In today’s business world, the creation of strategy and decision-making processes are most often based on hard data, rather than the intuition of managers, which is made possible through Business Intelligence tools. The implementation of Business Intelligence solutions allows you to increase the effectiveness of your work and the company’s competitiveness on the market. However; it is important to adapt analytical solutions to the particular needs of your organization.

Business activities are connected with the constant generation of huge volumes of data in which information about processes occurring in the company, the level of services and products, customer satisfaction, the viability of the project, income structure and many other indicators are concealed, the knowledge of which is essential for effective management. It is important to get such information at the right time, understand it and use it properly.

The capabilities of Business Intelligence tools

Business Intelligence system tools are useful in every organization, regardless of its size and business activity. Here are a few of them:

  • Dynamic analyses enabling the extraction of information straight from the data warehouse – on an ongoing basis, without the need to involve the IT department. This means that making business decisions is a faster and easier process.
  • Dashboards presenting data using interactive objects, charts, and diagrams. They facilitate access to reports with the company’s actual results presented in readable form.
  • Analyzing data from throughout the company from dispersed sources.
  • Storage of ordered data in a data warehouse in a unified format.
  • User independence when creating analyses, i.e. a self-service function.
  • Integration with systems that the company already has, such as ERP, accounting, e-commerce or warehouse management systems, which allows users to extend their possibilities to include the generation of reports and data analysis. In this way, we can see how the organization is functioning.
  • Data drilling (data mining), which makes reports more detailed.
  • Analysis of historical regularities and prediction of future trends.

Benefits of data analysis

Properly conducted data analysis is the key to receiving high-quality information about the company’s operations. Such information can be used to improve processes, products and services based on the results of trend analysis, employee productivity, as well as sales and financial reports.

The most popular Business Intelligence tools are listed below.

Popular Business Intelligence tools

QlikView

A Business Intelligence tool known for its speed and the ability to work with any data source. In hybrid environments, it is usually responsible for the data loading layer, and can successfully replace a traditional data warehouse. The system has advanced customization functions, which means it can be a source of reports in which the analytical space can be planned to an accuracy of one pixel. Its broad spectrum of possibilities includes the analysis of trends, as well as the teamwork function in creating and analyzing reports.

Qlik Sense

A self-service tool that can be used independently by employees without the need to engage the IT department. It is a perfect complement to QlikView in hybrid environments; in addition, it can be successfully used as a basic data analysis tool. Qlik Sense is characterized by a short report load time and an immediate response to the filters selected by the user. It has a convenient drag & drop function and a modern design that allows you to create responsive dashboards which can be displayed on the computer, tablet or smartphone screen. Additionally, on iOS devices, it is possible to use the native application provided by Qlik.

Microsoft Business Intelligence (MS BI)

A self-service platform based on SQL Server. It can be extended by additional systems, such as SharePoint Server, Microsoft Excel or Power BI. It works perfectly in large organizations, not only due to integration with Office programs, but also because of the ability to deliver reports in different formats, as well as at the right time thanks to schedules. As with Qlik products, MS Business Intelligence has the ability to perform predictive analyses. Added to this, the MS Business Intelligence platform comes with a database server on which you can build a data warehouse. The platform also enables Big Data analysis and mobile access from any device.

Microsoft Power BI

Microsoft Power BI connects and integrates with the Azure cloud platform, and is a self-service solution that anyone can handle. In Power BI, reports and dashboards look modern and are available on all devices; you can also manage their recipients. Data for reports is collected from various sources to create multidimensional data models, making it possible to conduct real-time analyses. Furthermore, you can complete them with your own elements and then create an interactive presentation of results.

Tableau

This is another self-service tool with a drag & drop function that enables the creation of management visualizations and dashboards. The system is simple and intuitive to use, and allows you to sort data, filter results and to drill down data.

Summary

As you can see, there are several solutions that make data analysis in your company much easier. Before implementing the tool, you should consider what your expectations and needs in terms of data analysis are – do you need a complex analytical tool that will cover all departments, or maybe a few basic visualizations that will indicate the most important trends in the company?

At the beginning, it is worth trying one or several of the above solutions – especially because a few of them offer free versions. After several months of regularly using Business Intelligence tools, you will see how much information you have missed in the past. The implementation of certain changes or testing of new strategies might be the starting point for the use of data for process management in your organization.

Read more about Implementation of a Business Intelligence system.

Author:
Senior Business Intelligence Specialist & Technical Leader

A certified expert with experience in Microsoft Business Intelligence tools, whose work includes the stages of designing and implementing reporting solutions based on a data warehouse and OLAP database. Privately, she is a traveler and a lover of many sports, including road & mountain bike riding, running marathons, swimming and mountaineering.

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