What Are 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.
What Types of Business Analytics Tools Are There?
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:
- Advanced IT
These tools help with modeling data and using larger big data stores. Predictive analytics can also be used by these tools to help with identifying which pieces of data are valuable to the overall success of an organization. Advanced tools are used almost exclusively by specially-trained data scientists, and tend to focus heavily on the assimilation, distillation, and integration of data.
Certain tools may feature some amount of overlap between the categories, making them well-suited to different kinds of data use.
Benefits of BI
Although the specific focus of these different categories may vary, most types of BI tools provide similar benefits when used correctly. These benefits include:
- Universal platform-compatibility
With more and more businesses relying on BYOD policies, it is becoming ever-more common for key decision makers (and others within their organizations) to use mobile devices while working. Cloud-based BI tools feature the added benefit of being accessible across any internet-enabled platform, allowing access to vital information, whenever, and wherever it is needed. In fact, in 2016, the cloud will drive more than 7% of the total BI, analytics, and performance-management market.
- Enhanced insight for better results
Taken together, many of these individual benefits result in a single, all-encompassing advantage—the confidence that comes from having advanced insight. 51% of business-intelligence adoption leaders are characterized as those who instill confidence in their teams. Improved understanding of customer wants and needs, emergent trends, ongoing processes, operational costs, and a myriad of other important factors can give an organization the self-assurity it needs to be able to find ongoing success.
Looking at the Road Ahead
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.