In the early, wild west days of self-service BI, the message about the benefits of centralization got lost with the zeal to “give users what they want”. Companies are now realizing the vital role that corporate IT, data governance, and centralized analytics repositories with proper metadata can play in analytics systems. For example, Oracle Analytics can define a centralized metadata repository database. This centralized repository is accessed by all users and can be enhanced (or ignored entirely) by users with user-created data sets.
In Part 1 of this blog, I reviewed the pros and cons of governed vs. self-service analytics and the tug-of-war between the two approaches. In Part 2, I am going to show you how it does not have to be a zero-sum game. You can get the best of both worlds.
Vlamis often helps clients on both sides of this tug-of-war. A recently published case study about Vlamis client Certegy demonstrates the dilemma faced by organizations that embrace the ad-hoc approach without incorporating the structure of governed analytics.
Certegy built its original Oracle Analytics Cloud (OAC) implementation mostly using data sets and data flows. This implementation did not take advantage of the RPD, modeling, or subject areas. Data sets and data flows enable a quick, simple implementation, but they lack the robustness of an analytic data model and have size limitations in the amount of data they can return.
Vlamis introduced a governed analytics infrastructure at Certegy that worked in concert with the existing ad hoc approach to achieve the following benefits:
Based on our experience with Certegy and other clients, here are some ideas for balancing both approaches to data:
The key to achieving the maximum benefit is in finding balance. Know when data needs to be governed more closely and when it can remain self-service. This is not a zero-sum game, where one method is right and the other is wrong. In the pursuit of the best, most complete analyses, both approaches should be brought to bear.
I expect future developments will make it easier than ever for the governed and self-service analytics approaches to peaceably coexist. Users can create and share their own multi-table data sets from uploaded data or web-accessible data. Combine this capability with coming developments such as a friendly web-based UI to edit the metadata repository and the lines between corporate governed analytics and self-service analytics become blurred. Organizations will control what data is governed via granting rights to groups of users rather than access to specific metadata tools. Future competition between governed and self-service analytics will become more of an act of policy than access to specific tools.