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.