May 9, 2018
“Torture the data, and it will confess to anything!” Well, that is what most organizations do today when they use technology and strategize by transforming data into impactful information for desirable results of the business. You know it by the name of- Business Intelligence, in short BI!
What is Business Intelligence? For business excellence, using voluminous and complex data sets, also known as “Big Data”, is just not enough. The need of the hour is to simplify interpretation without altering the data and identify unique possibilities, chalk-out a blueprint to establish a competitive edge in the market, and lead. This is what business intelligence is.
Business Intelligence uses various application software-Business Intelligence tools, which can manage a large amount of structured or unstructured data to churn them into information in the form of reports, dashboards, and data visualizations. These smart data insights empower employees and managers to:
– Accelerate and refine decision making,
– Enhance Operational efficiency,
– Be precise on new revenue opportunities,
– Straightforward business data reporting,
– Online analytical processing, and
– Performance scorecards highlighting business KPIs in easy-to-understand visuals.
BI Tools list can be categorized into three groups, namely- Guided Analysis & Reporting, Self Service BI, and Advanced Analytics. The representation can be understood as:
There are numerous BI Tools available and to better understand the attributes of BI tools let’s take the following two:
To best distinguish the difference between Big Data and BI, consider the comparison between Hadoop and Tableau. While the former is a free, Java-based programming framework or an ETL tool which extracts, stores, processes, and analyzes the data, the latter is a BI reporting tool. Tableau empowers businesses to swiftly extract valuable insight in Hadoop datasets. It is a reporting tool where data is presented in the form of easy-to-interpret charts, graphs, and infographics.
One of the BI tools Microsoft offers is Excel, but business intelligence tools comparison with Excel is not considered by many. The reasons are:
– Excel spreadsheets are prone to human errors.
– It is time-consuming.
– They do not allow data discovery.
– Only experts can use the advanced features.
– Security risk.
– If data is huge, they cannot be used.
– Lacks collaboration and visualization.
To encapsulate the key attributes in business intelligence and analytics tools, you must consider the following:
Unlike the traditional Excel spreadsheets displaying standard charts and pie diagrams, data visualization presents the data in more dynamic and easy to understand yet sophisticated infographics, gauges, heat maps, fever charts, and even interactive capabilities. All these help the user to drill down into the smallest of the data for analysis or resolving the query. This not only is appealing but also reduces dependency on IT.
Your business analysis tools must integrate with your current reporting processes or system so that your existing data is not buried in different data sources and places. Hence, the BI tool must be able to support various data sources in your business, like-ERPs, CRM system, or even Excel spreadsheets.
Unlike traditional BI tools which need manual installation on your desktops, your BI intelligence and analytics tool must be Web-based. This will not only save time, cost of additional hardware when upgrades happen, and infrastructure, but also will be easy and faster to access especially in organizations with a huge user base.
A BI tool must go with times, and today is the time of professionals who demand information, data, critical reports, dashboards, and analyses anytime, anywhere, and on every device. Hence, the BI tool must support mobile platforms, especially the smartphones.
BI tools must have suggestive intelligence where it can employ the existing patterns and suggest solutions. In short, using the available data, it must suggest the route map to be followed.
In addition to the above, business intelligence tools must be affordable, simple to use, show results in real-time, and must have the capacities to collaborate and secure. Whatever the case may be during your selection, based on your need, BI will make data talk to you if you’re willing to listen!