Published on

June 9, 2024


The Power of Self-Service Analytics: Empowering Users

Unlock the power of self-service analytics! Discover how self-service analytics can empower your team, improve decisions & transform your organization.
Giorgio Barilla
Digital Marketing Specialist

What if you could harness the power of data without relying on IT experts or data science specialists?

Enter self-service analytics – a transformative aproach that has redefined the way businesses harness the power of data. It empowers users throughout an organization to independently explore and analyze data, removing the traditional barriers of technical expertise and IT dependency. 

This paradigm shift has ushered in a new era of data-driven decision-making, offering a multitude of benefits that are propelling its adoption across businesses of all sizes.

In this guide, we’ll provide comprehensive insights into the complex world of self-service analytics and unravel its great potential. We’ll also introduce a platform that promotes equal data accessibility across an organization – Akkio.

Let’s embark on the path toward data-driven success and revolutionize the way your organization operates!

What is Self-service Analytics?

Self-service analytics represents a progressive shift within the Business Intelligence (BI) sphere. It enables end-users, the primary builders of data-informed decisions, to independently explore and interpret data. Think of it as giving everyone their own data tool to play with.

In the past, only IT specialists would handle data and show results to others. But with self-service analytics, anyone in a company, no matter their tech skills, can look at, study, and even make interactive dashboards and visualizations (i.g., charts, graphs, etc.) from the data they have.

Who is Self-service Analytics For?

If you're a business owner requiring accurate information for decisions, an analyst unraveling significant insights from heaps of data, or a non-technical team member looking to dive deeper,  then self-service analytics is vital for you. 

In particular, small to mid-sized businesses frequently grappling with resource constraints for dedicated IT or data science teams would benefit from the substantial benefits of self-service analytics. 

Leading generative BI platforms, such as Akkio, make self-service analytics accessible to users of all technical backgrounds, eliminating the expertise barrier that data science operations often require.

Whether trying to troubleshoot recurrent issues as a support team member, understanding customer purchase triggers as a marketer, or predicting and managing customer churn, self-service analytics delivers. It's more than a tool – it's a catalyst for informed decisions, transforming how organizations understand and use data.

Pros of Self-service Analytics

From Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) to large corporations, the use of self-service analytics has a number of advantages.

Faster decision-making

Traditional data requests often create bottlenecks, causing delays in addressing critical business issues. Self-service analytics empowers users to answer questions promptly, leading to quicker and more informed decisions.

Reduced IT dependency

With self-service analytics, the burden on IT and data teams decreases significantly. Routine data requests that used to consume precious IT resources can now be handled by business users themselves, which, in turn, allows IT professionals to focus on more strategic tasks, boosting overall productivity.

Enhanced data exploration

Self-service analytics tools and platforms, such as Akkio, provide users with a user-friendly interface that simplifies data exploration. Users can easily filter, sort, and visualize data to uncover hidden patterns, trends, and insights. This empowers employees to make data-driven decisions without specialized training.

Greater collaboration

Self-service analytics fosters collaboration across different departments within an organization and eliminates data silos (isolated or disconnected data). Teams can share reports and insights with colleagues, facilitating cross-functional decision-making and often leading to a more holistic understanding of business operations and challenges.

Customization and flexibility

One size does not fit all when it comes to data analysis. Self-service analytics tools allow users to tailor reports and dashboards to their specific needs. Garnering insights that may be missed by a conventional data team, users can generate insightful reports and visualizations in sync with their unique needs. Such user-curated data interpretation not only adds to efficiency but also leads to more pertinent and high-impact data insights.

Cost efficiency

By reducing the need for specialized data professionals and streamlining data processes, self-service analytics can result in cost savings. Organizations can allocate resources more efficiently and allocate budgets to more strategic initiatives.

Empowering non-technical users

Not everyone in an organization is a data expert, but everyone can benefit from data-driven insights. Self-service analytics levels the playing field, enabling business users to make decisions based on facts rather than gut feelings or intuition.  

With its advantages resonating with businesses worldwide, businesses using tools like Tableau have already experienced quicker access to data, improved collaboration across teams, and extracted value from their data by integrating self-service analytics. 

Moreover, a Gartner survey further indicates that by 2023, organizations using active metadata, Machine Learning (ML), and data fabrics to connect, optimize, and relate data will reduce time to integrate data by 30%.

These statistics underscore how crucial utilizing self-service analytics is in today’s data-centric era.

Choosing the Right Self-service Analytics Platform

Selecting an appropriate self-service analytics platform is critical for maximizing the benefits of this powerful data analysis approach. The chosen platform must align perfectly with your organization's needs and capabilities, ensuring seamless integration and operating smoothly without causing disruption or inconveniences to your existing structure and processes.

There's an array of factors to consider in this selection process, including:

  • Ease of use: Opt for a user-friendly platform with an easy-to-use interface to facilitate data analytics for even non-technical users within your organization.
  • Scalability: Choose a platform that can scale up as your business grows to handle increasing amounts of data and users seamlessly.
  • Performance: Speed and responsiveness are crucial for productivity. Evaluate the platform's performance, especially when dealing with complex analytics tasks or large datasets.
  • Cost: Cost-effectiveness is important because it directly affects your organization's bottom line. Go for a tool that provides the greatest value for the investment made.

Specific Features to Look for in a Self-service Analytics Platform

After assessing the above general attributes, it's time to delve into the specific data analytics capabilities that a sturdy self-service analytics platform should have.

Data preparation and cleaning capabilities

  • Data quality checks and validation features to ensure that your data is accurate, consistent, and free from errors.
  • Data transformation to allow users to transform and preprocess data easily by conducting data normalization, handling missing values, and implementing data enrichment.
  • Seamless integration with various data sources and formats with the ability to connect to databases, APIs, spreadsheets, and cloud data warehouses to simplify data access.

Interactive dashboards and visualizations

  • Easy-to-use drag-and-drop interface to facilitate the creation of interactive dashboards, visualizations, and data representation even for non-technical users.
  • Extensive customization options for charts, graphs, and dashboards. Users should have the flexibility to tailor visualizations to their specific needs.
  • Interactive elements like drill-downs, filters, and hover-over tooltips to enhance the user experience and enable deeper data exploration.

Predictive analytics

  • Machine learning integration to empower users to build predictive models to forecast trends, identify outliers, and make data-driven predictions.
  • Automated insights generation features to identify patterns and correlations in the data, making it easier for users to discover valuable information.

Real-time data analysis

  • Streaming data support to enable the immediate analysis of data as it flows in for real-time decision-making.
  • The ability to set alerts and notifications based on predefined thresholds to ensure that critical events are addressed promptly.

Data security measures

  • Role-based access control mechanisms are vital in guaranteeing that users can access and modify data relevant to their roles only.
  • Encryption of data at rest and in transit to protect sensitive information and comply with data protection regulations.
  • Comprehensive audit trails to help track data access and changes, which are essential for compliance and security monitoring.

Support and training resources

  • User documentation, including tutorials, FAQs, and guides to help users learn and navigate the platform effectively.
  • Training programs, workshops, or webinars to enhance user skills.
  • A responsive support team to address user queries and issues promptly.

Integration and compatibility

  • Seamless ecosystem integration with the existing tech stack. 
  • Compatibility with popular data tools, databases, and business intelligence solutions.
  • Application Programming Interface (API) support to allow for custom integrations and automation, extending the platform's capabilities.

All these features and more can be found in Akkio, which requires minimal to zero coding skills, making it accessible to all users in your company. Akkio offers a winning combination of user-friendly interfaces and extensive resources to guarantee a seamless transition into the realm of self-service analytics.

Akkio: Generative Business Intelligence (BI) for Analysts

Akkio assertively claims its place as a self-service analytics platform that brilliantly aligns with all the earlier requirements. It goes a step further, surpassing basics and providing an expansive solution designed to empower users to extract and decipher crucial business data from a user-focused easy-to-use interface. 

Among Akkio’s key predictive analytics capabilities are:

  • Machine learning-based predictions: Akkio’s predictive potency is fueled by potent ML algorithms, elevating it well beyond being a standard BI tool. For instance, Akkio enables you to predict customer churn based on historical data, thereby empowering you to make strategic business decisions.
Customer churn prediction using machine learning with Akkio.
Customer churn prediction using machine learning with Akkio.
  • Real-time data analysis: Akkio makes timely decisions based on live data a reality, free from demanding coding requirements without compromising the safety of your business's sensitive information.
  • Integrations: Akkio further fortifies its ranking by effortlessly integrating with an extensive range of other data collection tools like HubSpot, Google Big Query, Zapier, etc. This flexibility allows Akkio to adapt and divert reports to various ends in an efficient, effective manner.
Akkio’s integrations.
  • Chat Data Prep: Akkio transforms the usually tiring task of data preprocessing and preparation into a convenient chat interaction, smoothing your path from raw data to insightful analysis.
A demo of Akkio’s Chat Data Prep feature for data preprocessing and preparation.
  • Chat Explore: With Chat Explore, Akkio empowers users to delve into their data to a granular level. An example is a user being able to type 'What is the average price range for Q1 of 2020' and getting a direct, accurate response, reducing the need for complex data programming.
A demo of Akkio’s Chat Explore feature.

Akkio reimagines self-service analytics, equipping users to bypass complexities and directly access clear, actionable insights. Regardless of whether you are a skilled data analyst or a business owner seeking valuable foresights, Akkio stands out as a considerable option that is resourceful, user-friendly, and security-conscious.

Akkio’s self-service analytics is the ultimate solution for organizations striving to extract meaningful insights from abundant data, offering solutions finely tuned toward various business scenarios to improve decision-making and operational efficiency.

Use cases for leveraging Akkio for self-service analytics

For marketing teams dealing with the mammoth task of decoding customer behavior, Akkio can predict the Customer Lifetime Value (CLV). This is a vital metric representing the total revenue a customer will generate during their relationship with a business. Akkio simplifies this complex task, enabling marketers to identify, focus, and retain high-value customers.

Sample result of a CLV prediction using Akkio.
Sample result of a CLV prediction using Akkio.

Akkio's platform enables marketing teams to accurately track ad spending across various channels to understand the effectiveness of each channel and facilitate smarter optimization of advertising budgets.

Even better, Akkio's applications are not just limited to augmenting marketing decisions. Business owners, irrespective of the industry, can also significantly benefit from the platform’s ability to accurately forecast revenue

Akkio swiftly steps in as a reliable navigator, providing insights about future revenue based on past data and trends, equipping businesses to better plan their growth strategies.

Other Self-service Analytics Platforms

Here's a list of other notable self-service analytics platforms that are making significant strides in the business intelligence landscape.

1. Tableau

Overview: Tableau is one of the leading self-service analytics platforms known for its robust data visualization capabilities. It caters to both technical and non-technical users, allowing them to create complex graphs and interactive dashboards with ease.

Key Features:

  • Intuitive drag-and-drop interface.
  • Ability to handle large datasets effectively.
  • Strong mobile support with interactive dashboards.
  • Extensive community support and resources.


  • User-Friendly Interface: Allows users to easily create and share interactive data visualizations.
  • Flexible Connectivity: Connects to numerous data sources, including cloud databases and spreadsheets.
  • Advanced Visualizations: Offers advanced graphical capabilities and customization options.


  • Cost: Can be expensive, particularly the premium versions which offer the full range of capabilities.
  • Performance: Handling very large datasets may require a robust hardware setup, impacting performance.
  • Complexity in Scaling: Enterprise deployment and scaling can be complex and might require ongoing IT involvement.

2. Microsoft Power BI

Overview: Power BI is a collection of software services, apps, and connectors that work together to turn unrelated sources of data into coherent, visually immersive, and interactive insights.

Key Features:

  • Deep integration with other Microsoft services.
  • Offers both desktop and cloud-based versions.
  • Regular updates with new functionalities.


  • Cost-Effective: Offers a robust free version and the Pro version is competitively priced.
  • Integration: Seamlessly integrates with existing Microsoft products which many companies already use.
  • Publishing and Sharing: Easy to publish reports and dashboards that can be updated in real-time.


  • DAX Learning Curve: Data Analysis Expressions (DAX) can be complex for new users.
  • Limited Data Points: The free version has limitations on data points refresh and other features.
  • Dependency: Relies heavily on other Microsoft products which could be a limitation for non-Microsoft environments.

3. Qlik Sense

Overview: Qlik Sense is a self-service data application that enables users to create guided analytics applications and interactive dashboards.

Key Features:

  • Associative analytics engine.
  • Sophisticated AI and data integration capabilities.
  • Flexible, cloud-ready deployments.


  • Data Association: Uniquely capable of data indexing to find relationships between data sets.
  • User Independence: Empowers users to create their visualizations without much technical knowledge.
  • Responsive Design: Dashboards and reports adjust intuitively to different devices (desktops, tablets, and smartphones).


  • Memory Intensive: Can require a significant amount of memory, which can impact performance.
  • Steep Learning Curve: Can be complex for users unfamiliar with its unique approach to data modeling.
  • Cost: Pricing can be a barrier for small businesses or individual users.

4. Looker Studio

Overview: Looker Studio turns your data into customizable informative reports and dashboards that are easy to read and share.

Key Features:

  • Free to use with a Google account.
  • Real-time data collaboration.
  • Integration with other Google tools and services.


  • Cost: Completely free to use, making it accessible for startups and individuals.
  • Integration: Excellent integration with Google Analytics, AdWords, and other Google services.
  • Usability: Very user-friendly with a gentle learning curve.


  • Data Sources: Limited in its ability to connect with non-Google sources compared to other BI tools.
  • Customization: While improving, it still lacks some of the deeper customization features of more developed tools.
  • Complex Calculations: Not as robust in handling complex calculations as other premium tools.

5. Sisense

Overview: Sisense empowers builders to manage complex data and transform it into powerful analytics apps that enable data-driven decisions.

Key Features:

  • Drag-and-drop user interface to create interactive dashboards.
  • In-chip technology to improve performance.
  • Strong API for customization.


  • Scalability: Handles large datasets well, scaling dynamically as more data is added.
  • Customizable: Extensive API support for customization.
  • Data Crunching: Powerful backend suitable for complex data models and real-time data processing.


  • Complexity: Might be overwhelming for users without a technical background.
  • Cost: Higher cost of ownership compared to basic BI tools.
  • Setup: May require initial setup and ongoing maintenance by an IT team.

Best Practices for Getting Started With Self-service Analytics

Initiating self-service analytics involves not just employing a new tool but fostering a culture of data literacy and democratization across the organization, enabling non-technical users to access data and generate valuable insights. 

While platforms like Akkio can greatly streamline the process, adhering to specific best practices, like those listed below, facilitates a smooth transition to self-service analytics and ensures efficient utilization.

  • Prioritize data curation and collection: The cornerstone of any successful data analysis venture is well-curated, quality data. Consequently, ensuring your data is accurately captured, effectively represented, and securely stored using standard protocols proves critical.
  • Understand your data needs and capabilities: Before deploying self-service analytics, conducting an exhaustive assessment of your current data infrastructure, types of data handled, and specific problems addressed by your data is recommended. Comprehending these aspects will enable your organization to choose appropriate methods and tools to yield maximum benefits.
  • Implement rigorous data governance: Despite the democratization of data analysis through self-service analytics, stringent data governance remains essential. Consistent checks and balances uphold the reliability of data while also maintaining necessary privacy and security standards.
  • Involve all stakeholders: The successful integration of self-service analytics necessitates collaboration from different departments. Engage key stakeholders, such as IT specialists, business teams, and data generators like sales and support teams, to ensure a cohesive data governance process.
  • Train your users: Despite the most user-friendly platforms, some level of user familiarity with data analysis and the tools can prove beneficial. To ensure maximum utilization of tools, keep your team updated with ongoing training resources. Akkio’s resources are particularly useful for this.
  • Start with a pilot project: Instead of a complete organization-wide implementation of self-service analytics, it is often advisable to start with a pilot project. This initial phase provides a safety net for your organization to familiarize itself with the new approach in a controlled environment, identify any potential challenges, and address them in the nascent stages.
  • Foster a data-driven culture: Creating a successful transition towards self-service analytics is significantly supported by fostering a data-driven culture across the organization. Make data a routine part of decision-making in all departments, implementing self-service analytics more efficiently. 

Optimize data-driven decision-making with Akkio

Throughout this article, we've explored the complexities and benefits of self-service analytics, emphasizing its crucial role in today's data-driven business environment. Advancements in self-service analytics signify a game-changing evolution in business intelligence, offering users direct interaction with data and paving the way for data democratization. It curates an environment steeped in efficiency and productivity while also creating cost savings by reducing the dependency on dedicated IT teams.

The key to unlocking this transformative power is finding a user-friendly and resilient self-service analytics platform. Your selection should focus on platforms that bring together convenient data preparation and cleaning capabilities, interactive dashboards, real-time data analysis, solid data security measures, and predictive analytics capabilities that can forecast trends and business outcomes.

That’s where Akkio comes in! Akkio's leading features go beyond the ordinary with an approachable interface that requires no coding skills. Akkio offers predictive analytics that not only provides accurate business foresight but also optimizes your data-driven decision-making process in real time, ensuring stringent data security.

Don't wait any longer to initiate the transformation of your business into a data-driven powerhouse. Fully harness the undeniable power of self-service analytics and sky-rocket your organization to a successful future with Akkio, today!

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