Previously, IT professionals were the primary users of business intelligence (BI) applications. However, over time, BI tools have significantly evolved and have become more user-friendly. Consequently, many users in diverse organisations have tapped these tools and are using them for decision making. Notably, even small businesses are increasingly using agile and intuitive systems in data analysis and decision-making
Business intelligence tools are data-driven Decision Support Systems (DSS) which can be used to analyse data without the need of IT to run complex reports. BI also denotes report and query tools, executive information systems, and briefing books. Using these tools, business professionals can comfortably analyse data by themselves without relying on IT reports.
Having looked at the benefits of BI software, it’s now time to look at some of the available software solutions. In this article, we will look at some of the available software’s in the market and look at some of their peculiarities and benefits.
How Do Software Tools Optimise Business Intelligence?
BI software tools play a vital role in providing current, historical and predictive perspectives of business operations using available data. Software elements help in reporting, statistical data mining, and interactive pivot table analysis. On the other hand, software applications handle production, sales, financial and other relevant business data related to performance management.
Microsoft Power BI
Microsoft Power BI is one of the more well established pieces of business Intelligence software that is used primarily to aggregate, analyse, visualise and share data and the data from which it does this comes from various feeds and API’s from software that your business uses.
The end result is that you can login into Microsoft Power BI and quickly see data, reports and KPIs for everything going on in your business. For example, this could include sales figures, staff performance, website performance, marketing KPIs, cash flow, profit and loss accounts and more, all in one easy to access platform with a great user interface. People who are already familiar with using software such as Microsoft Excel will easily be able to turn their hand to it, although once set up it requires minimal technical expertise to use and navigate through.
Specific benefits for Microsoft Power BI versus its competitors would include that there is a free version of the software intended for the use of small to medium sized businesses, with only a more advanced membership carrying a cost. Additionally, having been created by Microsoft it integrates seamlessly with other Microsoft products and as a major product in their portfolio, it’s receiving significant investment into new features meaning that they are never far behind new features or technology released by their competitors.
Sisense is a business intelligence solution that enables users to analyse and extract information that they require for better decision-making. This software provides a straightforward way of generating insights and business value from complex data. Moreover, the software is highly flexible and caters for start-ups, developing enterprises and even the Fortune 500 behemoths such as ESPN, Sony, Comcast, and NASA
Sisense provides several advantages to any organisation that uses it. Some of the benefits include:
• It can collect all information from all your sources and unify them into a single, accessible repository.
• It can generate a smart and rich analysis using robust visual reports without any preparation
• You can effortlessly share your insights with your partners, team, and clients.
• It has an easy-to-use interface that allows non-techies to adapt to the system quickly.
• It is a high-speed system that optimises the potential of a 64-bit computer and multi-core CPUs
Looker is a web-based interface that offers an intuitive approach to data exploration. Because it is web-based, users can utilise the platform to harness the expertise of their data analytics team.
If you have some basic SQL knowledge, you can quickly build your analytic modules using this platform. Using a single code and depending on your level of expertise, you can design visualisations and refine your experience. Looker has an ML code to help you optimise your queries as most BI systems require skill in the area. If you don’t have any SQL knowledge, you can use Looker’s database of videos and learning materials to utilise it.
The advantage of this software lies in its ease of use. It doesn’t require an experienced data analyst or someone with SQL knowledge to manage workflows because its operations are anchored on a single, self-intuitive code. Additionally, its handy visualisations, robust collaborative features, flexible ML look language, and reliable support make it a useful tool.
Datapine provides intuitive drag and drop interface, limitless dashboards, and a broad range of charts to help you delve deeper into your data and visualise it. Its capabilities can help you unravel actionable insights to be used for efficiently making smart business decisions. Notably, its single data warehouse enables the software to process and analyse trends and visualise results for specific data. Also, its centralised data management lets you connect every data source in your company and consolidates them in one location.
Datapine can be integrated with almost twenty-four services and apps including CRM, analytics platforms, web services, online storage, and SQL servers. Also, you can use the software on-premise or on the cloud.
Admittedly, Datapine is a resourceful software because it has solved some problems that were common in earlier BI solutions. Initially, company data was spread across databases, external applications and an indefinite number of spreadsheets. However, Datapine has eliminated the data democratisation menace by providing a centralised repository using its 50+ different data connectors. Also, the software has an intuitive interface that allows non-technical staff to extract analytics.
Previously referred to as Zoho Reports, this software tool is a robust data analytics, and online reporting, and business intelligence platform. It identifies trends, discloses hidden insights, determines outliers, and monitors vital business metrics. The tool enables anyone in the organisation to access powerful reports without relying on the IT team.
The software comes with a smart assistant named Zia which exploits AI natural language processing to provide you with answers in response to your questions. It also seamlessly integrates with other Zoho apps and other external software and services. Although this software is mainly cloud-based, you can also deploy Zoho analytics locally on your computer.
Conclusively, it important to note that there are several software solutions that you can acquire for your BI needs. The list mentioned above only looks at some of the best solutions in the market. However, when deciding to buy a BI software, you should not just focus on how experts evaluate it. Instead, try to ascertain whether companies that purchase and use the software are happy about it. When equipped with first-hand information, making an informed decision will be easy, and you will not regret your move.