WHY USE A BI PLATFORM AND HOW TO CHOOSE ONE
Updated: May 16
"With Business Intelligence (BI) platforms, people can import, clean, and analyze data from databases, emails, videos, survey responses, among many others. These data analyses provide real-time business intelligence for mobile and desktop devices.
In this way, decision-makers can take information into action to improve their organization. BI platforms allow users to customize dashboards, create data visualizations, build scorecards, and compare them with key performance indicators (KPIs).
WHY COMPANIES NEED BI PLATFORMS
In order to succeed in the ever-changing business world, modern organizations must base their decisions on data and promote a data-driven culture. To do so, managers need modern business intelligence platforms that enable everyone to see and understand the data. These platforms are more than just business analysis software packages.
They support the BI strategy in the organization by facilitating data access and analysis. Simple analytics platforms enable importing, cleaning, analyzing data, and making forecasts. On the other hand, business intelligence platforms are more robust and dynamic, able to adapt as the BI strategy grows.
BI PLATFORMS IN ACTION
Here are some examples of real-life applications of what BI platforms can offer to organizations:
Visualizing changes in demand over time
Making sales and profit forecasts
Analyzing the results of marketing campaigns
Automating report distribution among stakeholders
Visualizing sales and inventory with near real-time capabilities
Integrating with cloud-based third-party platforms
Incorporating dashboards into custom solutions for internal or external use
COMMON FUNCTIONALITIES OF BI PLATFORMS There are many commercial and open-source BI platforms available in the market, each offering different user experiences. However, all of them provide a combination of the following functionalities:
Scheduled reporting with security specifications
Data quality management and monitoring for IT departments
Natural language processing to uncover new insights from data, such as videos or social media platforms
Faster data mining capabilities
Performance tracking against KPIs
An enterprise platform promotes business agility without sacrificing governance or security. Below are 5 aspects to consider when evaluating a modern BI platform: DYNAMIC DASHBOARDS: One of the most popular functionalities of BI platforms is the ability to create and visualize dashboards. Users can create modules and charts that update near real-time. It is also possible to publish dashboards on separate internal platforms. Choose a platform that offers self-service capabilities so that everyone can access the data and create their own analyses. This way, you can foster a culture of analytics within the organization.
INTUITIVE VISUAL ANALYSIS:
Choosing an intuitive visual analysis platform allows for visually exploring the data and provides real-time visual insights. It should also enable sharing discoveries through compelling visualizations. All of this should be possible within a single intuitive interface without the need for using different products for different types of analysis. Don't settle for a demonstration; sign up for a free trial version. Try answering various questions to assess the processing power and tool efficiency.
EFFICIENCY IN DRIVING BI STRATEGY:
Even the most effective BI reporting platform is useless if it cannot easily connect to the data. The appropriate analysis platform is one that offers optimized native connections to your data, regardless of where it resides, enabling faster analysis.
The platform should allow you to access and analyze data in real-time without the need for downloading it. It should also have the ability to quickly query the database with minimal coding required.
The BI platform should offer the option to deploy analyses wherever you want, whether it's in the cloud, on your local server, or hosted off-premises. It should seamlessly integrate with your current data strategy instead of disrupting your existing data infrastructure and forcing you to switch products or purchase additional
It should also easily integrate with your company's portals and other applications, ensuring accessibility for users regardless of their location. This flexibility is crucial when considering business intelligence programs and choosing a BI platform. Inflexible tools will only increase the total cost of ownership.
TOTAL COST OF OWNERSHIP WITHOUT SURPRISES:
Open-source BI tools can often be highly customizable. Many organizations, especially smaller ones, use open-source software to meet their data mining and ad hoc reporting needs.
However, when evaluating platforms, consider the total cost of ownership. Don't base your decision solely on price; conduct a thorough comparison. Take into account all the additional components you need to make the free platform work in your current and future business environment.
Free tools are never truly free and can result in higher total costs. While there are online resources available to learn how to use open-source software, those resources won't tell you how to use the platform for your organization's specific needs.
In other words, even if you can customize the open-source solution, it may not adapt to your company's growth. On the other hand, high-quality commercial BI tools include resources, support, and built-in enterprise scalability.
EMPOWERING USERS AND ENSURING DATA SECURITY:
The right platform for your organization should empower everyone, regardless of their level of expertise, to have "conversations" with the data and leverage insights. It should also help drive a data culture within the company by putting data at the center of all business decisions.
To maximize the value of data, you need to implement scalable governed self-service analytics. And to empower the entire organization, you need an analytics tool that is user-friendly and trusted by IT professionals. The right business intelligence software allows organizations to adopt a methodology that is IT-enabled and business-led.
IT professionals can establish a secure and managed environment that protects data and ensures its integrity without sacrificing innovation or business agility.
MAKING THE RIGHT DECISION:
Recommendations for choosing the right BI platform:
CHOOSE A TRUSTED PARTNER FOR YOUR BI SUCCESS:
As you evaluate business intelligence platforms, consider choosing a company whose primary mission is to empower people to prioritize data. Was the company's analytics platform developed after years of research and development (R&D)?
Does its track record indicate continued innovation? Does it prioritize user experience to help customers drive adoption? Trust the experience of your colleagues. Their passion and enthusiasm are a direct indicator of the success they have achieved with the product.
Find out how they have motivated their employees to adopt the platform and leverage that knowledge to develop your own path to success.
CHOOSE AN INNOVATIVE PLATFORM THAT ADAPTS TO YOUR NEEDS:
Business intelligence platforms must adapt to current technologies and user innovations. You should choose a platform that can easily adapt as your company grows. We understand that business realities are constantly evolving, so we keep an eye on upcoming business intelligence trends to share them with BI users.
The right platform for your organization must be flexible and easy to use, helping you achieve your business goals. (Source: Tableau software) As Tableau partners, we invite you to download a free full trial of Tableau Desktop here.