According to Gartner, in 2017, “Business Intelligence (BI) and analytics continue to top investment priorities across all organization types”. BI applications are undergoing a revolution, with the need take into account the use of Big Data or the democratization of data delivered by the connected objects. Businesses are in a situation to acquire new powerful tools for the analysis of their data.
But to choose the right tool, it is important to consider a number of good practices and not to repeat the errors that we will present below.
1. Understand what data is useful for your business
Business Intelligence typically has four stages of information processing – collection, storage, exploitation and interpretation.
Data collection is of course an important step since it will reflect the formatting, cleaning and consolidation of the data. One of the mistakes made by companies for Business Intelligence software is to focus only on the data collection stage but forget the usability after the project is implemented. The purpose of a Business Intelligence tool should always be able to provide useful information for decision-making.
More data is not always better; the collected data should be relevant to the business objectives. To collect the right data, it will be necessary to have clearly defined objectives that the Business Intelligence software must fulfill and the answers they can provide to the decision-makers.
2. Precisely define the objectives that Business Intelligence software must meet
As discussed in the first point, when choosing the Business Intelligence solution, one key step is to accurately define the objectives that the software must respond.
Business Intelligence software should be chosen based primarily on addressing the business issues. The information collected by the software, once analyzed and transformed into dashboard or reporting interface, they should provide answers to specific questions.
For example, if we consider the Business Intelligence software at the service of improving customer relations, we can identify such issues and questions such as:
- What is the profile of my users?
- What are their interests?
- What is the best time to ask my users?
- What are the most appropriate advertisements (format, message)?
3. Provide support when the users change
As companies engage more on the BI-oriented approaches, the Business Intelligence software must take into account the needs of the employees. One of the most common mistakes is that the advantages and benefits of the software have been identified by guiding business team leaders and managers , but the needs and uses of the employees themselves did not adequately surveyed .
Many organizations lose money because they have invested in tools that are used improperly, or that are not used by their employees. One way to integrate employees to use the new tool is to set goals for each employee and connecting them to the use of the software.
4. Take into account the agility and scalability over time
Technology is constantly evolving and sometimes is exponentially growing; it is important to choose a solution that is able to adapt to these quick changes.
In this sense, we can take the BI data democratization as an example. BI data democratization took place in recent years in a number of tools. BI data democratization grants more power to the non-technical users, and enable them not only to access the data, but also to provide insights and discoveries that can go into the company’s discovery hub. Now the trend is towards the possibility for everyone to have their own dashboards.
It is only a trend among others that requires the Business Intelligence solutions to be able to evolve, improve and adapt to new business objectives or new business indicators.
5. Considerations on mobility and collaboration
These are the two major trends for Business Intelligence solutions – the ability for users to access their data wherever they are, and collaboration, especially with the ability to easily share information.
Choosing Business Intelligence software must now integrate these two concepts because more and more users are working from mobile devices such as tablets or smartphones, and effective information sharing through mobile devices will be a real help for their data exploitation.
Among the multitude of solutions available on the market, these points will help you make a more informed decision when choosing the tool. You will need to focus on the needs of your users, their customs and their habits. When choosing a solution, you need to focus not only on the usability and adaptability, but also the ability to respond to specific questions related to your business processes or customer cases.