Business intelligence software software helps companies gain perspective on their business operations. The term business intelligence encompasses the process of transforming unstructured business data from any internal source into reportable datasets and visualizing that data into graphs and tables that expose valuable insights. This software often creates automated reports and dashboards that can be deployed to end users, as well as non-technical user interfaces for business users to slice and dice data on their own and preform ad hoc reporting.
What is Business Intelligence Software?
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G2 Crowd Grid for Business Intelligence
Buying Considerations for Business Intelligence Software
- Data Consumption and Compatibility
- Business intelligence is about visualizing, understanding, and acting on data—data you already have. So, the first step to gaining perspective on your business operations is finding your data. Applications, databases, inboxes, and spreadsheets are likely candidates. You need a BI tool that is going to be able to consume this data and give you relevant insights. Are there out-of-the-box connections to your applications and databases you can take advantage of? Integrations between your existing tools will always be the most most convenient option, but these can also be built using APIs or import/export processes. What format does the data need to be in? If ETL processes become too cumbersome or the data needs to be more current than they will allow or building connections will be take too much manpower, you should find a tool that will better incorporate into your existing ecosystem.
- Database and Data Warehousing
- Perhaps an even more important component of BI compatibility is a tool’s compatibility with your existing hardware. A BI product should seamlessly read and query your databases. For enterprises with big data and data warehousing infrastructure, this is even more important, as the work of pulling all that data together is for naught if your users can’t access the benefits of querying across the organization’s full repository of information.
- User Adoption
- BI user adoption is the consequence of two questions: Can users find the insights they’re seeking with this tool, and can they find them through an easy and pleasing process? Obviously, the tool is useless to your business if your users can’t use it to interrogate their data and draw the conclusions that help them perform their jobs better. However, the tool is almost as useless if the functions and capabilities are beyond a user’s threshold of discoverability or patience. Look for a product that firstly performs the necessary analyses but also can be easily set up, trained on, and executed.
- Performance and Scalability
- Not all BI tools are created equal. The volume of data you will be querying and the number of queries that will be running simultaneously greatly affects a BI tool’s ability to perform these tasks. Some products will be able to run these queries more efficiently, and you should be able to prove that a tool can handle the amount of data you’re storing before purchasing. Further, understand how your data will compound over time. If your data volume will be growing quickly, having a tool that can scale accordingly will prevent frustrations down the road.
These are the common features of Business Intelligence Software
- Reports Interface
- Reports interface for standard and self service reports is intuitive and easy to use
- Steps to answer
- Requires a mimimal amount of steps/clicks to get answer
- Graphs and charts
- Offers a variety of graph and chart formats
- Score Cards
- Scorecards can be created that visually track KPI's
- Calculated Fields
- Users can create fields to be used in reports using formulas to calculate field values based on existing data elements
- Filter based on data columns
- Business users have the ability to filter data in a report based on predefined or automodeled parameters
- Data Discovery
- Users can Drill and explore data to discover new insights
- Ability to search global data set to find and discover data
- Ability for users to share data and reports they have built within the Business Intelligence tool and outside the tool with other collaboration platforms
- Tool automatically suggests data types, schemas and hierarchies
- Predictive Analytics
- User variety of techniques to analyze current and historical facts to make predictions about future events
- Data Visualization
- Provides various options to Communicate complex information clearly and effectively through advanced graphical techniques
- Big Data Services
- Ability to handle large and complex data sets
- Data Transformation
- Converts a set of data values from the data format of the source data system into the data format required for the reporting system
- Data Modeling
- Ability to structure data in a manner that allows users to extract required information efficiently
- WYSIWYG report design
- Provides business users the tools to easily design and refine their dashboards and reports in and interface that shows the users how the report will look as they build it (What You See Is What You Get)
Key Benefits of Business Intelligence Software
- Understand and visualize how the various aspects of business are performing and affect each other.
- Discover insights into your data that were siloed or hidden before.
- Establish Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for users to track and measure success against.
- Know which tactics are positively and negatively affecting your business’s goals.
- Improve business processes and campaigns.