Tips for Choosing the Best Business Intelligence Tools
The correct collection and analysis of data can be the key to enhancing profitability and ensuring overall business success. Business Intelligence (BI) tools are the best way to collate data from a range of sources, and extrapolate usable business-enhancing information, but it’s important that you’re choosing the right BI tool for your business.
Business Intelligence explained
Basically, a BI tool is computer-aided method of transforming raw data into usable information as a way to make informed business decisions. The BI tool reporting will provide data in a digestible visual format that is easily accessible to all employees.
What to consider when choosing BI
There are many factors that will need to be considered when deciding on a BI tool. Here are 6 tips for choosing the best business intelligence tools:
1. How does it manage data?
The central focus of BI is data management, and it’s the quality of the data that will determine how effective the final reports are. Check that the BI tool is able to access data from a variety of sources, such as your internal or cloud databases, as well as warehouses if relevant to your industry. Once collated, the data might need to be transformed into a usable format.
2. How does it visualise data?
The real strength of BI lies in the reporting tool, which is where the accumulated data is formatted into a visual medium, such as graphs, tables, charts and maps. It’s important to analyse how the BI tool will visualise the data which means questioning the level of design, as well as whether it has machine-learning capabilities.
3. How easy is the BI to use?
A strong technological background should not be a pre-requisite when using a BI tool. However, this is not to say that the BI tool should not cater to the more IT-leaning individuals. Enquire about usability of the BI software, and whether it has features such as user interfaces or model creation. Everyone from the lower-level employees through to business analysts should be able to benefit from using the BI software.
4. How secure is it?
Recent corporate data breaches have highlighted the incredible risk companies take when they don’t fully protect sensitive data. A BI tool is crucial to ensuring that critical information is kept secure, so it’s important to ensure it has encryption and protection, as well as internal security measures such as access control.
5. Perform an evaluation
In addition to asking all the right questions from your BI supplier, it’s vital that you perform a thorough evaluation yourself. Create a comprehensive list of features your BI software must have, and a list you’d like it to have. This will narrow down the search, after which you should trial the BI software with your data first.
6. How much does it cost?
Of course, cost is always a major deciding factor when making any investment, and while BI software can be costly, there are pricing options available. Various models will also allow for a bit of wiggle room in price, whether you’re choosing an on-site solution or a more cost-effective cloud-based solution.
Do extensive research by checking reviews, chatting to others in the industry, and working with reputable BI suppliers. This will ensure you’re choosing the best BI tool for your particular workspace.