Business Intelligence 3: Searching for the Right BI Tool

In our previous article, we discussed what to plan for when implementing business intelligence (BI). Some of the issues to consider were the quantity vs. quality of data as well as determining who owns the data within your organization. We also discussed the process of connecting your BI data with your ERP and other applications before finally going over some long-term considerations to keep in mind.

Now that your organization has its BI implementation plan all mapped out, it’s time to look for the right BI tool!

What to look for in a business intelligence software

Not all BI software is created equally. There are numerous options available on the market, and it can be tricky to find the right one for your organization.

There are two main features of a BI software you need to consider before committing: extraction and presentation.

Extraction

Extracting data from your ERP software and other applications can certainly be done manually, but that is extremely inefficient and prone to human error. A BI software will automatically extract that data for you and then export it into a more convenient format. It is even possible that the tool could just point to the source data and not even have to extract it. BI data extraction is integral to understanding your customer base, tracking sales, and determining marketing strategies, as well as giving you a firm grasp on your financial situation and budgetary constraints. As such, it’s imperative that you and your team tell your BI implementation partner exactly what things you want to track.

Presentation

BI data presentation is the process of taking the data you’ve extracted and converting it into a format that can be easily understood and used by business decision-makers. BI softwares generally present data through: visualizations, dashboards, and reports. Visualization tools help transform complex data sets into graphical formats that are easier to understand. Furthermore, dashboards provide an overview of key metrics and KPIs, while reports offer more detailed insights into specific areas of interest. By ensuring that BI data presentation is done correctly, you can make better use of your data and, thus, improve your decision-making processes.

How do you find the right partner to implement your BI software?

When looking for a BI software partner, look for someone who understands your business and can provide the right support.

The first step is to identify your needs and objectives. What do you want to accomplish with your BI? Are you trying to improve your customer service ratings? Are you looking to decrease operational costs wherever possible? Take some time with your team to determine exactly what your goals are and how your BI tool should support you.

Once you know what you’re looking for, you can start searching for a BI software partner. Look for companies that have experience in your industry and with the type of data you’re dealing with. It’s also important to consider the size of the company and its resources. You want to make sure they have the ability to support your project from start to finish. Finally, you’ll want to consider the price. A BI implementation can be expensive, so you’ll want to find a partner that can offer a competitive price without sacrificing quality or service.

What’s the best way to implement a BI project?

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of how best to implement a business intelligence project. The most important thing is to tailor your approach to the specific needs and constraints of your organization. With that said, there are some general principles that can guide you in developing an effective BI implementation strategy.

First, it’s important to get buy-in from all stakeholders. This means getting everyone on board with the project from the beginning and ensuring that they understand its purpose. If your team is not 100% behind your BI project implementation, more than likely, it’s going to fail.

Next, as we’ve already discussed, you need to have a clear understanding of your goals and objectives.

Thirdly, you need to put together a team of expert BI professionals. This team should include experts in data analytics, data visualization, and database management.

Finally, you need to create a detailed plan that outlines each phase of the implementation process as well as identifying which data sources will be used and how they will be analyzed. We suggest that you start small and learn how best to utilize BI effectively and then build upon that.

By following these guidelines, you can increase the chances of success for your BI project.

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This was the final chapter of our three-part series on Business Intelligence. You can check out part one here and part two here. As always, we look forward to your comments and feedback.

If you’re ready to consider a Business Intelligence software implementation and strategy, we invite you to learn more by contacting us at sales@ctrworld.com and letting us know what your needs and concerns are.