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Published June 26th, 2016 by

Understanding the Benefits of Using Business Intelligence Tools

Understanding the Benefits of Using Business Intelligence ToolsBusiness Intelligence (BI) is crucial to the improvement of companies as this can aid business leaders in making the right decisions no matter what branch or department is in question. The proper and efficient use of BI tools can also help in cutting costs, discovering new business opportunities, determining a company’s strengths, and highlighting weaknesses that need better solutions. There are many business intelligence styles that can serve various purposes and needs.  There are guided and self-service forms of BI that can be used with or without IT assistance respectively.

Business intelligence refers to various computer-based applications or software that perform many different functions such as the analysis, processing, management, and distribution of raw data. It is also characterized by a number of related activities that include analysis, reporting, user-defined searches, data mining, data visualization, and online analytical processing (OLAP) to name a few.

What are business intelligence tools?

There are various BI tools available in the market, which can be used by various types of companies to improve their business or organization’s overall performance. Top BI tools can be used to process, categorize, and analyse all of the unstructured data found on the web. It can keep track of group and individual accomplishments, project progress, and even back-up or record previous business decisions that can be accessed for further use, even by other business end-users.

Business Intelligence tools can come in the form of software with analytic, complex computing, and data processing functions that make managing raw or unstructured data much easier and faster. There are three major business intelligence categories that you can get familiar with. Find out what each category brings to the table and how your company can benefit from them.

3 Major Business Intelligence Categories

1) Guided Business Intelligence

Guided BI entails the assistance of IT companies to help users get the right data. It is the easier and traditional route when it comes to handling analytics, as there are many easy-to-use applications that users can utilize without having to deal with complicated codes and procedures. The term itself suggests that the process of handling and managing data will be a guided process between two entities, in this case the IT  company and the business involved. In most cases, the company or user will send a business-related query through any type of guided business intelligence software, and it will be processed accordingly. The IT company should be able to provide results in the form of data visualization or other forms of data from varied sources to fully satisfy the requirements of the company. But because this guided analytics, the end-user will not be able to create or manipulate their own data sources and visualizations.

Business intelligence tools and software under this category include business intelligence dashboard software, performance scorecards, search-based apps, corporate performance management, and spreadsheet add-ins.

2) Self-Service Business Intelligence
Unlike guided analytics and reporting, self-service BI does not require IT assistance. End-users can actually access, create, and manipulate data gathered by creating their own business intelligence applications. Available BI tools under this category are ad hoc analysis and reporting, OLAP, data discovery and visualization. These tools allow end-users to publish their own applications and results. They can also get personalized access to various dashboards and specific data related to their queries or business concerns.

Most of these tools are being utilized by analysts, especially those working in finance and other industries that require forecasting and planning. Unlike guided analysis that makes use of pre-set metrics, those who choose self-service BI have more advantage as they can add and customize data, as well as create new metrics without having to rely on IT assistance.

3) Advanced Analytics

This third category goes beyond the usual tools that data developers use to create business intelligence models. Here, we see the use of data mining techniques, predictive analytics, big data analytics software, and statistical modelling. Because this is a complex category, and a great deal of raw data is processed here, data developers also spend a huge amount of time handling data cleansing, consumption, and assimilation.

What can BI tools do for my business?

Business intelligence software can do a variety of things for a business no matter what nature or industry it is in. As long as we are on the page of gathering and analyzing valuable data that can affect the company’s growth and performance, then it is safe to say that all businesses can gain something from making use of services and products specifically created by business intelligence software companies.

Many fast food chains and sporting teams make use of business intelligence to further improve on their team’s strengths and weaknesses. BI software and tools can reveal a great deal about customers, product reviews, audience reception, team performance, as well as employee input and output, and the like. It can monitor movement within a company, predict highs and lows, and help foresee how certain changes will affect the business as a whole.  This gives business owners time to create contingency plans to better prepare their companies in case of unforeseen events. This can also help them examine current business plans and strategies, and easily rule out those that need to be changed, or those that are in need of serious restructuring or improvements.

As company owners, business intelligence tools and software can also allow them to access a wide range of data, especially those that will allow them to improve branding, products, services, marketing campaigns, business strategies, and the like. Basically, business intelligence gives businesses an in-depth look at what really needs to be done for and within the company. BI tools make it easier to gather and process essential data without having to the legwork.

The top BI tools in the market have functions that make it easier to handle complex analysis and calculations. Interpreting said data becomes less complicated because of spreadsheet integration and data visualization functions that make use of visual tools such as charts, tables, maps, and graphs to help identify patterns and trends at any given time.

To know even more about what specific BI tools or software can do for your business, you can also read legitimate reviews like those found on Crowdreviews.com. Not only you will be able to discover the features of various products, you will also be able to gauge how the product is holding up in the market. Business intelligence software reviews will reveal first-hand customer experiences, success stories, and failures that could eventually help you find the right BI tool for your company. According to Crowdreviews.com, the top 5 business intelligence software, based on customer reviews are Phocas Software, QlikView, Insightsquared, Tableau, and Gooddata. You can check out these BI tools reviews to know if any of these are a good fit for your BI needs.

Does my company need BI tools?

As mentioned earlier, any company can take advantage of business intelligence. Although not every tool will suit the nature of your business, there will always be one or two that will fit the bill depending on your requirements. Whether you’re a small, mid-sized or large-scale company, there will definitely be certain areas in your business that might need the help of business intelligence. If you know your company and employees need work on increasing productivity and efficiency, then it is definitely the right time to search for the best business intelligence software in the market.

It is best to watch out for specific scenarios that may require business intelligence tools. As company owners and business leaders, it is important to be sensitive to the changes in your business and the business landscape in general. Business intelligence opens opportunities to address specific concerns such as: a) the need to increase access and visibility into the goings-on in the company especially in terms of operations and finances, b) the need to access essential data more efficiently, and c) the release of new products and services, to name a few.

It is important to check the issues within your departments and your company’s performance as a whole if there are weak points that need to be worked on. If there is more room to grow, then by all means, pick a BI tool or software from the list of top business intelligence software so that you know you are picking something that is effective and reliable.

Truly, there are many benefits to gain when using business intelligence tools and software. You can do a business intelligence software comparison among the most-recommended products found on Crowdreviews.com. Also, don’t forget to take into consideration real customer reviews as these are honest accounts of what you can expect from a certain software or product. It is important to do your research; list down the pros and cons of the best BI software available before finally making a decision. Just make sure to note that whatever route you decide for your business, whether guided or self-service BI, or none at all, it will definitely affect the growth of your company no matter what you choose.

Crowdreviews.com’s list of the best business intelligence software in the market will definitely make deciding easier, so visit their site today to start changing your business for the better.

Keith Moore

Keith Moore has worked with several leading Android development agencies to build customized mobile apps enabling businesses to extend the use of their services to smart phones and mobile devices.

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