Business intelligence (BI) tools are powerful platforms that can drive organizations with data insights. But when looking for the right one for your organization, don’t assume that all options offer the same benefits. Many will have similar core features—like visualizations, reporting, and dashboards—but they vary greatly once you move beyond.
For example, some business intelligence software might integrate well with your company’s existing data strategy, while others would require additional data integration solutions in order to function optimally. This type of consideration is why you should thoroughly evaluate multiple BI tools based on your specific needs before choosing the one that would create the most value for your organization.
Below are the top 10 considerations when you’re picking a BI tool.
1. How Responsive Is The Platform?
A BI tool should offer the type of performance that enhances the output of users through a fast and responsive platform. To act quickly on real-time data, that data needs to be made available on demand. If users have to wait on reports to be generated or analyses to be completed, that will detract from the overall usefulness of the tool.
2. Can You Identify Hidden Patterns By Visually Exploring Your Data?
When users can view the data visually along with real-time visual feedback, it allows more in-depth exploration and identification of hidden patterns. The BI tool should also provide this capability without requiring additional programming or coding, so that users can perform in-depth visual explorations of the data from a single user-friendly interface.
3. Is Automated Reporting Included?
Data accessibility is important, and one feature that enhances accessibility is automated reporting or notifications. Users can set up specific reports to be sent at regular intervals; for example, a sales manager could receive revenue reports for the previous week’s sales every Monday morning. They could also opt in to get notifications, such as getting an email when a sale is closed. It ensures that all users are accessing up-to-date information, which supports data integrity within the organization.
4. Can It Integrate With Current Data Strategies?
Top BI tools have a platform-agnostic, multi-cloud architecture, so that they can seamlessly integrate with an organization’s existing data strategy. Whether it gets deployed from on-premise storage, from the cloud, or from a combination of both, it shouldn’t require the company to reorganize their data strategies. The tool should also be compatible with the organization’s enterprise portals and applications, which will enable users to access it wherever they are. A good BI tool will have optimized native connections with business data to allow quick analysis and fast decision-making.
5. Does It Have A Native Mobile App?
The modern workforce is distributed and mobile, and they need the BI tools they’re working with to match their pace. Users should be able to explore trends and connections in real-time data even when they’re offline, as well as receive push notifications via integrated alerting. This enables them to increase productivity and stay connected with the data and with other users.
6. Will Additional Costs Be Involved?
Aside from the list price, business intelligence tools may involve extra costs. Do some digging to understand the total cost of ownership (TCO). This could include expenses for training, maintenance, infrastructure, hardware, or software. If a BI tool will need complementary software or if costs rise quickly as you scale up, it may not be the best choice for your company.
7. Does It Serve The Needs Of Key Users?
BI tools offer capabilities that can serve many different purposes. They can be utilized by managers, executives, data scientists, clients, partners, and even customers. A single tool won’t be flexible enough to meet the requirements of every user, though; this is why you should consider which users will have the greatest impact within the organization, and choose a BI tool that will be most helpful for them specifically.
8. How Does It Drive The Organization Towards Its Goals?
Before choosing a BI tool, it’s vital to determine what the organization should achieve digitally with the platform. Once that’s established, you’ll know which criteria to prioritize when selecting a business intelligence tool. For example, some companies want to embed the platform into user workflows to democratize access to analytics and data.
Other companies require a platform with augmented analytics that produces data-driven decisions. When considering the options, you have to know not only which BI tools are best overall, but which ones are best for your organization.
9. How Robust Are Its Data Governance Capabilities?
Data literacy and data integrity are key for any company that utilizes a BI tool, and this is made possible through well-defined data governance capabilities. These capabilities ensure that the data gets used correctly, maintaining data quality throughout the organization. With defined roles, policies, processes, and tools, the data gets administered in a way that allows easy sharing and use of trustworthy datasets. Robust data governance means that the data is no longer administered by an IT team, so accessing data is faster for all users as well.
10. Will It Digitally Transform The Company?
As you consider various BI tools, one of your main concerns might be confirming that it offers the right features and capabilities. The Gartner Magic Quadrant BI report is a respected independent evaluation. But it’s also important to think about how these capabilities will change your company digitally by building a foundation for long-term transformation and data literacy among users.
Factors that will influence this foundation include clearly defined data governance, easy data access, and broad deployment options. If these criteria are met by a BI tool, it’s a strong candidate.
The top business intelligence tools like PowerBI, Qlik Sense, and Tableau all have something different to offer, so careful research is needed to ensure that you end up with the right platform for users and for your business. If you establish clear criteria based on the needs of the company, you’ll be able to identify the best BI tool that can drive value for your organization.
If you are interested in even more business-related articles and information from us here at Bit Rebels, then we have a lot to choose from.