Previously we shared a summary of our experiences at the Gartner Business Intelligence Summit in Las Vegas and today we’d like to dive into one of the key themes that emerged: the rise of self-service business intelligence (BI) and the citizen data scientist. In the past, data and analytics lived within the IT department. Today, decision makers and operations leaders can design and deploy their own reports and analyses without the need to rely on IT to provide data and analyses.

For supply chain professionals, self-service business intelligence means that DC managers and fulfillment supervisors can both understand what’s happening in the warehouse in real time and react instantly instead of retroactively. Now, tools like Voxware’s Intellestra are available on mobile tablets, making it possible to build predictive gadgets right from the palm of a warehouse manager’s hand—wherever he happens to be in the DC.

Some of the key benefits of self-service BI include:

Better Data-Driven Decision Making Throughout the Enterprise: By complementing existing tools, companies can extend the reach of their data analytics capabilities to each member of the supply chain. As data becomes critical to supply chain optimization, VPs of Distribution, DC Managers, and Fulfillment Supervisors can all benefit from increased access to data analyses.

Turn Real-Time Analysis Into Immediate Action: Giving the end user the power to analyze and make predictions directly related to his or her work increases the likelihood that orders will leave on time, exceptions can be managed before a shift has ended, and companies can deliver against the ever-increasing standards of customer experience.

Maximize Impact of IT Resources: When citizen data scientists can analyze their own data instead of leaning on IT, companies can open up more of the IT budget for other projects. In an era of flattening IT budgets, low-cost self-service BI in the hands of supply chain leaders can be an integral part of optimizing resource allocation.

With powerful tools like Intellestra in hand, supply chain leaders can create and act upon their own insightful visualizations and make use of troves of data in real time.