Business Intelligence Tools
What is BI?
BI (Business intelligence) is being adopted by businesses as a new norm in the recent years. It means generating a variety of reports and data insights that can provide valuable information for the data analysts and help them understand the business trend not only what has been happening in the past and recent years but also make sensible and informed decision for their future growth and expansion.
Business Intelligence is usually managed be a variety of data reports, data visualizations and dashboards that extract data from the database and present information in a meaningful way so that relevant people can understand business metrics. It involves steps like identifying different independent data hubs called data silos. These are then united into data warehouses and stored in a compatible format so that they are ready for reporting and turning into data insights. As Matin Movassate, Founder and CEO at Heap Analytics, says “Analytics software is uniquely leveraged. Most software can optimize existing processes, but analytics (done right) should generate insights that bring to life whole new initiatives. It should change what you do, not just how you do it.”
Importance of Business Intelligence
Observe a scenario where a small business is setup with limited resources and caters to a small market. They have to manage their budget and monitor their expanses carefully to gain profit and build up on their foundation. Now, observe another business that is expanded worldwide through many branches and operates in all major countries. They have many product lines and are very popular and prestigious. Both of these companies equally rely on their data to gain insights into the working of their business and build on this information. Most business decisions will be taken after carefully examining the turnout and revenues, the sales and product popularities and the differing market trends. All this information can be obtained from a variety of Business Intelligence tools that would run reports and analytics for the businesses and guide them to their next steps.
This shows the importance of Business intelligence in running and maintaining almost any business. The data is the lifeblood of the business and BI tools take this data and turn it into meaningful visualizations and data reports that can help the management understand how their business is doing. The can act accordingly and make important decisions that can impact the future of the business.
"Data is what you need to do analytics. Information is what you need to do business." – John Owen
Features of BI Tools
Some important features or processes that fall under Business intelligence have been enumerated here for you. These are usually sought out by client businesses and companies when they are looking for a BI Tool to manage their business data:
The first and foremost important feature of a business intelligence tool id data reporting. It means generating a set of reports from the data in the database. These reports form the basis of long term and short term decisions and gives insight into the company’s success and failures. What are the positive trends in the company? What are the things that are not working or not meeting targets? What seems to be the reason. All such analytic questions could be answered by deep study of the data reports. Usually this is the task of the data analysts team in the business to generate and analyze the related reports and advice the management accordingly to increase sales and profits.
Data visualization is the pictorial or graphic representation of the business data and provides a deeper understanding of the current working situation of the business. These visualizations can be a variety of graphs, charts and other types of data mapping from tabular to pictorial representation.
Many times the management is not that well-versed in understanding tabular data and get lost when going through large reports. On the other hand, if the same data is presented as a pie chart or a graph then it becomes quite easy to capture the results and make comparisons required to reach important decisions and increase revenue.
Data mining is turning or extracting meaningful information from a larger set of raw data. Data mining tools usually extract patterns of information and related content from the database that helps users to make sense of the data and derive useful information about their product popularity, customer relationships and manage their business effectively and seize new opportunities to better their place in the market.
Data dashboards a very popular feature of the BI tool and is quite helpful. It allows data analysts to run multiple reports and visualizations and arrange them on the same screen so that they may make comparisons and monitor them together. This provided greater flexibility and an option to simultaneously manage and monitor data from different perspectives. This is especially helpful in some scenarios where data is changing rapidly in real time like the stock market or the news room. The dashboard ensures that the users can track performance of different products in real time and take timely decisions.
Visual analysis of data in a business can help the higher management that are not perceptible to understanding detail and complicated reports. Data reports can thus be transformed to meaningful visuals that can help these high profile personals in deriving relevant and decisive results that can be converted into actionable tasks. These visual analysis tools can also link the past and present and chalk out the data path for different products or customers which can then be helpful to take future measures to improve the worth of these products in the market.
This means to use data to find answers to the questions that might help analysts gain insight into the current working of the business. This is a very helpful feature and can get information about specifics of a product like how it is performing? What might be the hindrance in reaching the goals for the product and what might be the possible solutions? It also highlights the ongoing trends and can help the business make informed decisions for their marketing and other strategies.
Some popular examples
Dotnet report caters to the data reporting needs of business. It is a cloud SaaS application and provides ad hoc reporting solution which can be integrated into an existing software to give independence to the user to run customized reports from their desktop. Dotnet report builder offers a variety of data reports and data dashboard to monitor the reports and impact business growth with informed and timely business decisions.
KoolReport is an intuitive and flexible Open-Source PHP Reporting Framework for faster and easier report delivery. It gives you full control of data process as well as data visualization. It can provide businesses with beautiful visuals and charts to help them understand their information and perform data analytics.
Izenda is a BI Tool that can embed into your application and offer reporting solutions. It provides a variety of different report layouts and can create data visualizations to help business analysts. It can help to create reports in real time to supplement business with required information.
Microsoft Power BI
It is the Business Intelligence platform provided by Microsoft. It combines beautiful visualizations of your business data in a dashboard display to give you data insight. This solution scales from individuals and small businesses to large enterprises catering to the needs of all types of businesses.
A computer science graduate having a diverse career in the field of IT and Education. I am associated with dotnetreport.com and also a blogger for business and IT. I am passionate about my field and like to blog about new technology and pen down information on different topics.