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.
What Kind of Business information do you need?
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
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 is 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 BI Tools
Powering your business is a simple case of leveraging the data you already have in your organisation. The following are some of the leading examples of BI tool functions:
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.
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.
Which Big-Name Providers Reach the Bar?
Forrester Research has taken the step of ranking these according to a Quadrant, dubbed, the Forrester Wave. In it, they deduced that the current top performers are:
- 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’s BI has scored highest in this competitive landscape. The tool ranks as both ‘Leader’, and with ‘Strongest Strategy’.
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!