20 February 2020

Examples of BI Tools: Leverage Your Business Data


Examples of BI tools include reporting, forecasting, and data visualisation. How to use them to leverage the information you already have?

The world does not stop moving. Customers update their preferences and the business environment changes. So, your business should have the tools to navigate any changing trends.

Business Intelligence tools can provide relief to businesses seeking to manage their information. By harnessing it – its future performance may become that much clearer.

What are Business Intelligence Tools?

According to Forrester Research, BI tools are “a set of methodologies, processes, architectures, and technologies that transform raw data into meaningful and useful information.”

Indeed, these tools facilitate strategic, tactical, and operational insights and decision-making. Aside from the software itself, it also entails strategies and tech used by an enterprise.

A prominent aspect is the data analysis of business information. As an organisation seeks to improve activity, the types of variables include:

  • widescale timeline-based insight,
  • daily ‘snapshots’, from historical, to present-day,
  • and even future prognosis.

Companies may also need data on how many customers interact within each sector on a given day. For instance, BI tools use separate reporting database, to assess business KPIs.

Functions of Business Intelligence Technologies

Through leveraging digital technologies, BI tools encompass a wide variety of methods, e.g. data analytics, cyber-physical systems, and even the Internet of Things.

The following are some of the popular functions:

  • Reporting of KPIs
  • Decision Support
  • Ad Hoc Analytics
  • Performance Analysis
  • Predictive Analytics
  • Prescriptive Analytics

Improving operational awareness andBI maturity levelis crucial to maintaining a competitive advantage to an organisation.

BI software tools provide a roadmap to the future, based on a rich library of variables from production and operations. That, certainly, is the brainpower a company needs to plan for success.

A window into the state of the business will help the organisation:

  • mitigate expenses,
  • improve understanding of customers,
  • boost revenues,
  • increase efficiency,
  • identify sales trends.

By understanding diverse market segments, you stand to open new opportunities and remain a step ahead of the competition.

Examples of Business Intelligence Tools

Powering your business is a simple case of leveraging the data you already have in your organisation. The following are some of the examples of BI tools and their functions:

Analytical Forecasting

This entails data analysis and mining, with the intention of understanding future events. This has wide-ranging applications across many industries and sectors.

Uncovering and foreseeing trends is a cornerstone of Business Intelligence, so you can make pinpoint decisions based on calculated expectations. Forecasts can include outcomes in production and company performance based on a wide range of variables and metrics.

Data Processing

Organisations consist of people, equipment, and processes that yield substantial troves of data. The sheer volume and activity of this data would traditionally be difficult to comprehend and support.

Business intelligence tools not only possess the processing power but can leverage an organisation’s data. Personalised dashboards allow management to make informed business decisions based on this information.

Predictive and Prescriptive Analytics

Today, industrial and commercial equipment is becoming increasingly autonomous. Self-regulating, data-driven adjustments can be made to facilities, who can plan their own ‘downtimes’.

By assessing its own performance, the equipment can forecast its own need for maintenance and make the adjustments.

For example, a machine on a factory floor can re-delegate its own activity to other equipment in the same system during this ‘down period’. This way, it can minimise its impact on production.

Healthcare BI tools

Another one of the examples of business intelligence tools are healthcare BI tools. As a healthcare analytics software, this type of BI solutions allows healthcare industry to create better and more accurate reports and analyses. Hospitals, for examples, can leverage healthcare BI tools for data visualisation, improve decision making, as well as patient care and satisfaction.

Examples of Top BI Tools

Forrester Research has taken the step of ranking top BI tools according to a Quadrant, dubbed, the Forrester Wave. In it, they deduced that the current top performers are:

  • Microsoft,
  • Salesforce,
  • Oracle,
  • and Tableau Software.

Other notable software houses sport their own BI platforms. The examples are SAP and IBM, but their presence is less acclaimed.

Microsoft Power BI, the business analytics platform, is notable for providing insights using data visualisations, built-in with over 200 different data sources. The wide-ranging business intelligence capabilities by this software are vast. In fact, the included interface enables end-users to create reports and custom dashboards.

According to Forrester, Microsoft as Enterprise BI has scored highest among top BI tools, ranking as both ‘Leader’, and with ‘Strongest Strategy’.

Business Intelligence tools examples

Final Thoughts and Considerations

Knowing the functionalities of BI tools, you can begin to consider the most suitable type of solution. That process starts with your team but could always take advantage of some second opinions.

When making your assessment, consider the reviews made by agencies or business users. Many BI tools also have case studies, so make sure to check and compare them.

Remember, there is a multitude of attractive BI tools on the market, each with their own benefits. Take note of Forrester Research, and any other reputed market research firm, for an understanding of the products. Some excel in technical ease-of-use and applicability. Others differ through integration capabilities, access security, or data restrictions.

The examples of BI tools in the market are plentiful. Be sure to know your objectives and assess them against different products. Good luck, and all the best!

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Martin Birk
CEO at SoftwareHut Nordic

Martin holds a position of a CEO at SoftwareHut Nordic, specialising in outsourcing, Power BI/Apps, and software development. Has a broad experience in creating the foundation for business reporting all the way from raw data to organisational implementation.