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Enabling Your Business for Self-Service Data & AI

Enabling Your Business for Self-Service Data & AI

Being able to effectively leverage data and AI is a key success factor for modern-day enterprises whether your goals are to reduce costs, increase revenue or improve customer service and retention. So, how do you empower your business with data and AI to drive decision making? 

Use self-service

Self-service is well past solely serving as a capability around simple business intelligence (BI) dashboards. Data scientists, power users, business leads, line leaders and customers are finding that they need access to reliable and trustworthy information from data and AI models to gain actional insights. But for many businesses today, when a data analyst or business stakeholder needs a certain subset of data, they need to request this information from IT, which often takes several weeks or months to produce. One of the many benefits of self-service is that stakeholders can independently find the data and information they need quickly and utilize it effectively. But with the appropriate and necessary security.

When attempting to build the right data foundation and properly stewarding the capabilities for self-service, IT and business executives often share a few common challenges:

  • Business leaders want to reduce spend and don’t see value in making an incremental investment as they view their overall IT budget
  • The business is demanding faster insights and greater access to data and AI that technology leaders can’t provide as they are often hampered by legacy systems and procedures

Here are our suggestions to remove these bottlenecks and embrace the benefits of self-service…

1. Align your Data & AI Strategy to Your Business Goals

There’s much that influences your data and AI strategy moving forward, but identifying the gaps between your business goals and key strengths and weaknesses is one of the most critical foundational elements. Typically, business goals are geared toward helping data and AI assets be nimbler. That could entail developing a self-service data marketplace — a place where you can see what data is available, what it means, who owns it and what potential business domains are using that information.

When you start repositioning self-service beyond a request for infrastructure, you can start answering these questions and determining what data and AI assets and capabilities are required to help the business achieve its goals. For example, maybe you need to abstract to a data mesh concept or consider an AI factory approach to help implement your entire strategy.

But how do you create and drive the business understanding of data and AI capabilities to obtain the funding necessary to deliver on the promises that a proper strategy represents?

2. Educate Your Business

Business leaders often will request access to data or the results of AI models. You may hear things like "just give me the data" or more recently, “just give me a GenAI tool and I can do it.” There are several concerns with this approach. First, these stakeholders often don’t understand the need for or the mechanics to provide corporate self-service. As highlighted earlier, simply gaining access to an application or subset of data without understanding the nuances of the data will not enhance self-service capabilities nor improve decision making. Second, providing data access to individuals who do not have the proper technological knowledge or semantic understanding required to use the data properly could lead to negative ramifications. Not only could this data be used improperly or yield inaccurate results, but serious security and privacy concerns can occur here.

Educating your business on data and AI capabilities is a crucial responsibility of today's technology leaders. Training your stakeholders about the importance of governance around data and AI will not only help you navigate ever-changing regulatory conditions but also enhance stakeholder understanding of how data quality will impact your ability to leverage AI. That’s why it is crucial to have a proper governance framework, as well as a data literacy program, in place before implementing self-service. Otherwise, investment could be wasted (and potentially harmful).

Simply giving your stakeholders the tools for self-service is not enough. You must partner with them and educate them on the value of the tools it will provide. More importantly, you must also educate them on the skills necessary for appropriate usage of the tools.

3. Understand Your Value

In our experience, one of the common challenges we see among clients who come to us asking for help with designing, delivering and implementing an effective data strategy is a lack of understanding on the tangible value that data and AI can bring to the business. If an IT executive is going to advocate for a spend, they need to be able to justify that level of investment. Here’s an example; the term “data monetization” is often viewed as how your company can leverage data to sell to the marketplace. But a better definition is how you can create value from all your internal data and AI usage.

If self-service is handed off with little understanding on how it will generate value, systems become overloaded and cloud costs can skyrocket. For self-service capabilities that can be resource-intensive, ensure that you understand and communicate the value it can deliver along with the value each user will generate individually. Not only will this help you get the initial buy-in for the investment, but it will help determine adoption metrics and measure success.

Typically lacking an understanding of the value that you can generate is the single biggest issue we see when building capabilities around self-service. At the end of the day, self-service enables you to deliver more timely and accurate actionable insights, gain more operational oversight, and ultimately drive revenue and reduce costs. All stakeholders within your organization should understand the immense value that self-service can provide.


Giving your business the ability to effectively harness data and AI through self-service can offer a true competitive advantage and allow you to adapt to the changing market. Aligning your data strategy to the business, educating your stakeholders on the opportunities self-service provides, and understanding the value data and AI hold are all key aspects to deliver on self-service capabilities.


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