What Is Self-Service Analytics? Key Benefits and How to Implement It
Self-service analytics empower end-users to independently get the insights they need. Learn more about the fundamentals, key components, and how to integrate a self-service analytics platform into your HR technology stack here.
Self-service analytics has become increasingly popular as organizations recognize the importance of democratizing data and promoting a culture of data-driven decision-making.
By enabling a broader range of users to work with data independently, organizations can derive more value from their data assets and foster a more agile and responsive business environment.
To implement it though, you need to understand its core purpose as well as the key things to look for when choosing a solution. We’ll explore these in the following sections, plus how you can introduce a self-service analytics platform into your HR tech stack and broader organization.
What is self-service analytics?
Self-service analytics empowers individuals to independently access and get insights from data without needing specialized data analytics expertise. This has significantly enhanced the ability of organizations and their leaders (inside and outside of HR) to leverage HR data directly, reducing the dependency on other parts of the organization or external consultants.
Self-service analytics plays a significant role for HRIT leaders, HR technology executives, and people analysts in optimizing resources, scaling insights, and keeping up with the pace of the business.
Empowering managers and analysts to perform exploratory analyses independently means organizations can now use the expertise of their analytics team to focus on more complex and strategic tasks. By enabling managers to handle routine reporting and queries independently, analysts can dedicate their time to exploring deeper insights, conducting predictive analytics, and providing actionable recommendations.
But self-service analytics advantages don’t end here.
Key benefits of self-service analytics
The key benefits of self-service analytics for all leaders across the organization include:
Empowering leaders with data
Self-service analytics provides leaders across the business with direct access to relevant data and insights, without the need for extensive technical expertise, or even HR expertise. This accessibility empowers managers at all levels to explore, analyze, and derive insights from HR data independently and on their own schedule.
Visier's biggest impact on the success of our entire organization has been the ability to share and democratize people data effectively across the organization, giving the context and the data to make better people decisions.
-Kevin Liang, People Analytics Director, TELUS
Real-time decision making
Need to adapt strategies quickly? Real-time access to HR data is crucial in a dynamic business environment where quick responses to changes and emerging trends are essential. Teams can be more agile in responding to organizational needs, employee concerns, and external factors that may impact the workforce.
"Visier delivers agility and speed. If my CFO asks, ‘What about this?,’ we can literally change the metric and instantly have the answer on screen so we can continue strategic discussions."
-Steve Rudolf, Systems Vice President, Baptist Health
Enhancing efficiency and productivity
Most self-service analytics platforms allow managers to generate reports, visualize trends, and extract insights independently, saving time and resources. This greatly reduces the volume of one-off data, reporting, and dashboard update requests, freeing up HR professionals’ and data analysts’ time to focus on their most important strategic initiatives, such as predictive modeling, workforce planning, or identifying trends that can inform long-term HR strategies.
The ability to reveal subconscious patterns on a daily basis without having to spend an enormous amount of modeling efforts just adds a tremendous amount of value to the organization.
-Laura Stevens, VP Global Strategy, Analytics, & Employee Experience, Royal DSM
Implementing self-service analytics for HR
Before implementing self-service analytics, you have to assess the current HR technology landscape. Start by identifying the systems, databases, and tools already in use to understand how self-service analytics can integrate within that existing landscape.
Look for self-service analytics tools that offer standard connectors for popular HR software and databases. This simplifies the integration process and allows for a quicker setup.
The user interface of the self-service analytics tool should be intuitive and user-friendly. This ensures that HR professionals, even those without extensive technical skills, can easily navigate the platform to perform analyses. Making sure the platform is accessible from various devices and browsers gives users the flexibility to access analytics tools whenever and wherever they need them, promoting greater adoption.
Want a bulletproof way to make sure people will actually want to use the platform and get value from it? Think of what comprehensive training and support resources would help your HR team get acquainted with the self-service analytics tool (and process). This includes tutorials, documentation, and possibly training sessions to ensure users feel confident in using the tool.
Avoid high time investments with generative AI
Adoption is undeniably the linchpin for the success of self-service tools, and within the realm of human resources, this is particularly crucial. Recognizing that not everyone within your organization is an HR expert, Vee emerges as the game-changer that levels the playing field. Its unique capability empowers managers at all echelons, regardless of their HR proficiency, to effortlessly pose questions in their own language and receive immediate, comprehensible responses in the form of visualizations and actionable insights.
What sets Vee apart is its user-friendly design, eliminating the need for extensive training or prior HR knowledge. This opens up a world of possibilities without imposing a learning curve, allowing users to seamlessly integrate this powerful tool into their daily operations.
Security is also at the forefront of Vee's ethos, operating under the robust governance of Visier's trusted enterprise security model. This ensures that Vee only dispenses information accessible to the user, eliminating concerns about data exposure. Unlike other models, Vee doesn’t use your data to refine its capabilities, and its responses are tailored to the user's access level, providing peace of mind when dealing with sensitive information.
Moreover, Vee meets users exactly where they are by seamlessly integrating into popular platforms such as Microsoft Teams. This integration brings people-centric insights directly into existing workflows, making it effortlessly accessible.
By doing so, Vee democratizes self-service people analytics, extending its reach to a diverse audience who might have otherwise been disinclined to invest time in learning a new tool. In essence, Vee transforms the landscape of self-service HR analytics, making it an indispensable asset for organizations seeking efficiency, accessibility, and security in their HR operations.
Security for everyone
With people data being arguably some of the most sensitive organizational data out there, security is a pivotal part of delivering self-serve analytics.
With often dozens of people needing different levels of access to your people data, you should handle sensitive raw data by adapting it to the various roles and permission levels within your organization.
Within Visier’s unique security model you can accommodate this diverse range of access requirements. What sets our security model apart is its flexibility to cater to virtually any use case. For instance, a distinctive feature is the ability to define access levels not only for individual users but also for various groups of users.
What does this look like for large enterprise organizations?
Despite the numerous employees who share similar access requirements, you won’t have to configure each one manually. Visier's User Groups let you define the access level for a user or a user group and provide straightforward access requirements based on employee attributes like manager status, team, geography, and more. Best of all, permissions can be configured to auto-update as people change roles, meaning you don’t need to worry about constantly monitoring if people have the right permissions.
Using Visier to deliver self-service analytics
Visier is purpose-built for people analytics, helping organizations drive workforce impact by tackling critical HR workflow and process queries.
With over 20+ types of data visualizations and 2,000+ pre-built questions that are ready to use out-of-the-box, you can provide your team with a range of self-serve insights that cater to the preferences and needs of managers and leaders across your entire organization.
Visier People® stands as an open and adaptable people analytics platform, specializing in handling people data and allowing analytics teams to seamlessly adjust to the ever-changing landscape of technology and business. The platform establishes connections with diverse data sources within an organization, including HR systems, payroll, and performance reviews.
One of Visier's strengths lies in its ability to consolidate data efficiently, even when dealing with datasets of varying granularity, frequency, or schemas. This eliminates the necessity for manual data gathering and cleaning. The outcome is a unified view of both present and past workforce history, simplifying security and distribution compared to managing multiple data warehouses.
For the second year, Visier ranks #1 in User Experience and Vendor Satisfaction for HR Analytics and Planning Systems in the Sapient Insights Group 2023-2024 HR Systems Survey White Paper, 26th Annual Edition.
Wrap up and next steps
As HR departments increasingly rely on technology to manage and analyze employee data, HR leaders and their teams need to embrace self-service analytics.
Start by showcasing the benefits of self-service analytics to HR professionals. This includes increased efficiency, faster data analysis, and better decision-making. Emphasize how self-service analytics can free up their time to focus on more strategic tasks.
Don’t forget: One of the main reasons HR professionals may be hesitant to embrace self-service analytics is due to a lack of understanding. Training and support can help them understand the value, and how to use self-service analytics tools effectively.
So what should be on your radar when choosing a self-service analytics solution?
First things first, let’s talk usability. The ease with which you can harness the value and glean insights from your analytics solution significantly influences its adoption. A critical aspect contributing to this ease is the provision of excellent documentation and training materials. Comprehensive guides and structured training sessions empower users, ensuring they’re well-versed in navigating the intricacies of the platform.
An intuitive user interface minimizes complexity and offers logical navigation, catering to users with varying levels of technical expertise. Visual cues, organized layouts, and user-friendly features collectively contribute to a positive user experience, making it seamless for individuals to interact effectively with the analytics tool.
Adding an extra layer of accessibility, the integration of generative AI transforms the landscape of self-serve people analytics. The power of asking questions in natural language and receiving tailored responses in the appropriate format with relevant data is a game-changer. This functionality eliminates the need for extensive training or specialized knowledge, democratizing data exploration across various organizational roles.
Data security is a top concern. Address this first by ensuring that the self-service analytics tools being used have strong security measures in place. At this stage, you should also verify that the self-service analytics solution complies with relevant data protection and privacy regulations to ensure legal and ethical use of people data.
Check for compatibility and integration capabilities with your existing HR systems, databases, and other relevant technologies to ensure seamless data flow and minimal disruptions.
Your next people analytics platform should also scale with the growth of your organization and have the ability to customize data modeling and reporting as your needs evolve. This implies accommodating an increasing volume of data and user demands without compromising performance.
Don’t forget to consider the extra nice-to-have features too. For instance, you could consider whether the platform includes predictive analytics features that allow for forecasting and identifying future trends based on historical data.
By thoroughly assessing these factors, you can make an informed decision when selecting a self-service analytics solution that aligns with your organization's requirements and contributes to the success of your HR analytics initiatives.
On the Outsmart blog, we write about people analytics and HR technology topics like how bad data can’t stop good people analytics, the benefits of augmented analytics, and everything you need to know about HR data sources and HR data connectors. We also report on trending topics like artificial intelligence, using generative AI in HR, and how skills are rapidly evolving, and advise on people data best practices like how to ingest people data and business data, how to turn source data into insights, and reports vs. analytics. But if you really want to know the bread and butter of Visier, read our post about the benefits of people analytics.