Self-service business intelligence boasts features that enable users to become more self-reliant and less dependent on information technology (IT) experts. The 4 ways this is accomplished are: (1) easy access to source data (2) better support for data analysis, (3) faster deployment options, and (4) simpler, adaptive, and collaborative end-user interfaces.
Self-service business intelligence or enterprise business intelligence (BI) are used for smarter, faster decisions using timely information in easy-to-understand formats. Users demand faster access to BI data; a survey of 587 technical and business professionals found that 78 percent of respondents say they need faster BI solutions.
To satisfy this demand, one approach is an environment in which workers can create and access BI reports, queries, and analyses without IT intervention. This environment extends the reach and scope of BI applications to support worker needs for collaborative decisions in a data environment that is both accessible and consumable.
BI software provides overviews of business operations by converting unstructured data from internal sources into structured reports. It may monitor sales and productivity for reports to end users or to nontechnical user interfaces. Some basic BI software features that enhance business strategies include:
- Ranking reports, the best key performance indicators (KPIs) of marketing, sales, and productivity
- Interactive reports that collect statistical data on market trends and anomalies
- Daily operational reports with summaries for business decision-making
- Ad-hoc reports for nontechnical end users
- What-if analyses that utilize data to forecast potential risks and rewards
- Executive dashboards, charts, graphs, and reports for strategic planning and ad-hoc business review
- Geospatial applications that transform data into maps
- Pivot tables that sort, count, average, and summarize stored data and display the results separately
- User-specific security for access to particular datasets
- Open integration for access to e-mail, web page, and social media data that may complement product reviews and comments.
It is important for BI analysts to analyze thoroughly software features that capably integrate all types of data for seamless, accurate output.
Evaluating BI Software Features
Features to look for in corporate BI software should be compatible with and should enhance and expand current business processes:
- For effective data storage the BI software must be compatible with user hardware. If not, it may not be possible to read or query databases regularly or reliably, and data for accurate overviews may be lost. BI software should find and manipulate all relevant data for optimal insight.
- BI software should be user-friendly.
- Data quantity increases over time. BI software should handle current volume databases and be scalable to maintain efficacy and efficiency as the volume grows.
- BI analysts must determine which system, on-site, cloud, or both, satisfies user performance, mobility, and shared data requirements. BI cloud systems encourage mobility and collaboration. BI on-site systems offer more secure firewall options.
Analysis of these critical features should be within a BI requirements template to select BI platforms most appropriate and scalable for users.
BI Requirements Template
A business intelligence requirements template significantly improves prospects for successful selection of the BI software best for the user. Once copied from the Internet, it can analyze software features. It looks in depth at feature sets and reports the collected information for overall comparative analysis.
Built-in requirements allow users:
- To select current (>100) technology categories and new categories to be added.
- To control and prioritize requirements with tracking and role-based permission levels. Future custom requirements are easy to add and to prioritize.
- To generate responses to requests for proposals automatically with essential stakeholder and financial information. This verified information may be tracked for easy evaluation of vendor responses.
Quality BI requirement templates combine key criteria which, matched against unique decision conditions, suggest the most efficient and effective BI platform for an organization.
BI software analyzes and manages business operations data. With BI visualization users can monitor sales, logistics, and productivity and analyze extensive data in visual, intuitive reports.
By presenting data in formats easy to read and comprehend, BI software helps users understand business strengths and weaknesses from actionable metrics. With BI users can input data-based sales goals or target delivery times and track daily progress. This tracking feature is the most effective performance management software available. Professional users can track goal fulfillment progress and use that information to gauge overall organizational productivity.
The best BI software makes readily accessible information that otherwise would require days or weeks to find and organize. The ability to think fast in making fully-informed decisions is important for success in business. Use of BI software is like having a comprehensive, in-depth research project constantly in progress compiling information users may need at any time to make significant, far-reaching business decisions.