Business Intelligence Software enables organizations to centralize data and understand key business metrics that drive performance improvements. It empowers businesses to gain meaningful insights and make better decisions. Selecting the right BI solution could mean the difference between business growth and a wasted opportunity. Here are 8 factors you can consider while selecting Business Intelligence (BI) Software.
1. Data Environment – Today, almost every organization uses multiple data sources and has users who access data from various locations. A good BI software should not only support the data sources that you use but also provide cross-platform data access that your users have currently.
2. Real-time BI –According to a Gartner Study, over 50% CFO’s need BI to monitor ongoing Business Performance. Key decision Makers and stakeholders like C-level executives rely on the latest information to make decisions. A BI system that provides real-time Business Intelligence can boost your Business Performance rapidly. It allows you to stay up-to-date with what’s going on in your business, without the need to rebuild or re-configuring anything.
3. Collaboration features – Business Intelligence helps you gain insights from data. Insights trigger questions, discussions & feedback. Therefore, a BI solution must provide allow users to communicate & collaborate with each other. Generally, BI creators are different from BI consumers. BI creators are mainly analysts, developers or data scientists who analyze the data while the consumers are Managers and Executives who look at the final reports. A Business Intelligence Software must provide collaboration features like the ability to share insights, comments & questions; share reports with others in multiple formats.
4. Deployment options –Business Intelligence Solutions provide various deployment options. They are available as cloud-based / on-premise / standalone desktop applications. Cloud-based solutions make it easy to setup, manage and share BI without depending on IT. They provide for a lower cost of ownership through reduced resources, rapid deployments, and are suitable for small & medium businesses. On-premise BI solutions are self-hosted solutions generally deployed over intranet by the IT team. They are suitable if you have an IT team to manage the solution and your business deals with sensitive data that you may not be comfortable leaving your network. It is important to find a Business Intelligence Software that complies with the IT policies of your organization.
5. Analytical features – Every organization is driven by key business metrics and these metrics are governed by specific business rules. A Business Intelligence solution should provide the analytical capabilities to calculate these metrics. Building a proof-of-concept is a great way to evaluate all the features of a solution in detail. It also helps you discover the problems your users may face, if a solution is adopted.
6. Role-based access – Multiple stakeholders and decision makers use Business Intelligence Software to gain insights from various data sources in your organization. As a result, it is important to control which BI user has access to what kind of information. A Business Intelligence Software should, at least, let you assign or revoke permissions to control who can view and who can update your BI system.
7. Reporting capabilities – The output of every Business Intelligence platform is a set of reports or dashboards used to communicate insights & trends to key stakeholders. Without powerful reporting capabilities, you may be unable to correctly communicate insights to decision makers. It is important to choose a BI Software that provides a variety data visualization and report generation features. This allows you to communicate various kinds of information to different types of users.
8. Responsive interface – Different type of users consume information through various platforms and devices. For instance, Analysts and Developers use widescreen monitors like the iMac while Managers and Executives mostly rely on tablets & phones. Your Business Intelligence software needs to be responsive enough for Analysts to analyze data on their iMacs and Managers to view reports on their tablets or phones. A responsive user interface lets you build once and view anywhere.
The right BI solution can help your business become more efficient, spot areas suitable for cost savings and identify new growth opportunities. Being able to monitor all the important information about your business, on-demand, in one place, enables you to know precisely how your business is doing, which areas are growing well and what to fix. It motivates your team to stay focused and grow your business faster.
About the author:
Sreeram is the founder of Ubiq, a web-based Business Intelligence & Reporting Application.