Business intelligence (BI) solutions are of increasing importance within business reporting and decision making, especially in today’s economy where opportunities need to be even more strategically planned. A new generation of BI software has transformed what used to be an expensive and complicated industry.
If your organisation is considering BI reporting tools, here are some of the most important elements to look for in modern BI software:
- Real-time – You need to be able to access your data in real time so you can make faster decisions.
- Mobile – You need to be able to access your data anytime, anywhere and on any device, such as your PDA/tablet, in order to work more efficiently.
- Unified data sources - You need to be able to access your data from multiple sources from one device. Modern BI solutions provide insights from disparate databases within an integrated dashboard, including data extracted from Excel spreadsheets. It is important that you choose a BI solution with a versatile reporting tool that easily works with all of your systems, so you can access all the information you need in one place.
- Web enablement - You need a web-based BI solution as it is then accessible from anywhere, whether you are working inside or outside of the office. A web-based option is also easier to install and maintain.
- Self-service – You need a self-service solution which enables end users to get the information they require to make decisions and manage their business, without having to rely on 'technical' resources to design reports and queries. Most advanced BI solutions require varying levels of IT skills to use them.
- Cross-functional – You need to check that anyone within the organisation can access infromation that will provide them with key insights which are relevant to their role - the solution should not be perceived as something that is managed and owned by the technical/IT team. The more the solution is utilised by different people across the organisation, the higher your ROI will be.
- Visual – You need to make sure that you can present the information required in an easy to understand, graphical way. You should be able to easily transform data into an actionable visual representation quickly. Modern solutions should feature dashboards that allow you to do this.
- BI has long been utilised by the large corporates. However, during recent years, IT costs have decreased drastically. Cloud computing has helped to dramatically reduce implementation time and fees. There is no reason why you should have to spend an extortionate amount of money to benefit from implementing an advanced BI tool.
These are just some of the most important elements to think about before selecting a BI solution. Here at Eclipse we recommend Sharperlight, a business intelligence and reporting tool that fulfils all of these business requirements. For further information on Sharperlight, please contact us on +44 203 866 8800, or check out our other related blog posts on business intelligence and reporting: