Despite its overuse as a business buzzword, Business Intelligence (BI), can be essential to the success of your business. Business intelligence provides organizations with the ability organize and analyze large amounts of raw data. This makes it possible for leaders to make better-informed decisions, and to get a clearer picture of the business-impact of daily processes. However, in order to get the most out of business intelligence, organizations will likely need BI reporting tools.
An effective BI reporting tool bridges the gap between the user and the data. With traditional BI tools, the ability to generate reports is often little more than an afterthought. As such, the time and effort that is needed to build reports can actually result in data becoming obsolete before it can be acted upon. How bad is it? On average, traditional BI tools take 6.1 days to generate reports. That’s nearly a week’s worth of wasted time, that could otherwise have been put to profit-generating use.
Specifically-designed reporting tools not only allow for fast, easy generation of reports, but are also designed to be able to present reports in a way that is easy to comprehend, using whatever data you may wish to analyze. However, not every BI reporting tool offers the same advantages, and selecting a BI reporting tool that is well-suited towards the particular needs of your business can be a difficult process.
Thankfully, there are certain features that are shared between the best BI reporting tools. By using the presence (or absence) of these features as a standard against which to measure available BI reporting tools, and then further reviewing and testing the tools that seem most promising, an organization will be able to find the tool that works best for it.
Business intelligence is generally used across a variety of departments, and needs to be easily-accessible for any user who might need to work with it—not just those with an IT background. However, this can be a difficult prospect. After all, the vast amounts of data being acquired and analyzed create a complexity that can be difficult to avoid when it comes time for the the BI tool to take over. Easy, intuitive interface, along with built-in training options, help to improve the implementation process, and increase employee adoption rates. To this end, the best BI reporting tools use data visualization.
BI reporting tools that make use of advanced data visualization—often by way of an interactive dashboard—are able to condense large amounts of data into simple-to-comprehend images, charts, diagrams, etc. These visual data-representations can then be interacted with, providing a cursory, at-a-glance overview of all of the important information a business may need, while also allowing for more in-depth review of the numbers that really matter, all without having to involve IT specialists.
And speaking of IT, does it make sense for the decision-making process within an organization to be routed through the IT department? Probably not. However, BI reporting tools that don’t feature self-serviceability force the process to do just that. Self-service, on the other hand, means that the leaders who are responsible for making the big decisions are also the ones who are using the data, and are doing so in a way that is intuitive and straightforward. Unfortunately, in 47% of cases, there is no self-service interface with which to build custom reports.
BI reporting is what connects businesses to the data that they work so hard to collect. As such, choosing the correct BI reporting tool is absolutely vital. After all, what good is all the data in the world, if it’s not being expressed clearly? BI reporting tools make it possible for businesses to turn their captured data into real value, and that’s an advantage that no one should misunderstand.