Business intelligence (BI), if done right, can have a significantly positive impact on your organization. BI can enable faster decision-making and improved collaboration across teams; it can uncover insights about your customers, current processes, and how to work more efficiently. It can also help you save valuable budget dollars or even reveal new ways to make your businesses more profitable — not to mention improve your employees’ productivity, engagement, and job satisfaction.
So, how do you ensure your organization reaps every benefit it can from BI? You’ll need to do your due diligence to find the right BI solution for your business and make sure it has what it takes to help your company achieve its unique goals.
Read on to learn about the four key considerations to keep in mind when looking for when selecting the best BI tool for your business.
Flexibility and Scalability
Innovations in technology can happen quickly, so making sure your solution can adjust for future needs is critical. With an eye to the future, determine if the BI solution is flexible enough to accommodate various data requirements beyond your current use cases.
From a technical standpoint, consider your number of users, how many queries they make, and the number of data sources you currently use. And don’t forget to think about what your needs might look like in the future to ensure the solution can support a growing number of users and queries without overloading your network.
Also, while your BI tool needs to be able to adjust as your data requirements evolve, it is also important to find a solution that is not going to break the bank if you have to make adjustments to your plan down the road. Make sure to read the fine print of your contract for any hidden transaction fees associated with expanding your company’s access to data sources or acquiring additional reporting functionality.
One of the most important things to look for in a BI tool is the ease of connecting to the multiple data sources and systems your company uses — and those you may use in the future. In other words, without access to your company’s key data, your BI tool won’t do you much good. And the more data sources your platform can connect to, the more useful and reliable the insights will be. Ideally, you want your BI tools and other platforms to work hand in hand for optimal efficiency and productivity. IT managers will need to explore various ways to connect data sources, whether that’s via ETL, ELT, or a hybrid of the two. You might also consider storing data in a data mart or warehouse for streamlined data integration.
Make sure the data your BI tools processes and the insights they produce fit the wide variety of use cases across your organization. You’ll want to align your needs with the capabilities of the tool. For example, do your teams need to create detailed graphics and charts with your data? If the answer is yes, be sure to choose a BI tool that offers robust data visualization functionality.
As you research various BI tools, you may discover capabilities you didn’t even know existed but would be beneficial to your business. Other data delivery capabilities can include the development of real-time dashboards, the option to collaborate on reporting across teams, and the ability to download query results in various formats.
It’s also critical to consider your end user. Some tools are easier to navigate than others, so depending on the complexity of your solution, you should assess your employees’ technical knowledge and data literacy skills to understand how much training will be needed for a successful rollout. The shorter the learning curve, the better the chance of greater adoption and usage company-wide. It’s also a good idea to take a look at what access users will have to a support team or help desk for your BI tool, in addition to knowing what training materials will be made available.
If you are shifting from a legacy platform to a new BI solution, a smooth migration process can help your organization make the transition faster, in addition to saving valuable IT dollars. Before you migrate, complete an audit of your organization’s existing data sources. Chances are there are some dated platforms and tools that can be weeded out before migration.
In addition to assessing your data sources, you’ll want to take a fresh look at the reports your teams are currently running. Are they still beneficial to achieving your company’s core initiatives? Are there dashboards or automated reports your company can refine — or even live without? Taking the time to take stock of your data and how you use it will help you prioritize and streamline what gets migrated to the new tool. Plus, connecting only to the critical data sources your company needs will help cut the clutter of less useful data, leading to more powerful insights in the long run.
Interested in exploring the best BI tools for your business? Atos / Maven Wave can help. Contact us to learn more about our innovative solutions.
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