Effective strategic decisions are informed by access to relevant and timely data.
Business intelligence (BI) is an essential step for any enterprise looking to democratize data and unlock clear insights and visualizations from the various data sources in their business. Modern BI tools easily sync up to your data warehouse and generate visualizations that make it easy to understand your data when it is queried.
BI advances team performance and success ratios by providing qualitative and quantitative information and for greater clarity and perspective. Regardless of the type of project, industry or role, teams can create, access, and leverage BI dashboards to gain valuable real-time insights from multiple internal and external sources.
However, no two (or more) BI tools are alike. They differ around data democratization and sharing, reporting intelligence, last mile modeling, and visualization capabilities. When faced with the task of choosing a BI tool for your organization, here are some factors for consideration.
Various BI tools allow their users to build reports in different ways. When thinking about which BI tool is ideal for you, take a moment to consider your end users. What do their skill sets look like? Are they comfortable with SQL queries or do they favor a drag-and-drop interface? Some organizations prefer a drag-and-drop interface for report creation and formatting. This is a quick and practical process, particularly when your data is mined properly. Nevertheless, it can fall short and become altered if your data is unclean. This is one of the key reasons why technical teams prefer a more robust way of developing the reports, where they can use specific SQL queries for data extraction purposes.
Approach to Modeling
What is the scope of the BI tool your organization is considering? Is it mainly focused on visualizations, or is it a full stack offering that performs data modeling in a company’s warehouse? For instance, a BI tool may stand out for its modeling layers or its collaboration features, or its dashboard functionality.
Most BI tools offer both user and role-based user security, recommending who can create, use, publish, administer, or modify its applications. However, some organizations may want a BI tool to integrate with pre-existing security programs or operating systems. Hence, you may want to check if the BI solution you prefer can use its security along with the various mechanisms from the databases, networks, and operating systems. Put simply, the solution’s security should align with your existing and future information security policies.
Your BI tool should not only offer flexible ways to present relevant information, but also have the capability to present data on any device. Because many decisions are now made on the go, the solution should include visualization options that can be displayed on any smartphone and tablet. Analyzing your data on the smaller screen should be a matter of tapping a few buttons, ensuring that users have all the relevant visuals and reports, regardless of where they are at that time. Most leading BI tools offer mobile-friendly business intelligence applications that can be accessed from anywhere, but it’s worth verifying that your tool of choice will be able to meet your particular accessibility needs.
When considering a BI tool, it is important to determine the ease of the tool to integrate existing dashboards and make them accessible to the appropriate managers and users in the organization. The majority of BI tools contain sharing, versioning, and permissioning functionality. The scale of these functionalities become more and more vital the larger the organization and the more managers deal with mission-critical data. Data democratization empowers all key stakeholders in the organization to get the data and insights they need to make well-supported decisions.
Collaboration & Social Integration
Does the organization’s BI tool enable the creation of an internal community? Can members share and discuss their reports in real-time? Organizations that are big on collaboration will derive value out of a tool that allows users to share and reuse data with external departments. This may involve annotating analysis to share insights and social features, which can support chatting and discussion threads.
Type of Training
What type of training material is being offered with the BI solution? Some business intelligence tools are intuitive with short learning curves, but some require deeper understanding and technical depth. Are paid courses available? Does the vendor offer self-paced courses? Does the training delivery method fit with the learning style of the organization?
Some of the other benefits of BI tools also include:
- Increasing business productivity and accuracy;
- Aiding in the discovery of new revenue streams;
- The ability for teams to use quantitative and qualitative data to increase focus for improved outcomes;
- Enabling instant analysis and visualization of both big and disparate datasets;
- Having a 360-degree view of the business across all the departments; and
- Helping to create organizational efficiencies.
What are key at-a-glance BI features to look for?
- Overall project and individual KPI progress;
- Accessible and intuitive usability;
- Generate reports instantly;
- Create presentation-ready graphics and data analysis;
- Potential scenario planning with easy project re-integration; and
- Automatic work/task prioritization.
With many organizations determined to discover better methods to enhance project accuracy, team performance, and productivity, BI and BA tools offer ways for companies and project teams to attain higher levels of goal achievement, rendering it possible for leaders to improve decision-making.
The Litcom Approach
We help organizations turn a vast array of data into valuable information that drives decision-making in a corporation. Our solutions ensure that all data has clear definitions and a fully understandable presentation to users. For more information please contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org.