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What to look for when choosing a business intelligence solution for your business

With extensive competition and ever-increasing uncertainty in the global market, businesses are looking for the most effective ways to improve productivity and lower waste. Business Intelligence (BI) software offers just this solution. Here’s a look at what it is, why you need it and what features to look out for.


What is a BI solution?

Business Intelligence is a technological solution that gathers, analyses and interprets data from a variety of sources. This data is then converted into useful, business-driving information that can be depicted across maps, graphs, videos, infographics, tables and other visual interpretations for ease of use.


What are the benefits of a BI solution?

There are so many benefits of the business intelligence software when properly integrated into your operation. Some of the key benefits include:


  • Improved productivity
  • Track performance management
  • Sales intelligence
  • Improve inventory management
  • Access to crucial information
  • Strategic decision-making
  • Opportunities identified
  • Eliminating waste


What are the top considerations of a BI solution?

When deciding on the best BI software for your organisation, there are a few features and other factors you need to consider to ensure you get software that is completely compatible.


1.     Data management

The BI tool is, in essence, about data management which relies on quality data. You will need to ask whether the BI software is able to access data from a variety of sources such as internal and cloud-based databases, or warehouses. The higher the quality of the data used, then the better the information extracted for enhanced productivity.


2.     Data visualisation

The data needs to be well represented visually, which is where the reporting tool comes in. This is essentially the whole face of the operation. You need to consider the quality of the reporting tool that formats the data and translates it into useful information in the form of graphs, tables, charts, maps and more. Check how the BI tool visualises the data, whether the dashboards are easy or difficult to understand, the level of design and its machine-learning capabilities. You don’t want to be suffering through poor quality visuals.


3.     Integration

Another feature to consider is whether the BI software is a standalone or an integrated solution. With the standalone solution, the BI can be accessed and viewed is its own application. With the integrated solution, you’re able to access and view the information through existing applications, services and websites. This can be either a partially- or fully-integrated solution depending on your needs.


4.     Ease of use

You want to make your BI software as accessible as possible, which means it shouldn’t be too technologically complex. Check about the usability of the BI software, the user interface and model creation so that everyone from entry-level employees through to business analysts can benefit from the software.


5.     Customisation

When you choose a BI solution, you can either go with an off-the-shelf option or a customised solution. The off-the-shelf option is cheaper and quicker to install, but it might not meet your specific business requirements. However, with a customised BI solution, you can pick and choose exactly what you need for the software so that it will be developed for your individual business needs.


6.     Mobility

The evolving nature of business and remote working model has forced businesses to become much more mobile. With this in mind, you might want to consider whether the BI software comes with mobility features that are crucial to your business operations. Fortunately, more and more vendors are offering mobile BI solutions.


7.     Training

No matter what BI tool you decide to go with, your staff are going to need some product training to ensure that they are able to fully use the software and enjoy the maximum benefits. You should ask about the training options provided by the vendor, including the quality and flexibility of the training offers. The training should be extensive and able to adapt to your business operations.


8.     IT support

Once implemented and the training is complete, you will need continued IT support so that there is no interruption to business flow. Check whether the vendor provides self-service BI support as this will allow users to access the self-service capabilities without relying on the IT department.


9.     Costs

Finally, you will need to ask about all the costs involved in the BI software. These include the monthly subscription rates, costs related to scalability of the software and hidden fees involved. A seemingly cheaper BI tool might actually cost you more in the long run, so check all reviews ahead of time.


When choosing the right BI tool for you, the first stop should be Canvas Intelligence. The industry experts will be able to best guide you through the various software features and match you with the right BI tool for your business needs.