Join the Self-Service Analytics Revolution
May 3, 2016 by Bill Rosenthal

Last week, Chipotle posted its first quarterly loss. A recent story in Business Insider reports that two weeks before the posting, Foursquare, the social media app, predicted the loss, even to the point of citing its precise size. In retrospect, it's easy to see the relationship of Chipotle’s foot traffic, which is visible to Foursquare, to its sales. But it’s not the kind of thing that business analysts traditionally examine.

If you could harness out-of-the-box thinking about nontraditional sources of data and information, you could gain a competitive advantage. It turns out you can harness it with a new approach to decision support called “self-service analytics.” According to the Gartner IT Glossary, “Self-Service Analytics is a form of business intelligence (BI) in which line-of-business professionals are enabled and encouraged to perform queries and generate reports on their own, with nominal IT support.” 

This powerful strategy is a fairly radical departure from conventional IT systems and application development, and it requires a new way of thinking as well as a portfolio of new skills. New ways of thinking and new skills are what we do at Logical Operations, so of course we are getting involved. I am pleased to announce an expansion of our business intelligence curriculum portfolio with exciting new titles covering Microsoft Office Excel, SQL Server, and SharePoint.  

Brought to the market through a partnership with Blue Buffalo Press, our new curriculum helps professionals gain the skills needed to successfully work with business intelligence tools in order to provide deeper insights and more value to their organizations. The curriculum, available now, comes in both print and digital formats, and includes a high percentage of hands-on activities and videos that enhance the learning experience. 

Mobile devices track the activities of a large proportion of the population. These days, if you know where to look, you can see where most of us are and what we’re doing at any particular moment. This might not be Laplacian determinism, but it is increasingly possible to know the aggregate movements and behavior of your entire market, either by tracking customers and prospects yourself or by buying the information from someone who does. Applying some imagination to the information, as well as combining it with your company’s own information, can yield insights that help you form important business strategies, from product positioning and pricing to setting priorities and goals — not to mention predicting profits and losses. 

Self-service analytics conveys such a profound competitive advantage that it’s not a question of whether you will use it, but when. If you’re not already in the thick of it, let us help you get started. There are 19 titles in our new business intelligence curriculum, and they are available now in the Logical Operations online store:

Foursquare, incidentally, doesn’t just predict losses. Last September, it looked at foot traffic at Apple stores and predicted Apple would sell 13 to 15 million iPhones the weekend it launched the iPhone 6. Apple sold 13 million.