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What is a self-service business tool?

What is a self-service business tool?

Data is the foundation of any efficient operation, from improving customer engagement to informing product development. However, access to data has historically been exclusive to IT professionals and data analysts. 

Today, there’s much more of a focus on democratising data through self-service BI. This enables anybody in the organisation to access insights needed for more informed decision-making and enhanced collaboration.

As organisations become increasingly aware of the need for good data literacy across all business departments, self-service BI tools are becoming more sought after. In light of this, the market is expected to grow to $19.31 billion by 2028.

Self-service business intelligence (BI) tools enable users to explore data independently, with easier access to useful insights and predictions. Read on to learn more about self-service BI tools and see some examples of the best tools currently on the market.

What is a self-service business tool?

Self-service business tools provide all employees (not just those trained in BI) with the power to select data for analysis, create easy-to-understand data visualizations, and draw conclusions from meaningful insights with ease.

Whether you’re a Business Analyst (BA), a sales leader, or a freelance business owner, a self-service BI environment will enable you to run queries yourself, create dashboards and reports, share findings, and create data hierarchies for deeper analyses.

Good self-service tools should cater to everyone, from non-technical or ‘casual’ users who just want to view the data to power users with more technical skills.

Benefits of self-service tools for teams in 2023

Improve data literacy

The ability to read and understand data is one of today’s most in-demand skills, with 70% of employees expected to work heavily with data by 2025. Self-service tools make data easy to digest and converts analyses into understandable concepts.

Solve problems quicker

In the past, business users might have to wait days for an IT department to pull a report in response to a critical business question. Now, they can access data in real-time and take immediate action to solve business problems.

Enhance collaboration

Self-service business tools collate insights in an easy-to-share format, enabling all team members to access the same data and collaborate for better decision-making easily.

Data visualization

Self-service BI solutions such as Vizlib Library for Qlik Sense ensure that data is clear and visually powerful, allowing for more accessible data presentation and exploration.

Examples of self-service business tools

Microsoft Power BI

Microsoft’s entry is Power BI – a data reporting tool that lets users visualise data and share insights. Considered easier to use for newer users and suitable for businesses already utilising other Microsoft Office products.


One of the first vendors of self-service BI, Tableau is a visual analytics platform owned by Salesforce which has augmented analytics capabilities and data modelling features to help people see and understand data. More complex than Microsoft Power BI, Tableau is better suited to more experienced data analysts.


Sisense allows users to embed analytics into any application or workflow to make critical business decisions. The platform is highly customizable and delivers custom-built visualizations and analytics apps. Sisense is a good option for businesses looking to embed analytics seamlessly and with minimal code.


While the Alteryx platform has traditionally been used to prepare data for analysis with other BI tools, it also offers self-service BI software focused on automation and ease of use. The platform provides user training to help those with little data experience to conduct deeper analyses for more meaningful insights.


Domo is an online BI tool that combines all of your data and puts it to work across any business process or workflow. The platform automates reporting processes by connecting to a business’s data in real-time. Data can be combined anywhere, including an existing data lake or warehouse. However, it is slightly more costly than other self-service options.

Qlik Sense

A world-leading cloud-based BI tool, Qlik Sense allows users to quickly go from ‘passive’ to ‘active’ analytics.Its use of AI helps businesses free themselves from silos, provides real-time alerting, and turns raw data into action. Its attractive and easy-to-use interface enables anyone to understand insights without compromising security. Qlik Sense also offers more scalability and better affordability than platforms like Tableau.

How to choose the right self-service business tool and get started

Performing your own analysis when choosing the right self-service BI platform is a must. Features and functionalities can differ greatly, with some being more suited to your organisation than others.

Before selecting a self-service BI tool for your business, there are a few questions to ask yourself about your organisational circumstances and what you feel the tool should deliver:

  • Does the BI platform suit the people who will use it (i.e., could your employees learn it easily)?
  • Is the tool able to read your internal and external data sources?
  • Can you easily clean and transform your data within the platform?
  • Can you share your analyses with anyone in the company or only licensed users?
  • Does it work for your business from a cost perspective? (Think about the cost to store your data, on-premise vs. Cloud, not just vendor fees)
  • Will it drive better and/or faster decision-making?

Enhance company-wide data discovery with Vizlib Self-Service for Qlik Sense

To help your employees on their data journey, you’ll need software that is: easy to implement, includes robust functionality out-of-the-box, and is suited to all skill levels.

All of Vizlib’s tools are self-service, meaning everyone in your organisation can access data analytics insights without needing to constantly turn to BI or IT specialists for support.

Our data visualization solutions are low-code, meaning teams do not need  prior coding experience  to create customised and visually-rich dashboards.

Vizlib Self-Service is the ultimate ad-hoc reporting solution for Qlik Sense. Users can add a visual flair to data by adding images and descriptions to a single dimension of data, and they can also use it to ensure they’re on track to hit KPIs and collaborate with teammates. Plus, they can seamlessly integrate it with other Vizlib products, such as Vizlib Gantt and Vizlib Finance.

Empower more employees to make data-driven decisions independently by getting started with Vizlib Self-Service today, and learn about another piece of the BI puzzle – Decision Intelligence – in our recent blog, here.

Unlock the power of Qlik Cloud. Vizlib enhances the capabilities of data visualization and analytics to give you unparalleled insight, so you can know faster and act sooner.

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