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Smart choices: How to pick the perfect business intelligence tool

As the amount of data flowing in from all directions surges rapidly, it begs the question, how are companies making sense of all the information? How are they leveraging this data to make meaningful, informed decisions? The truth is, without the correct business intelligence tool, businesses will have a hard time finding a usable piece of data. They will fail to extract useful information from large chunks of data. That’s why you need to select a business intelligence tool that fits the existing and emerging needs of your organization. A few features to watch out for in a business intelligence tool include:

Ability to integrate with the current system

It is extremely beneficial for a business if the chosen business analytics tool supports seamless integration with the existing reporting processes.

Not only does this allow businesses to retrieve and sort data that’s hidden away in multiple locations and sources, but it also enables business users to explore the data. Just make sure your preferred business intelligence tool supports data from different sources, including Excel spreadsheets, ERP, CRM, and so on.

Clearly establish the criteria in business terms

Once you’ve settled on a clearly defined strategy, it’s time to chalk out the business critical selection criteria. So, if your business people wish to track history, they require a BI tool that offers standard support for growing dimensions out-of-box. You could even try exchanging critical business details with vendors and customers.

Remember, you require a BI tool that performs well with a large number of users and comes with a solid infrastructure for proper load clustering and balancing.

This lets you make a clear connection between the business strategy and the criteria, both of which are crucial to the overall success of your business.

Ensure the interface is easy to use and intuitive

Power users like business analysts pay attention to certain features, such as flexibility, in the software they’ve selected. So, the features they value above all else include model creation, user interfaces, and defining workflows.

When you select an advanced business analytics tool, you will find that it is capable of guiding users who have zero clue about technology through the whole model creation process. At the same time, they offer up a rich, rewarding contextual experience as far as data analysis options are concerned.

Take part in data drilling and data filtering tasks

The business intelligence tool that you select for your company should always come with a drop-down menu, slicers, search functionalities, and filters so that users have an easier time looking up the information they were trying to find.

The system is also ideal for users who want to view the highest-level overview regarding performance down to the most comprehensive and detailed granular view.

Provide a sufficient level of security

This is one of the most important considerations a business has to keep in mind when purchasing a business intelligence tool, especially for cloud-based firms.

Businesses need to value their most critical data, which in this case is the confidential employee information and pricing. They need to think about careful modes of storing this detail, and the business intelligence can help in this regard.

Simply purchase a good BI tool with a strong encryption mechanism and you’re good to go. If that’s not all, you must even have mechanisms for controlling the internal security by assigning access controls and user permissions.

Roles, groups, and column- and row-based security may be used in a way that the user is able to view only the information they require and nothing else. This is an astute way to deter private details from falling in the wrong hands.

Think about local intelligence

The business intelligence software you choose for the organization must have the capability to visualize data as per the correct geographical format. This will allow the organization to not just comprehend the data from the sales perspective but also aid in its visualization.

After all, dashboard graph gauges and other visual mediums work the best when you’re attempting to bring your data to life. Through visualization, you find it easier to analyze the key messages included in the data and this serves as an invaluable tool for representing your company data in a manner that is easy to digest and quite fast.

If your visualization is not done correctly, then the data turns out to be useless and redundant.

Keep an eye on the ranking reports

This feature comes in handy when you’re trying to create reports with the help of a certain category of information, multiple dimensions, and certain criteria. This ranking report aids your business in familiarizing itself with the worst and best aspects, so you can gain more insight into the inner workings of your company.

Make sure your BI tool is mobile-friendly

Thanks to the increasing use of mobile phones and tablets in our everyday lives, it is vital that businesses pick an intelligence software that supports all the different platforms.

A mobile-friendly business intelligence tool is nothing short of a boon for business executives who are always on the move and who want the ability to access graphs charts patterns anytime, anywhere as per their convenience.

Picking a business intelligence tool: Do your research

Every company must have its own business intelligence tool now since it provides a much-needed competitive edge. However, please remember that at the end of the day, a BI tool is as good as the data it accesses.

If data retrieval is full of errors or slow, then it won’t help even if you have the best business intelligence tool in the world. So if you wish to get the most out of your data, you need to ensure its accuracy, validity, and completeness before you move onto choosing the right BI tool for your company.

Look at the different tools on the menu in the industry and make an informed decision, considering the pros and cons of each business intelligence tool along with how well it serves the needs and requirements of your business.

Benjamin Roussey

Benjamin Roussey is from Sacramento, CA. He has two master’s degrees and served four years in the US Navy. His bachelor’s degree is from CSUS (1999) where he was on a baseball pitching scholarship. He has an MBA in Global Management from the Univ. of Phoenix (2006). Currently he lives in the Phoenix area after living in Cabo San Lucas, MX for 3 years. He enjoys sports, movies, reading, and current events when he is not working online.

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