As our world becomes more automated and digital, businesses are finding more and more tools to pivot their current workflows into modern data analytics.
They’re looking for business intelligence (BI) tools to boost their businesses and ask all their business questions that the human mind struggles with. There are many top business intelligence tools out there, but you may be wondering what you should be looking for when you’re choosing among them.
Below we outline some of the key considerations when you’re choosing a business intelligence tool for your organization.
When it comes to understanding data, modern-day business intelligence tools have a unique feature where they create visualizations of data, whether that be from a single, unified source of data or disparate sources.
No matter the location, no matter the source of data, the best business intelligence software tools will create beautiful visualizations of your data so that you can then create report data and answer business questions that your corporation may be happening.
Why is visualization important? Well, when you’re a small business, a medium-sized company, or one of the giant corporations, you’re going to be handling mountains of data or various data lakes; this is a lot of data ingestion to handle and having visualizations of that data can pivot so much data into a less confusing format. Business intelligence tools make visualization projects easier to manage.
When businesses are looking for a business intelligence (BI) tool, there are many factors they should consider, and a large one is usability, which can mean a robust solution to organizing huge data sets. If you’re looking into a BI tool that’s great for monitoring customer trends, for example, you want to look into BI software that makes that usable for everyone who needs to access it.
Some business questions about usability to ask possible business intelligence tools are:
How easy is the BI tool to use? Can everyone in the company, like an analyst or an arbitrary user easily access and use it? What kind of features does the BI tool have? Does it have web apps? Does it have report generation? Does it have a responsive design? What are the thresholds of data that it can handle?
How much does the BI tool cost and is it possible to get a price quote before you buy? Can the BI tool grow with your business without hassle? Will it continue to meet your needs as your business grows? Does the BI tool have good customer support? Are there any tutorials or help documents available to help you learn how to use it?
Having these questions ready and at hand will decide whether a BI tool is the one for you or a deal-breaker. You want to take its quirks into consideration before you use it to take your business to the next level.
A big thing to consider when looking into BI software is whether its key features include a scalable architecture. You want your business to grow, so you want BI software that will integrate into your business process with every intent to grow with you.
Something that BI software is beginning to include in its key features is a dedicated cloud or an accessible cloud database. This can also be private cloud-specific for your business for protection purposes. This adds to its scalability.
When considering, another factor to consider that goes with this is whether the BI tool / BI software is cloud-based or installed on-premises. Cloud-based BI tools are hosted by the vendor and can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection through web portals. Installed BI tools are installed on the customer’s computer network and can only be accessed from within the company’s network, as something of a centralized hub.
Arguably the most important thing to look for when finding the best business intelligence software for your company or organization is how much it costs. Some BI tools are offered as subscription services, like a year-long subscription while others have one-time purchase prices like a software license.
It’s important for businesses to weigh out the pros and cons of each option and decide what’s best for their budget and needs. Cloud-based BI tools tend to be more expensive than installed BI tools because of the monthly subscription fee.
However, cloud-based BI tools have the advantage of being able to scale up or down depending on the company’s needs. Installed BI tools are usually less expensive but cannot be scaled up or down as easily.
This means that, when choosing a BI tool, businesses should research different vendors and read customer reviews before deciding. Customer reviews are intrinsic to the success of any business, be that a BI software vendor or your own company. Keeping an eye on the customer trends of the BI software will help ensure that you select a tool that meets your organization’s specific requirements and provides value for your money.
Factoring in costs means factoring in some extra thoughts so that you’re getting the right service for your budget. This means keeping in mind the size of the company. Giant corporations may require more comprehensive BI tools that can handle more data and users than smaller businesses.
Another important factor is how well the BI tool integrates with other software programs that the company uses. If there is already an existing system in place that the company wants to continue using, then it’s important to find a BI tool that will integrate well with that system. Additionally, companies should evaluate how user-friendly the BI tool is and whether employees will be able to easily learn how to use it.
When deciding which business intelligence tool to use, businesses should consider factors such as the cost of the tool, the features it offers, and how easy it is to use. Some BI tools are free or offer a free trial period, while others have a subscription fee. The features that a BI tool offers can vary widely, so it’s important to make sure the tool has all the features you need.
Overall, the hope of this article is that it gave you some insight into what BI software is and what you should consider before entering the BI market and finding the best business intelligence tool for your needs. Modern data analysis needs more automation with its analytic solutions, so looking into business intelligence tools can be a robust solution to your data management.