Business intelligence (BI) software provides an overview of the company’s business operations. It converts business data from various internal sources into structured dataset report output. Sales and productivity may be monitored. Dashboards and reports may be sent to end users or (non-technical) user interfaces.
BI Features That Improve Your Business Strategies
Basic BI software outputs improve business strategies:
- Ranking reports are best indicators of performance, including marketing, sales, production, etc.
- Interactive reports permit large quantities of statistical data to be collected and viewed to identify data trends, anomalies, etc.
- Daily operational reports provide detailed summaries for decision-making.
- Ad-Hoc reports allow non-technical end-users to generate their own reports.
• What-If analyses utilize past/current data to forecast potential risk/rewards of plans and decisions.
• Executive dashboards (charts, graphs, reports, etc.) are also decision-making and planning tools that provide a real-time business overview.
• Geospatial mapping applications transform data into graphical/cartographic maps.
• Pivot tables sort, average, count, and summarize stored data and display the results in a separate table.
• User-specific security allows specific user access authorization to particular datasets.
• Open integration allows access to data obtained from email, web pages, social media, etc. which may compliment product reviews and comments.
It is important that business intelligence analysts thoroughly analyzes and selects BI software and features that capably integrates all types of data, seamlessly producing accurate and informative output.
Evaluating BI Software Features
Features business intelligence analysts look for in selecting corporate BI software should be compatible with, and enhance and expand, current company business processes.
1. For effective data warehousing, the BI software must be compatible with the company’s existing hardware. If it is not compatible, databases may not be seamlessly read or queried. As a result, data needed to obtain accurate operations overviews may become lost or buried. The intent of BI software is to find and manipulate data applications, inboxes, and spreadsheets to provide applicable insight.
2. BI software should be adaptable to the user (user-friendly), taking into consideration their level of training and discoverability threshold.
3. Data increases over time. BI software should effectively handle the current data volume for maximum performance. It should also be scalable as the data volume grows to continue to provide effective and efficient operations.
4. Business intelligence analysts must determine which BI system (on-premise, cloud, or both) satisfies company performance, mobility, and shared data requirements. Cloud BI systems encourage mobility and collaboration. Whereas on-premise BI systems afford more secure firewall options and overall performance and maintained data center.
It is suggested these critical features be analyzed within a BI requirements template to ensure the selected BI platform is appropriate, applicable, and scalable for the organization.
BI Requirements Template
A requirements template or software industry report comparing and evaluating applicable BI features may be downloaded free here.
A BI requirements template significantly improves the success of selecting the right BI software3 solution. Once the requirements template is downloaded, it may be used to analyze features. It provides an in-depth look at feature sets and allows the collected information to be exported into a report or spreadsheet for overall comparative analysis.
“Built-in requirements” allow the user to:
1) select current technology categories (100 or more), including any perspective new categories which will be added later,
2) control and prioritize requirements using incorporated stakeholder tracking and role-based permission levels. Future custom requirements may be easily added and prioritized, and
3) automatically generate RFPs which include validated stakeholder and financial information. This verified information may be tracked allowing vendor responses to be more easily evaluated within the system.
Quality BI requirements templates combine key identified criteria which, when matched against project or other decision conditions, suggest the most efficient and effective selected BI platform.