Business intelligence. It’s something you’ve probably heard about, but perhaps still aren’t sure how or why you should take advantage of it. And you’re not alone. Many businesses are still not taking advantage of what business intelligence (BI) has to offer, but with around 51% of companies now either planning or actively deploying cloud BI tools, now is the time to either join the wave or risk getting left behind.
So what are business intelligence tools, and why are they so important? Business intelligence tools, put simply, are technology that provide companies with essential insights that empower them to make better decisions. They accomplish this though things such as analysis of complex data and KPI tracking. Businesses see huge benefits as a result, because they have access to visualization of trends, systems, processes, performance, and more, from a range of sources combined in a single dashboard—or several.
The benefits of this kind of a system are immeasurable. More accurate reporting, more actionable data, and automated analytics make sure you miss absolutely nothing surrounding your business.
What should you look for in a business intelligence tool?
But with a market that is burgeoning, how do you sort through the BI tools that are simply adequate, and find those that are superior? Luckily, a competitive marketplace is a perfect breeding ground for top quality products and if you know what to look for, it is not hard to find the right BI software for your needs. To help you out, here are some of the key features you should be looking for.
Most modern BI tools are cloud-based, but it is an important factor to consider nonetheless. Cloud-based BI software allows for quicker setup and implementation, easier collaboration and integration, and often a cheaper product. Because it will be hosted by the vendor, rather than on your own server, there is also easy access to quick maintenance should problems occur.
The biggest business advantage to be gained from BI software is the easy collection and analysis of data. Thus, this should be a huge consideration when choosing a BI platform. There are a lot of things to look for based on your specific needs, but the best solutions will allow you to customize your analytics, tailor your dashboard to include those metrics which are most important, and provide automated reporting solutions.
With any new software solution, integrations should be a huge consideration. If it doesn’t work with all of your current systems, it could really slow down productivity. Make sure that your BI tools will integrate fully with all programs and devices that you want to keep using.
Many of these out-of-the-box solutions also emphasise user experience. It almost goes without saying that a platform that is easy to use without extensive training provides huge benefit to a business. The quicker employees are able to pick up and start using new BI tools, the quicker you will see the benefits.
Cost is a big consideration for any business, whether large or small. But where smaller businesses were once excluded from the BI conversation, there are now a multitude of good options available for every price range.
What are some of the best business intelligence tools?
Now that you know what to look for, you are already well on your way to finding a good BI solution. But if you need a little more direction, here are some examples tools that can provide you with advanced BI capabilities:
- Klipfolio: This is a great option if you need a dashboard and you need it fast. They have a template library full of prebuilt dashboards and metrics. Because of this, customization can be slightly limited, but it can be a good first step.
- Power BI: Built by Microsoft, Power BI is a good option for those already using lots of Microsoft software. However, as a result, it may not be the best choice for those who do not have a lot of Microsoft applications, as integrations are limited outside of Microsoft.
- Tableau: If data visualization is your main focus, Tableau excels at making charts and graphs that appeal to the eye. This is a complex solution however, so be aware that it will take around 4 to 6 months to implement.
- Looker: If you are looking for an enterprise-level solution (particularly for teams of more than a thousand employees), Looker has the capabilities to deal with big data analysis. The cost, of course, reflects this, but if you have a very large company, it may be worth it.
- Grow: On the other hand, for a small or medium business, Grow is a great option. It doesn’t require a team to set up, and implementation is far quicker than most at around 4 to 6 weeks. It also has an extensive list of integrations, and connects with more than 160 of the most popular software tools and applications. Furthermore, it offers top functionality and unlimited users for a fraction of the cost of many BI tools.
The right business intelligence tools can transform a business. If you adopt the right solutions, you will certainly notice the difference. If you want to learn more about how BI can help, check out a demo right now.