How BI Tools Came About
Business intelligence is a term that grew in popularity in the 80s, primarily thanks to the introduction of personal computers into our professional lives. BI technology has since evolved from providing simple reports to becoming an entire set of software tools for delivering precise data analysis and helping entrepreneurs learn from and optimize their business processes.
The ways to use BI to improve your daily workflow and overall performance are almost uncountable, which is why the presence of business intelligence tools in companies of all sizes is getting stronger by the day. For this review, we tried to focus on those features that professionals find most valuable. However, keep in mind that the aspects covered here are just the tip of the BI iceberg.
Methodology for Reviewing Business Intelligence Software
According to numerous user reviews online, the most appreciated aspect of a BI platform is the simplistic overview within dashboards. Advanced features are a great add-on but are also, on occasion, thought of as clutter. In the light of these insights, it was easy to find business intelligence software vendors who provide the most useful and sought-after BI tools.
A good dashboard is an essential aspect of every BI program. For most of us, there is nothing more boring or puzzling than a bunch of numbers piled up in a report or presentation. That’s where dashboards come to the rescue – a good one will be able to get rid of unnecessary content and present relevant information in an understandable and engaging way.
Clear Visualization tools
As we’ve already said, just looking at a bunch of seemingly random numbers can cause confusion, let alone trying to understand what’s in front of you. Many of us simply don’t have the required knowledge – that’s why good data visualization solutions are so valued. The business intelligence tools you choose must be able to make sense of all that mess and provide several ways of presenting the results. Graphs, charts, pies, maps – the more visualization options you have, the better.
Most BI tools can provide forecasts combining various data, such as trends, patterns, or roadmaps. With such help at hand, business owners can take a peek at the future, see where progress can be made, and devise realistic and actionable plans to meet these goals. That’s why predictive data analytics is among the top business intelligence tools and occasionally even the sole reason for using BI products in the first place.
Having to constantly keep an eye on all the business processes yourself can take a lot of time and sometimes even be impossible to achieve, depending on the size of your business. However, with a good business intelligence platform, you can let real-time data monitoring tools take over. Not only will they do all the challenging work for you, they will also alert you if there are any unusual events that you should know of. Equipped with relevant insights in time, you could avoid losing your data or other similar incidents. Setting up notification parameters is another excellent feature that some of these online business intelligence tools offer.
Today, most businesses use a number of software products coming from various vendors. Being able to make them work and interact within a single system can facilitate and speed up your daily tasks, as well as provide insights that might not be so easily detected otherwise. If you’re already using other platforms and web services such as Google Analytics or Salesforce, integration capabilities should be another crucial aspect to consider when choosing your business intelligence tool.
Just like with most services, one size doesn’t necessarily fit all here either. A small business dipping its toes into the sea of business intelligence tools could easily give up on using them if the software is too complex and requires too much know-how to deliver results. Having to hire an expert or spend time and resources on training personnel to use a business intelligence platform is not always the option. On the other hand, teams experienced in using these technologies might be frustrated by a lack of more advanced options and prefer a more hands-on approach.