Business intelligence (BI) is a set of tools and techniques that help a company gather, consolidate, and make sense of their raw data. BI tools allow companies to analyze their data in depth, improving decision making from the C-suite level down.
To help you make the best business analytics decision for your company, we’ve created a BI guide, complete with features and reviews of top-rated BI tools to help you get started.
Don’t settle for anything less than data on demand. It’s time everyone has access to fresh, reliable data. Drill deeper. Ask more. Share easier. Integrate new data, keeping key decision makers informed, minute by minute.
Business intelligence software should make data as easy to understand as possible. BI analytics software should include the ability to transform data sets into charts, graphs and tables with beautiful data visualization.
Data security and data governance should be central to any BI tool set, where one single source of truth is available to all users. Choose a BI software solution that prioritizes user safety and privacy, keeping hackers and competitors at bay.
Reports and dashboards take your company’s raw data and transforms it into crisp visuals for easier decision making. Save time and focus on what really matters with better data visualization.
Confused about a feature? Looking for a quick answer to a pressing question? As with any software or tool, at some point, you’ll need extra support. Select a data analytics software program that gives you reliable access to technical and customer support.
Not everyone is a trained data analyst. From C-suite executives to account managers -- the easier your software is to use, the more they’ll use it and continually gain fresh insights as a result.
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Entrepreneurs and their teams are pressed for time and resources. Find a BI solution that scales, flexes, and adapts as your company and business environment changes and grows.
As your business grows, you’ll need to make certain that your data workflow stays organized and efficient. You’ll need a business intelligence tool that can meet the needs of your company’s business users, analysts, and developers while simultaneously helping speed up analysis with interactive visual dashboards and reports.
Enterprise businesses need to support massive datasets from a wide range of sources. Whether you need to answer an investor question in a matter of hours, understand your customers, or scale productivity of business users and data analysts, you’ll want a business intelligence platform that allows your team to take immediate action.
Technology is changing quickly - don’t get left behind. Choose a BI platform that is fast, scalable, and continuously incorporating new features and technologies as they emerge.
Market trends have shifted toward tools that are easy to access and encourage collaboration among users. Seek out software that allows for self-service BI. You’ll also need ad hoc querying, which allows you to obtain data and analysis as needed.
Whether this is your first foray into BI or if you’ve used other software in the past, you likely have databases or applications you’ve created in house. Seek out BI software that gives you the ability to integrate current and future data sets. It will save time and energy, and ensure a quick transition into your business’ workflow.
Access to predictive analytics, data mining and semantic and text analytics are important to any growing business. Look to the future with BI software that can mine company data and use that information to predict growth, areas of concern and opportunities for improvement.
The ability to white label your business intelligence software is an excellent opportunity for your company. After all, BI is a tool, and you’re making it your own. You should be able to present it as your own, too.
Embedded analytics are essential to any BI program. These powerful tools work within your current systems - and seamlessly integrate those systems into one another to help navigate your company’s data.
You can’t afford to spend your days clicking through BI reports and checking for changes. Operationalize insights with automated alerts and actions, choosing BI intelligence software that that lets you know when underlying data and business operations have changed.
To learn more about establishing the goals and how to ask the right questions when evaluation BI software, download the No-Nonsense Buyer’s Guide to BI.
Gartner regularly produces reports on business intelligence, among other topics. Sift through their unbiased analyses for better business intelligence comparison of platforms. Criteria include critical capabilities, leaders in the field, research on BI vendor abilities and more.
Forrester focuses on business analysis, producing reports on everything from artificial intelligence to branding, cloud computing to business intelligence. They provide an in-depth view of BI firms and developments in the field.
G2 provides consumer-focused reviews for business capabilities across a wide array of fields including staffing firms, legal service providers, cybersecurity firms and BI intelligence providers.
BARC’s The BI Survey is the world's largest and most comprehensive survey of business intelligence (BI) software users, providing feedback from over 3,000 respondents across 95 countries using 36 BI solutions.
Tableau’s design focuses on visual analysis of in-memory data extracts, which can become difficult to manage and govern over time. Looker’s centralized, agile modeling layer creates a trusted environment for all users to analyze data and collaborate on findings. Because the Looker modeling layer doesn’t extract any data from the underlying database, deployments are easier to maintain and scale.
Power BI’s limitations around creating and sharing dashboards offset its ease of use. And, it’s only deployable in Microsoft’s Azure cloud, which limits a customer’s choices in the future. Looker’s multi-cloud flexibility is an ideal solution for today’s modern cloud and on-prem SQL databases.
Sisense’s proprietary in-memory ElastiCube architecture requires significant maintenance by skilled technicians. Sisense deployments often grow cumbersome as customers attempt to scale and the need for additional ElastiCubes grows over time. Looker’s centralized modeling layer defines business rules in one place that is accessible by all users and downstream processes.
MicroStrategy’s centralized semantic layer leads to complex deployments that often require highly skilled IT resources. The semantic layer can only be changed by one developer at a time, creating bottlenecks for end-users and limiting agility. Looker’s centralized modeling layer, LookML, is based on SQL, which makes it accessible to more users who can collaborate in a git version-controlled environment.
Find out more about the Looker difference.
From start-ups to enterprise organizations, all businesses are becoming more data-driven. In order to thrive in an increasingly competitive market, decision-makers need to have real-time data to make fast, informed decisions. Business intelligence tools can help them do just that.
Eager to take your data and transform it into actionable insights? Harness the power of BI software to start making better decisions and stay ahead of the pack.