Business Intelligence (BI) is as much a process as it is a product. It is a well-planned amalgamation of strategy and timely information that effective organizations use. Therefore, selecting the right tool for BI or analytics is more than just a matter of price and functionality. The simple reality is that the right tool needs to be carefully handpicked, based on the needs of an organization. We present to you some important aspects to consider.
Ease of Management
A good BI tool should be capable of providing useful insights, no matter how vast or complex the data is.
- Centralization: This is important when working with varied data sources (legacy data, data on the cloud, realtime data, varied data formats) and modes of operation (task scheduling, security, licensing). BI architectures like Qlik allow for centralized management, governance and administration of information.
- Audits: Security incidents, data privacy and application usage auditing should be a seamless, automated process.
- Integrity: The tool should allow creation of policies that prevents data misuse and data errors. Having good quality data requires referential integrity and updation of data, thereby keeping it consistent across departments.
- Compliance: Data may be stored locally or across geographies. In both cases, a BI tool that ensures compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and similar regulations, is important.
- Storage: Reduction of manual tasks is a good-to-have, when it comes to version control and backups/archival. Tools like Pentaho simplify the import and export of data across distributed file systems.
- Insights: The ease of deriving insights from data is crucial. Tools like Power BI, Qlik and Tableau make this process simple by providing powerful methods to perform analytics, observe trends and perform correlations. Automated and customized dashboards are an added advantage.
- Devices: When mobility is important, it helps to have a tool like Tableau that supports visualization on various devices like tablets and smartphones.
Size of the Organization/Projects
Surveys on Business Intelligence software, have shown that although the size of an organization mattered less during the selection process, the functionality provided by the software was crucial.
Small and medium-sized organizations
- The price-to-performance ratio and ease of use of the BI tool matters. Tools like MicroStrategy, provide easy deployment, template-creation and drag-and-drop functionality for reviewing marketing metrics.
- Smaller organizations benefit from self-service BI tools since they are faster to deploy and visualize data. Machine Learning algorithms can enhance and often automate the process of filtering data and performing drill-downs even in teams lacking advanced data-analysis skillsets.
- Tools like Tableau can help medium-sized companies. Tableau offers drag and drop functionality and also helps connect with unprocessed data in realtime.
- Larger companies benefit from tools like Pentaho or Qlik, which are good for customized analytics and Extract Transform Load (ETL) cycles. Even tools like MicroStrategy can help skilled inhouse teams create widgets which slice-and-dice data to perform deeper investigations.
- Selecting a tool that provides good administration and deployment options for on-premises reporting and cloud-based analytics is important.
The ability to scale, is the capability of the BI tool to stand the test of time. It needs to adapt to change. A good tool would typically offer benchmarks, indicating how well it scales.
- Load-balancing: Evaluating the backend implementation of the BI tool is crucial. A good architecture will possess load-balancing capabilities that help it scale up or scale down computing resources, depending on the load.
- Licenses: A good BI tool would support a varying number of concurrent users, and hence provide appropriate licensing for per-user logins.
- Deployment: If the solution needs to be deployed across countries, utilizing tools that support cloud-based solutions and data lakes would work well. This is important when there are a variety of data formats to deal with.
- Extensions: To fully utilize and integrate data, the BI tool should support added functionality via extensions. These include adapters for integration with other BI tools and new data frameworks.
Selecting the right BI tool is no longer a tricky proposition. Experts at Strategis are experienced in the domains of healthcare, retail and finance. We would be glad to assess your business needs and strategic vision to help you select the right BI tool. Contact us today to help you in streamlining work and staying ahead of the game.