The Refreshing Taste of Self-Service Business Intelligence

by Apr 12, 2017

Have you tried it? The revo­lu­tion­ary soda dispenser that gives you the power to customize your drink through an empow­er­ing consumer expe­ri­ence? It’s the Coca-Cola Freestyle®. But it does more than dispense hundreds of drink combi­na­tions to thirsty consumers. It’s also a blue­print for how orga­ni­za­tions should approach scaling their busi­ness intel­li­gence (BI) plat­form across the enter­prise.

What do soda machines have to do with BI?

Ulti­mately, the soda consumers are the BI end users inter­act­ing with a plat­form that meets their indi­vid­ual needs. Their drink selec­tion, or busi­ness require­ments, are customiz­able because they are empow­ered to select the cup size, amount of ice, bever­age type, and number of refills. The suppli­ers, or the IT team, are tasked with installing and main­tain­ing the soda dispenser with CO2, syrup and supplies.

We can think about the Coca-Cola Freestyle® and BI in three parts: people, process and tech­nol­ogy.


The stan­dard soda dispenser may be a thing of the past sooner than we realize. Even though it is simple to use and easy to under­stand, soda consumers require more flavor options than just the stan­dard regular, diet, lemon-lime, root beer, etc. It’s not scal­able nor tailored to their role-specific needs. So, how does the supplier decide which flavors to offer consumers? Histor­i­cally, and in BI terms, it would involve an IT team select­ing and imple­ment­ing tools based on a handful of func­tional require­ments and data sets. The end users may receive train­ing and IT support, but the end users are not enabled to person­al­ize smaller use cases in a timely fashion due to compet­ing prior­i­ties and limited resources. It works, but the result is the stan­dard six soda options and an occa­sional pink lemon­ade and sport drink.  

Instead of limit­ing end users to a limited set of options, this new style of soda machine affords the user a self-service option that allows hundreds of drink combi­na­tions they can build on their own. With this approach, a company can accel­er­ate the value derived by its BI plat­form, includ­ing :

  • Self-service tools that increase and expe­dite plat­form end user adop­tion
  • Plat­forms that can scale rapidly and easily
  • Cross func­tional collab­o­ra­tion
  • Allows IT team to focus on core systems
  • Ease of use and still simple to under­stand

Isn’t that some­thing we could all use a little more of?


When consumers have hundreds of drink options, rarely do they feel the need to ask the store employee for drink choices not avail­able in the soda dispenser. Instead, the store employee becomes respon­si­ble just for control­ling and main­tain­ing the options and supplies that the customer depends on.

Enabling BI end users to explore, manip­u­late, and report infor­ma­tion requires a modern approach to busi­ness and tech­ni­cal processes. Simi­larly to the Coca-Cola Freestyle®, new enter­prise BI plat­forms re-define the balance between end user capa­bil­i­ties and IT controls and secu­rity on tools and data. The notion of a central­ized center of excel­lence and change manage­ment process is dimin­ished when BI end users collab­o­rate across the enter­prise and develop their own person­al­ized defi­n­i­tion and stan­dards for analyz­ing and report­ing data. Of course, IT contin­ues to play an impor­tant part in ensur­ing the common data sets are consis­tent, reli­able, and accu­rate.


There are many options when it comes to select­ing BI tools, just like choos­ing a soda offer­ing (foun­tain drinks, bottles, cans). The selec­tion crite­ria for a solu­tion can vary wildly across indus­tries, company sizes, and regions. For too long, any group respon­si­ble for select­ing BI tools focused on the near term require­ments of specific func­tional areas in an orga­ni­za­tion. That group didn’t always have the func­tional area exper­tise to capture addi­tional busi­ness require­ments in order to scale. Those same func­tional areas didn’t fully under­stand how a new BI tool could meet their data collec­tion, analy­sis and report­ing needs.  Thus, the organization’s deci­sion factors like scal­a­bil­ity, sustain­abil­ity, end user expe­ri­ence, inte­gra­tion and license costs were correct but the tech­nol­ogy just didn’t exist yet.

But Coca-Cola® isn’t the only company to revo­lu­tion­ize how we make person­al­ized deci­sions. Meet Domo®, the BI plat­form that provides an empow­er­ing self-service expe­ri­ence like the Coca-Cola Freestyle®. The Domo® plat­form and its customiz­able modules offer func­tional and tech­ni­cal end users the ability to visu­al­ize data that leads to greater insights and busi­ness conver­sa­tions across the enter­prise. Tailored to all end users’ needs, agile, and easy to use. Now that is refresh­ing!

Search Discovery’s capac­ity-build­ing approach works together with our solu­tions to enable your orga­ni­za­tion to drive improved deci­sion making across the enter­prise. Learn more about our solu­tions, and contact Ben Delozier for more infor­ma­tion.