• 5 Business Intelligence Tools You Can't Do Without

    Business intelligence is exactly what it sounds like. If any commercial operator in the digital age wants to be intelligent in business, they need BI. Sadly, many don’t realize this or don’t invest in BI because they think they can’t afford it. Really, smart operations can’t afford to not invest in BI. With 2020 up and running, options are better, more accessible, and cheaper now than ever; only an unintelligent business manager would enter the 20s using teenage weapons.

    The Different Types of Business Intelligence Tool. 

    Reporting Tools

    You’re familiar with the places where your data lives, and how to find it, but do you know what it’s telling you? BI gives you reporting tools that tell you more than you think you need to know; that’s how smart they are. They pick up insights about your own activities from within your data which guide you into making better business decisions.

    As an example, many operators use group purchasing organizations (GPOs) to obtain discounts on supplies and services. These are essential for most businesses, but BI reporting tools tell you how much you’re paying compared to local, national, and global averages. This means you can see in an instant how much you could be saving, rather than what you currently pay using your current GPO. Smart BI company Una produces a GPO tool that makes these figures much more accessible and understandable; way better than staring at a spreadsheet.


    Dashboards are the antidote to spreadsheets and a whole range of other outputs that take an age to make sense of. Rather than having to search and sort on the relevant column, use macros, and more, is designed to show you what you want to see, straight away. Best of all, a dashboard will highlight every single stat that’s important to you.

    Computer coding is all well and good, but it’s not in the pocket of many business leaders. For this reason, Domo has a superb dashboard tool, which connects to hundreds of relevant sources of data, without any coding trauma. Use Domo, and you can drag and drop widgets to where you want them. These customize views and include built-in tools that pop up immediate visuals, ideal for presentations. The big picture, rather than the small stuff.

    Predictive Analytics Tools

    Talking about the big picture, there’s nothing bigger in business than being one step ahead of your competition. With that in mind, in the digital business environment, predictive analytics tools offer exactly that, on as many screens as you want. Leadership teams use SAP solutions to test their theories before they put them on the market because they know that SAP is the market leader in predictive analytics.

    If a business truly understands its starting position, and how that is perceived in its desired market, that business has a built-in advantage. Predictive analytics exploits the very best of data queries and uses the results to predict how any business offering is likely to perform, both at the present and in the future. As a strategic tool, predictive analytics is perfect.

    Data Discovery and Exploration Tools

    As things stand, even the smartest BI solutions leave some things to chance. This could mean mining really helpful data without knowing where to put it. Alternatively, business intelligence providers might source their data in ways that generate mounds of data which are nothing but intimidating. To solve this problem, there are self-service BI solutions which have data discovery tools to help real people find what they are looking for.

    The BI provider Looker takes a user-friendly approach to data discovery and exploration. A lot of outdated BI solutions need a large number of staff, with consequent financial implications, to analyze data. Much of this is wasted because people don’t know what they’re looking for, or how to find it. Looker solutions have a smart modeling layer interface, which asks as many questions about the enquirer as the data they want to mine. This superbly efficient, end-to-end way of working has been taken up by HP Vertica and Oracle, which means that smaller businesses don’t need to worry about budgeting for future BI failures.

    Data Cleaning Tools

    It’s a well-known fact in the digital age that no data is better than bad data. Businesses with BI suites may think they have all bases covered, and are future proof; unfortunately, those businesses may be wrong. A company with a model predicting future sales in Paris, Texas, will only be worth anything if its data model isn’t based on the French version. Oops. It may sound obvious, but this kind of detail is actually extremely, vitally important to any commercial enterprise in the digital age. A computer processor works from the information given to it. With the unimaginable amount of data around the world at any time, where Paris is only as important as who wants to know.

    Data cleaning tools are the solution to this colossal problem. What they do is prepare data sets for analysis. They delete any data point which is irrelevant, incomplete, duplicated, outdated, or in any way questionable. The very best cleaning tools take this a step further and fill in the gaps where they can. Solutions produced by Sisense, for example, will fill in zip codes in any address without one, using publicly available data sets. With this quality of data to start from, any query produces reliable results. In turn, smart business managers can use these results to inform their reports, suggestions, and decisions.

    Advances in technology are increasing with breathtaking speed and will continue to do so. If you’re a business with a high digital footprint, you need to keep up with it; if your digital presence isn’t good, you should look to enlarge it. These are the facts in 2020; and business intelligence is, really, absolutely where it’s at. If you have an eye for the future, keep it open and look out there for the BI tools being developed all the time which could really make a difference for you.

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