Published June 13th, 2016 by

5 Things to Keep in Mind When Buying Business Intelligence Tools

5 Things to Keep in Mind When Buying Business Intelligence Tools

Because of the necessity of competition nowadays, one should be able to consider what all other businesses have – the best BI tools. A BI tool is an application or methodology that makes possible the easy collection of data from both internal and external sources in order to facilitate easy real time analysis and more importantly, efficient business decision making for greater profit.

Nowadays, there is no more business that does not make good use of technology and there is no more company that does not take advantage of the benefits of good business intelligence software. Reviews of BI tools are therefore indispensable in making these companies choose what is best for them and what is most ideal for generating maximum profit. Without BI tools, there is no way that you can equal your rivals in business and there is no way that you can maximize business opportunities and gain profits that are at par with your toughest competitors.

A long time ago, only data analysts and the finest IT experts could deal with BI tools but nowadays business intelligence software must be accessible to all those concerned about production and decision making processes. Ideal BI tools for your business should also be used by those assigned to operational tasks, adhoc reporting, identification of market trends, and spotting various business problems that require immediate attention. The recent boom of BI tools in the market has become popular among business executives and workers who have learned how to maximize the full potential of business intelligence software.

Here are five things that you should keep in mind when trying to purchase your BI tools for the first time:

They must be affordable.

Affordability may be too cliché and most people would forego with the price in order to go for the best quality. That is perfectly OK as long as your business intelligence software can be easily and economically maintained.

BI tools were once only available to the largest corporations as they alone could afford their expensiveness of implementation. Small companies were always at the mercy of the corporate giants when it comes to popularity, income generation and other aspects of the business. It is good that recent innovations in technology when it comes to data storage have dramatically reduced IT costs. One of these innovations is cloud computing, a service designed to store data online for free and manipulate it right there. This significantly decreased implementation costs in terms of time and fees.

The truth is that you do not have to spend too much when purchasing business intelligence tools for your business. With good reviews, you can check various aspects of BI tools that are crucial to your business like Total Cost of Ownership, or TCO. TCO is all about maintenance and implementation costs of your business intelligence software. The best is to buy modern BI tools for your business that make you save. With low start-up costs and low maintenance costs, you can trust that BI tools will give you the best options for your business. What’s more? You do not have to be a corporate giant to avail that now.

They must be easy to implement

Easy-to-use BI tools for your business will always be the preferred type. Those with intuitive designs that make it easy for anyone in the company to use are actually the ones that are most in demand. Modern business intelligence solutions should be accessible to and usable by almost any other employee in the company and should be as easy as using one’s smartphone.

If you choose BI tools that are too difficult or too complicated to use, then its major disadvantage is that it will consume quality time that could have otherwise been used for more fruitful endeavours. With BI tools that are easy to use and implement, there is no need to waste time and there is no need to take years or months to execute something when you can do it for only a matter of days or even hours!

Good business intelligence software must also be equipped with user-friendly interfaces. This means that they should be able to work with real time data and should be really fast and extremely reliable. They should have this feature in order to provide timely and accurate information that is available at the exact moment that it is needed.

The ease of BI tools in terms of implementation also means that they must be readily available on almost all types of devices including tablets and smartphones since these are the most popular ones in the market today. If your business intelligence software offers you these features, you will sure be at par with your rivals and you will be one step ahead of the rest that do not have this feature.

One example of a BI tool that has surely caused a significant reduction in maintenance costs of modern companies nowadays is the SaaS software. If you use the SaaS software, there is no need to buy a hardware since you can download and install a licensed software online. Moreover, with SaaS software, business operations can be run directly straight from the Internet.

They must require minimum IT skills

The best BI tools must also be used by those that who even have only minimal knowledge of IT principles. Thus, if you want ideal BI tools that you can use for your business, you do not have to employ a group of scientists that specialize on data analysis. You can just delegate the responsibility to anyone in the company with basic IT skills. This way, you do not only save time and effort. You also save so much money that you would have used to pay for the high professional fees of people who are specially trained to do the job.

BI tools that require minimum IT skills consist of intuitive and easy to use software that has the usual drag and drop user interface and one that eliminates the need for a complicated scripting or coding process. These BI tools also offer you the flexibility of delivering multiple tasks across various departments without the need for further complications. Thus, data can easily be channeled from the marketing department to the finance or operations department and so on.

With minimum IT skills needed to operate, good BI tools must offer interoperability. This feature allows you to save significant costs by allowing you to deviate from the traditional use of specialist legacy products like GIS and web analytics. This feature also allows you to just deploy your software tools very easily within functional departments.

Moreover, your BI tools must be self-serving if they do not require high-level IT skills. Self-service BI tools make everything easy for the business user so they can easily control business operations and data analysis. Thus, as long as your vendor is expert and flexible in providing technical support for your team, then you should go for BI tools that are self-serving. They will radically improve your business operations as long as they are the right BI tools for the company.

They must be secure

Top business intelligence tools must be secure when it comes to data security and privacy. The right BI tools for your business must have features like data encryption, password complexity and access control mechanisms as well as other features in order to prevent any unauthorized access to the business. Without this level of security, then you can never trust the BI tool vendor that is offering you his products.

Most importantly, before making any purchase, try to make sure that you have read the fine print or terms of services of these BI tools so that you will not be surprised later on when trouble arises. Moreover, as long as the BI tools fit your standards when it comes to system monitoring, back up, recovery, and user access control, then you have something that you should buy for all reasons.

One more very important thing is that if you already have your BI tools purchased, you should be firm when it comes to data governance. Making business data accessible to just about anyone in the company is a very unwise thing to do. Protecting the company and your customers should be your number one priority. Thus, your BI system must also work hand in hand with the policies and legal obligations connected with the company’s level of data security.

They must come from unified data sources

Business data extracted from multiple sources will be difficult to analyze and will certainly make it hard for many business users as well as executives to be able to comprehend the whole picture. The solution to this problem is the use of good business intelligence software that provides unified sources for all data.

With an integrated dashboard that includes all business data derived from multiple sources, there is only one database destination. An ideal BI tool will therefore be able to crunch all relevant data completely into a unified whole in order to give you a clear and accurate picture of the business. Just make sure that your BI tool does not leave out any bits of this data when it processes it.

In fact, according to a popular professional service company, KPMG, around 55% or more than half of all business organizations are faced with difficulties and problems involving difficult decision making issues because of using multiple sources for data extraction and analysis.

When you have good business intelligence tools for your business, these BI tools will embed data or charts coming from multiple applications and will be able to support any database or platform available. Moreover, as more and more new databases arise, a good BI tool will have increase support for all databases. As your company expands you will be needing such BI tools. That is why even if your business uses only one database at present, purchasing a good BI tool with a broad database support will be good preparation in case you expand in the future.

If you have the right BI tools that your company can rely on, you will be able to improve not only your internal operations but also your overall competitive edge in the market. You should choose one that is affordable, and easy to use especially as it requires minimal IT skills. You should also choose one that has data encryption features and most of all, one that can integrate data coming from multiple sources. Check out for the list of the best business intelligence software to find out what is best suited for your business needs.

Jeev Trika

Jeev is an executive leader with successful experience building research portals which recommend the best products and services in various highly competitive verticals.

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