Business intelligence is no longer a term only associated with large organizations. As the price of hardware and storage drops, business intelligence technology is advancing with flexible deployment and licensing options that are easily available—rendering Business intelligence in reach for almost every organization. So the question becomes: Does your company need a Business Intelligence tool?
You have data, but no real information
While organizations have become masters of collecting data, they seem to be forgetting that data is not the same as information. Information is data that has been converted into a meaningful and useful context ready for onlookers to harvest insights. If you’re lacking information, you may need help aggregating and analyzing data into actionable information, and this is where the ‘intelligence’ of a Business Intelligence tool enters the picture. The power of business intelligence is that it increases the ability to identify trends and issues, uncover new insights, and fine-tune operations to meet business goals—the value everyone’s been looking for by collecting the data in the first place.
IT has become a bottleneck when you need a report
If your IT department controls all company data, getting reports may start to become cumbersome. Creating reports without Business Intelligence software, especially complex reports or dashboards, requires someone with a rich technical background and therefore forces all non-technical users to be reliant on IT.
When you need to repeatedly return to IT to tweak and edit reports, eventually they’ll become a bottleneck to getting your work done, and that’s a clear sign it’s time to bring the data to the people in the organization who actually benefit from analyzing data to meet business goals—the business users. Any solid BI tool with a clean, intuitive UI will allow business users to build their own reports as well as have the flexibility to add or tweak any BI dashboard.
Your Business Intelligence relies on spreadsheets, but your data is BIG
One of the first growing pains companies experience is when they hit Excel’s scalability wall. Excel is often used as the lifeblood of a company’s reporting needs, but Excel can become sluggish when reports contain more data than Excel was designed to handle. In a growing business, it doesn’t take long to accumulate data far beyond Excels capacity, even if you dutifully clean and manage your data sets. All you’ll be left to work with are desktop spreadsheets that are siloed and don’t enable real-time data sharing and updating.
Getting a unified, accurate view of the bigger picture with a Business Intelligence tool that can easily mash up data from multiple sources will make a coherent analysis of any amount of data—and fast. Basic tasks like creating organizational plans, distributing and collecting information from different managers, consolidating multiple spreadsheets, and debugging broken macros and formulas, will suddenly become a breeze.
You dread joining data from different sources
In today’s business environment big data refers not only to the depth of big databases, but also the breadth of mashing-up data coming from many different sources into a single coherent location. If you are still running reports in different systems and trying to make sense of all the connections between the data sets, you are working too hard and gaining just a fraction of the insight you could be gaining by using a BI tool to cross data sources. Once you start using a BI tool to successfully work with multiple sources of data, you will also uncover how easy it is to add additional data sources on the fly—and then the options of insightful mash ups will become endless.
A pie chart is supposed to deliver KPIs
Businesses are quickly learning the difference between reports and KPIs. Although reports are crucial as a starting point for any analysis, KPIs give you the ability to display core metrics that will guide business decisions. If your data can’t tell you which of your business areas are doing well or struggling, or deliver clear, actionable data, then you’re missing a true advantage that Business Intelligence can provide, and your little pie chart just won’t cut it anymore.
Author : Anusha Kannan