Chicago (technically Addison, IL) for the #SQLSAT211 sessions at Devry. This is a great opportunity for even more SQL Server immersion and networking!

See you at #PASSBAC in Chicago in April!


Small Bites of Big Data