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What Is the Purpose of Business Intelligence in a Business?

Sisense: No. 1 BI Software

USER SATISFACTION 99%
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1. What Is the Purpose of Business Intelligence in a Business?

The main purpose of Business Intelligence in a business is to help corporate executives, business managers and other operational workers make better and more informed business decisions. Companies also use BI to cut costs, identify new business opportunities, and spot inefficient business processes ripe for re-engineering.

2. What Is Business Intelligence (BI)?

Business Intelligence (BI) refers to the tools, technologies, applications and practices used to collect, integrate, analyze, and present an organization’s raw data in order to create insightful and actionable business information. BI as a discipline and as a technology-driven process is made up of several related activities, including:

  1. Data mining
  2. Online analytical processing
  3. Querying
  4. Reporting

3. What Are the Benefits of Using Business Intelligence?

Since you’re already aware what is the purpose of Business Intelligence in a business it’s worth tackling the question of what are its main benefits. The potential benefits of business intelligence programs include:

  1. Accelerating and improving decision making
  2. Optimizing internal business processes
  3. Increasing operational efficiency
  4. Driving new revenues
  5. Gaining competitive advantages over business rivals.
  6. Identifying market trends
  7. Spotting business problems that need to be addressed

4. Why Should You Use Business Intelligence Systems and Tools?

Business intelligence tools are essentially data-driven Decision Support Systems (DSS). BI is sometimes used interchangeably with briefing books, report and query tools and executive information systems. With these tools, business people can start analyzing the data themselves, rather than wait for IT to run complex reports. This information access helps users back up business decisions with hard numbers, rather than only gut feelings and anecdotes.

5. How Does Software Tools Optimize Business Intelligence?

Business Intelligence software systems provide historical, current, and predictive views of business operations, most often using data that has been gathered into a data warehouse or a data mart and occasionally working from operational data. Software elements support reporting, interactive “slice-and-dice” pivot-table analyses, visualization, and statistical data mining. Applications tackle sales, production, financial, and many other sources of business data for purposes that include business performance management. Information is often gathered about other companies in the same industry which is known as benchmarking.

business intelligence

What Are Examples of Business Intelligence Software Solutions?

Sisense

Sisense is a business intelligence platform that lets users join, analyze, and picture out information they require to make better and more intelligent business decisions and craft out workable plans and strategies.

Sisense currently occupies one of the highest spots on our list of top 10 business intelligence apps. After a thorough analysis of its features, our software review experts concluded that this business intelligence solution gives you one of the easiest ways to create insights and business value from complex data. You can read their detailed review of Sisense, discussing its features, pricing and user experience at length.

This award is given to the best product in our business intelligence software category. It highlights its superior quality and underlines the fact that it's a leader on the market.
USER SATISFACTION 99%
OUR SCORE 9.7
Sisense won our Best BI Software of 2018 Award

The vendor also offers a great free trial plan that lets you try out all the key features first. You can easily sign up for Sisense free trial here.

With Sisense, users can unify all the data they ever need and want into visually appealing dashboards via a drag and drop user interface. Sisense basically allows users to turn data into highly valuable insights and then share them with colleagues, business partners, and clients via interactive dashboards.

Sisense is the leading business intelligence software for many companies, ranging from startups and developing enterprises to Fortune 500 giants including eBay, Sony, ESPN, Comcast, and NASA.

You can also take a look at various Sisense alternatives covered in our other article.

Looker

Looker is a data platform with insights for every department. It’s a data-discovery app that provides an intuitive approach to data exploration. It offers a web-based interface that business users can utilize to tap into the expertise of their data analytics team.

They can build and share reports on the fly, so other functional groups can benefit from the questions they’re asking and the knowledge they’ve created. Thus, Looker can help all companies use data to drive their business decisions and activities in the right direction.

With a little bit of SQL knowledge, you won’t have any issues making Looker work for you or building your own analytic modules. You can design visualizations with a single code, as complexity depends only on how far you intend to go to refine you experience.

Looker’s ML code is there to help you produce and optimize your queries, which is particularly handy as most BI systems expect you to be an expert in the area.

The vendor offers a free demo where you can examine all the crucial features of the software. You can easily request Looker demo here.

Domo

Domo is one modern platform to run your entire business. It’s a great self-service business intelligence (BI) tool that offers the widest data set and connector support among the tools we tested, and delivers a unique set of social collaboration features.

It is a powerful and reliable cloud-based operating system created to help businesses find effective and viable solutions to today’s most pervasive business challenges.

Domo gives decision-makers the ability to view real-time data in a single dashboard. Its interface, dashboard widgets, and displays are appealing, and the incorporation of creative data displays such as multi-part widgets, sparklines, and trend indicators also make their dashboard widgets very useful.

What users are mostly fond of, though, is how easy it is to use it, and requires little tech know-how and a low learning curve.

Cyfe

Cyfe is an all-in-one online business dashboard that helps users monitor and analyze data scattered across all their online services like Google Analytics and Salesforce.

You can use Cyfe to offer intelligent, robust dashboards to your employees and clients, and observe the full picture of your business trends and overall health.

Cyfe dashboards can help to keep your clients in the loop and enable them to view data in real time. This means you can cut down on the reports you send to your clients, and share information in an instant and secure way.

The plus points of Cyfe include a good amount of data sources, affordable pricing and value for money, top rate customization options for dashboards, CSV and Excel data dashboards, and unlimited users.

The pricing scheme is flexible, and includes even a lifetime free package for small companies and startup users.

KISSmetrics

KISSmetrics is a powerful business intelligence platform to help you understand what people are doing on your website and products, and deliver behavior-based emails to engage them every step of the way. Users can determine, monitor, and enhance the metrics and other elements significant to the success of their businesses.

With such information turned into actionable insights, KISSmetrics has what it takes to help you create marketing strategies and improve existing marketing practices, but due to its advanced customer tracking & analyzing capacity, you will also get to use it as your advanced conversion rate optimizer.

Unlike what you’d expect from a tool combining similar features, KISSmetrics’ pricing is quite flexible, and made accessible even to startups and small businesses.

In short, KISSmetrics boasts highly flexible custom data plus an API that is very simple to connect. Experts laud KISSmetrics’ structure as it focuses on people, tracking customer trends and shifts, and providing users with useful interpretations of their business health.

Thanks to it, they make smarter business decisions and benefit significantly from market’s opportunities, while simultaneously preserving a solid, professional reputation in the eyes of their clients.

Visualr

Visualr is a state-of-the-art data visualization solution that turns your data into comprehensible and graphical images to help you convey your message, emphasize your point, and show what you are talking about through “the language the eye”.

Through Visualr, you can link to multiple sources of data including S Excel, My SQL, MS SQL, Oracle or even Flat File databases instantly and collect all the data you need or want to visualize. The software is also capable of gathering information from API Data Providers like Twitter and Google Analytics and build attractive dashboards accordingly so you can communicate your thoughts graphically and effectively.

Indicative

Indicative is an intuitive business intelligence tool designed to assist companies in optimizing their operations. It links to customer data sources, amalgamates them into a clear overview of customer manners, and provides actionable intelligence to enable companies to expand.

With Indicative, businesses can ask questions regarding their customers without limits. This allows them to gain a full understanding of their target consumers so that they can build strategies optimized by useful insights.

Furthermore, Indicative understands that customers do not take one straight path to conversion. That is why the application has tools that let businesses follow the same routes as their customers take for a deeper knowledge of customer behavior.

StarBI

StarBI

StarBI is a self-service business intelligence platform that enables enterprises and organization to spot trends, monitor KPIs and visualize data. The software lets users link to various sources of data, generate and schedule reports, set notifications and run predictive analytics with its intuitive drag-and-drop graphical user interface.

As a Self-Service solution, StarBI gives empowerment to its Business users by enabling them to convert high-value data into actionable insights and help organizations make smarter business decisions and take decisive steps to steer their business to success. StarBI capabilities include data sourcing, Report and Dashboard designing, on-demand/schedule delivery, and flexible application deployment models.

Centro

Centro is an Enterprise Information Management (EIM) software developed for discrete manufacturers allowing them to integrate multiple line-of-business systems such as ERP, PDM, and CAD. This creates a singular and unified view of all their product information and takes out information silos that hamper rapid access, retrieval, and optimal utilization of data.

Centro helps users discover business insights and effortlessly share engineering-type data by taking the usual obstacles and challenges out of the picture. The software provides users with the capabilities and tools to make their product data management processes more effective than ever. Seeking and finding critical information at the right time is effortless and quick. With Centro, users are empowered to perform their own investigation and analysis as enterprise data and powerful tools are now placed at their hands.

ReportPlus

ReportPlus is data visualization software built for enterprises and can be deployed on-premise or via a private cloud. This is a self-service business intelligence software designed with accessibility and ease of use, allowing users to create, edit, and share their dashboards within a few clicks without IT assistance. Its drag-and-drop functionality and fuss-free touch-enabled swiping to switch among a wide selection of visualization types makes it easy to create vivid visualizations on any device. On-the-go accessibility ensures that even field employees are equipped with up to date and real-time information at all times.

ReportPlus can be utilized by various types of industries. This includes businesses under finance, insurance, marketing, manufacturing, operations, retail, and sales. Real-time data can be accessed and connected through integrations with various third-party applications such as Google Drive, Salesforce, Oracle, Microsoft Excel, SharePoint, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Twitter, Facebook, Google Analytics, and much more.

DataDeck

DataDeck procures essential data to your business and presents them all in a dashboard that’s easily accessible by all concerned individuals and departments. By gathering all data from various sources onto a single platform, you can quickly merge common fields and identify the key strengths and issues of your business operations. Essentially, you no longer have to burden yourself from data crunching to reconcile your numbers. On top of that, DataDeck presents data through pleasing visualizations that makes it easy to understand the meaning behind your figures.

With DataDeck, you are well-equipped with actionable insights that can steer your business to success. You can also create and share a unique dashboard with your own clients so they can easily gain access to important metrics and indicators.

Hevo Data

Hevo Data is a data integration platform designed to connect to multiple data sources and load all information on any data warehouse, thus centralizing all data for a single source of truth. It is capable of connecting to any source and application, including SaaS solutions, marketing systems, SDKS, and much more. This is all possible without deep technical knowledge in coding and scripts.

With Hevo Data, businesses and organizations no longer have to worry about accessing outdated content. The platform automatically syncs data across all systems, thus ensuring users have access to the latest data at all times. Because all data is centralized, users also benefit from easy access to essential information, reliable real-time data and analytics, and complete visibility and management over all their data.

CloudSqueeze

CloudSqueeze is mainly designed for DevOps and SysAdmins that are looking to pinpoint operational anomalies and issues in their AWS cloud. This spend monitoring and optimization solution enables users to conduct a thorough analysis on their cloud infrastructure to gain a comprehensive understanding on how to optimize their operational efficiency. By crunching and slicing and dicing data, CloudSqueeze is able to give suggestions on how to optimize your resources

The platform handles all the grunt work in gathering and analyzing data. It leverages powerful business intelligence algorithms to quickly dive deep through stacks of cloud logs to provide you with the insights you need.

7. Who Should Lead the Way in Implementing Business Intelligence?

Sharing is vital to the success of BI projects, because everyone involved in the process must have full access to information to be able to change the ways that they work. BI projects should start with top executives, but the next group of users should be salespeople. Because their job is to increase sales and because they’re often compensated on their ability to do so, they’ll be more likely to embrace any tool that will help them do just that—provided, of course, the tool is easy to use and they trust the information.

With the help of BI systems, employees modify their individual and team work practices, which leads to improved performance among the sales teams. When sales executives see a big difference in performance from one team to another, they work to bring the laggard teams up to the level of the leaders.

Once you get salespeople on board, you can use them to help get the rest of your organization on the BI bandwagon. They’ll serve as evangelists, gushing about the power of the tools and how BI is improving their lives.

8. How Should I Implement a Business Intelligence System?

When charting a course for BI, companies should first analyze the way they make decisions and consider the information that executives need to facilitate more confident and more rapid decision-making, as well as how they’d like that information presented to them (for example, as a report, a chart, online, hard copy). Discussions of decision making will drive what information companies need to collect, analyze and publish in their BI systems.

Good BI systems need to give context. It’s not enough that they report sales were X yesterday and Y a year ago that same day. They need to explain what factors influencing the business caused sales to be X one day and Y on the same date the previous year.

Like so many technology projects, BI won’t yield returns if users feel threatened by, or are skeptical of, the technology and refuse to use it as a result. And when it comes to something like BI, which, when implemented strategically, ought to fundamentally change how companies operate and how people make decisions, CIOs need to be extra attentive to users’ feelings.

9. How To Efficiently Roll out Business Intelligence Systems?

  1. Make sure your data is clean.
  2. Train users effectively.
  3. Deploy quickly, then adjust as you go. Don’t spend a huge amount of time up front developing the “perfect” reports because needs will evolve as the business evolves. Deliver reports that provide the most value quickly, and then tweak them.
  4. Take an integrated approach to building your data warehouse from the beginning. Make sure you’re not locking yourself into an unworkable data strategy further down the road.
  5. Define ROI clearly before you start. Outline the specific benefits you expect to achieve, then do a reality check every quarter or six months.
  6. Focus on business objectives.
  7. Don’t buy business intelligence software because you think you need it. Deploy BI with the idea that there are numbers out there that you need to find, and know roughly where they might be.

10. What Are Potential Business Intelligence Problems?

  1. User resistance — Implementations can be dogged by cultural challenges.
  2. Irrelevant and poor quality data — To get accurate insights, you must have standard data. Get your data in good working order before extracting and acting on insights.
  3. BI tools — The core of BI is reporting, not process management. Be careful not to confuse business intelligence with business analytics.
  4. Companies don’t understand their business processes well enough — Strive to understand all the activities that make up a particular business process before starting a BI project.

11. How To Choose The Best Business Intelligence Software?

  1. Analyze how executives make decisions.
  2. Consider what information executives need in order to facilitate quick, accurate decisions.
  3. Pay attention to data quality.
  4. Devise performance metrics that are most relevant to the business.
  5. Provide the context that influences performance metrics.

Remember, BI is about more than decision support. Due to improvements in the technology and the way CIOs are implementing it, BI now has the potential to transform organizations. CIOs who successfully use BI to improve business processes contribute to their organizations in more far-reaching ways than by implementing basic reporting tools.

12. What Are the Latest Trends in Business Intelligence?

The following are three of the latest trends in the Business Intelligence field:

  • The Integration of Data and Content — Currently organizations are starting to see that data and content should not be considered separate aspects of information management, but instead should be managed in an integrated enterprise approach. Enterprise information management brings Business Intelligence and Enterprise Content Management together.
  • Operational Business Intelligence — Currently organizations are moving towards Operational Business Intelligence which is currently under served and uncontested by vendors. Traditionally, Business Intelligence vendors are targeting only top the pyramid but now there is a paradigm shift moving toward taking Business Intelligence to the bottom of the pyramid with a focus of self-service business intelligence (SSBI).
  • Embedded and Conversational Business IntelligenceThis is not just ordinary reporting BI software, but advanced integrated reporting and analytics.
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