With an ever-increasing flow of raw data, comes almost-infinite potential for businesses. If organizations can capture even a fraction of the available data, and then mine it for relevant information, then they may find themselves with an advantage over other, less data-minded competitors. Of course, as more and more businesses commit themselves to big data, many are finding that the sheer volume of available information can be difficult to handle. This is hardly surprising. After all, data mining is a bit like panning for gold—you may have to dig through a lot of dirt before you can find any nuggets. In fact, approximately 75% of organizations lack the skills and technology to really take advantage of their captured data, according to reports by Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) and Iron Mountain.
The solution to this problem lies in using the right tools—specifically, business intelligence tools.
Business intelligence (BI) tools are programs, software, and applications that are designed to help locate, retrieve, analyze, and document data. More simply, business intelligence tools are designed to make the flow of data manageable, allowing organizations large and small, the ability to turn unstructured data into something actionable.
However, there are many different kinds of tools available, and not every solution is going to be a perfect fit for every business.
Although big data as a tool for business may seem like a new development, the truth is the concept itself has been around for several decades. As such, the industry is much more mature and diverse than many realize. That having been said, most BI tools and BI reporting tools fall into one of three categories:
Certain tools may feature some amount of overlap between the categories, making them well-suited to different kinds of data use.
Although the specific focus of these different categories may vary, most types of BI tools provide similar benefits when used correctly. These benefits include:
Taking into consideration that by the year 2020, 1.7 megabytes of new information will be created every second, for every human being on the planet, and that by then our annual digital universe will have grown to 44 zettabytes—approximately 10 times its current size. There’s little doubt that the future of business belongs to big data. Therefore it is imperative that businesses implement tools that will help them in any way possible shift through the mounds of data coming their way.
And although there will always be a certain amount of risk when it comes to making business decisions, that risk doesn’t have to be so perilous. Consider all the benefits mentioned earlier as a roadmap to find the right tool for you. By adopting a reliable business-intelligence solution, organizations can enjoy the confidence to move forward in an increasingly data-driven world.