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This report provides a comprehensive guide for line-of-business users and managers to make a solid business case for self-service analytics to budget holders and IT. Ovum also advises users to read "A Practitioner's Guide to Self-Service BI and Analytics" to understand the self-service analytics market, navigate some of the available choices, and understand how to choose among vendors.


  • The problem with communicating the value of self-service analytics is manifold; a significant obstacle is that a majority of the costs and benefits of a self-service analytics solution tend to be intangible or indirect, which make it difficult to objectively know their real impact.

Features and Benefits

  • Highlights fault lines in existing analytics solutions, and how they may be inadequate in addressing current and future business pain points and – critically – value-adding opportunities.
  • Assists with quantifying the benefits (tangible and intangible) and costs (direct and indirect) of deploying a proposed solution.
  • Demonstrates how to formulate the total cost of ownership (TCO) and return on investment (ROI) of new solutions, with a detailed cost and benefit analysis.

Key questions answered

  • What are the key benefits and costs of any self-service analytics solution?
  • How can you successfully make a business case?

Table of contents


  • Catalyst
  • Ovum view
  • Key messages


  • Recommendations for enterprises
  • Recommendations for vendors

Highlighting the fault lines in existing analytics solutions

  • Key issues with current analytic systems
  • Speed of querying leaves a lot to be desired
  • The system is largely geared towards "push" analytics that lack depth
  • Sharing and collaborating on insights across the business is challenging
  • Business units have developed work-arounds outside of the system to overcome software limitations
  • The software's processes and workflows do not match those of your business
  • Most time is spent managing the data and inputs, rather than working with the outputs
  • IT is flooded with requests for bug fixes and changes to the underlying functionality

Quantifying the impact of new technology on your business

  • Thinking in terms of costs and benefits
  • Speaking in the language of costs and benefits

Outlining the benefits

  • Direct benefits
  • Indirect benefits

Estimating total benefits

  • Total benefits

Outlining the costs

  • Direct costs are relatively easier to calculate
  • Understanding indirect and variable costs

Estimating total costs

  • Total costs

Calculating returns and translating results to "business speak"

  • Deriving results
  • Using the right project-financing metric


  • Methodology
  • Definitions
  • Further reading
  • Author

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