It’s quickly becoming apparent that Business Intelligence (BI) tools aren’t just a convenient tool for individuals to assist in making your data legible, but an essential part of corporate strategy. Being able to deconstruct and visualise data has allowed businesses to make more informed decisions, and BI tools allow for anyone permitted to access that data. But there are many types of BI tool, so how can you know what is right for your business?
Signs that your BI is out of date
As the popularity and necessity of BI analytic tools grow, so too does the technical capacity of the tools themselves. Businesses using an older BI tool might find that they have outgrown the system. There are a few easy signs that your BI tool is out of date. Firstly, are you having to wait for your reports? If you aren’t working in real-time, then you’re working at a disadvantage compared to your competition. The idea that you would need to have a report made and delivered by your IT department is also a pretty good indicator that your BI tool is out of date since a modern BI tool should be accessible and easy enough to use that everyone in the business has the capacity to pick it up and start analysing data.
Perhaps the biggest indicator, however, is looking at how you do business. If your business has access to big data, and that data isn’t changing the way in which you do business, then the chances are you are not taking full advantage of the data available. Your BI tool should be capable of helping you identify opportunities across your data. If the potential insights from your data are not clear enough, then you can be pretty sure you’re working with the wrong analytics tool.
How do you analyse BI tools?
Before you start analysing BI tools, you first need to analyse your Business Intelligence strategy. There’s no point deciding what tool is right for your business if you haven’t defined your requirements and expectations. It’s also important to look to the future so that your choice of BI tool will accommodate your needs down the line. You should also judge BI tools and applications not just on their abilities and features, but on the company itself – do they have satisfactory customer service and technical support, for instance?
One of the first things businesses should look at is integration. How easily can your business systems integrate with the BI tools? If you have disparate data that is currently housed in multiple systems, collating everything to one BI tool needs to require as little set-up and development as possible so not to disrupt production, and increase the speed of return on investment. Keep a look out for how many connectors a BI tool has – the more connectivity available, the easier the integration will be.
As mentioned earlier, if your data isn’t coming to you in real-time, it probably means your BI tool is out of date but definitely means your BO process is out of date. Any business expecting to make the most out of their data should be getting their facts in real-time and predictive analytics ahead of time. This data should also be accessible from any web browser on any computer or device. Ideally, data should be available from anywhere there is a device with a browser to help anyone in the company make more informed business decisions. Of course, if you want your data accessible for more of your staff, then the interface needs to be as simple to use as possible so those without a background in IT can also use it. Ease of use is often a big factor in defining how long it takes to start seeing a return on investment. For instance, drag and drop interfaces are easy to understand for new users and incorporate all data, both locally and in the cloud.
It’s also important to look at price and value. Value can be determined by the number of useful features and expected return on investment compared to the price. Some vendors offer flexible, subscription-based pricing while others require annual licences. Just make sure you’ve thoroughly researched any hidden costs, such as integrations, customisation, or additional hardware.
So what BI tool is right for you?
There’s no quick answer to that question. Businesses must first understand what they require from their BI analytic tool and then they should be able to make a choice based on those conclusions. It’s not easy to know which of the many tools is most applicable to a particular strategy, so it can be beneficial to get some professional, third-party advice. Nymad specialises in providing BI analytic tools and data visualisation so can easily suggest the most appropriate tool for your circumstances. If you’d like to discuss how Nymad can help and how BI analytics can offer excellent return on investment, don’t hesitate to get in touch via our contact page.