The Intelligent Way to Choose a Business Intelligence Platform

When it comes time to purchase new business intelligence software to use at your organization, there always seems to be a wide range of issues with the people who have to make the decision for what type is needed.  There will always be someone in the cheap and easy camp while someone else will fall into the robust and expensive camp.  The best thing to do in cases like this is to do your homework (serious research!) before even beginning to explore all of the BI software options that are available to you.

This article was designed by the team at Panorama to help you be able to make the most informed and insightful decision with Business Intelligence in 2016.

Who is it that will actually be using these BI tools?

Any IT department will always be besieged by numerous people asking them for this kind of report or that kind of report.  When things begin to get a little out of hand, directors and even CEOs will need to make the decision about whether or not they should go out and purchase one of the various business intelligence solutions that are on the market.  The problem with that is that there are so many options out there to choose from.  How do you choose the right one for the needs of your business?   When it comes down to it, you first need to understand who it is that will be using the platform.  Who will benefit the most from it?  Will it be for the high level executives like the Board of Directors, COO, CFO, and CEO?  Maybe it will be used in a specific department such as store managers, HR managers or Finance Controllers.

If it is the stakeholders who will be in the group of beneficiaries, you can pretty much go ahead and make the decision to go with a solution that will be enterprise wide as opposed to local desktop solutions.

What role will the business intelligence software have when it comes to making business decisions?

When it comes to making an important decision about business intelligence software, the why is just as important as the who.  Will this data visualization for business be used mainly as a tool for monitoring or will there be many more uses for it?  When you will just be monitoring the normal day to day business, there are visual analyzer tools that are quite simple and these can be used.  However, when it comes to analysis of trends, forecasting, predictive analysis and other critical features of decision making, it is always recommended to go with a BI solution that is more robust.  Any BI software that is chosen should have the ability to be scalable with your business as it grows.  If there happen to be any acquisitions or mergers in the future, consider how the platform that you choose will be able to adapt to the new data pattern(s).

Exactly how much data are we talking about?

Before you decide on any type of business intelligence software, you need to perform an analysis of both your cloud and your in-house systems.  The time when it was sufficient to get by with a single platform that would encompass all of the transactional needs of a business are long gone.  The more realistic view of nearly any organization now will include at least 5 different transactional systems to use for 5 various business functions.  This means that when you are looking at the different BI software options that are available to you, you will need to know exactly how many functions of the business will benefit from the software.  You will also need to know the amount of data that each one is capable of holding.  Another thing that it will be good to know is how easy or difficult it will be to get all of your data sources integrated into a single new business intelligence platform.  The overall aim of having a business intelligence solution is to be able to present the entire enterprise with one single source for data.

Is cloud technology something that makes sense?

The cloud is quickly becoming a buzz word no matter what technological conference you go to.  It can be very simple to want to lean towards the options that cloud offers.  However, before you go and commit to any of the cloud options, you should explore the possibilities of finding a single source of enterprise wide source of truth that is easy.  Yes, cloud is easy to adapt and offers less overheads as well as less investment in infrastructure, but it isn’t always the best option for every single scenario.  Most of the cloud type technologies are actually based on subscriptions.  This means that if you have a user base that is massive, you will definitely need to take a look at the cost of the cloud against the return of investment factor.  This isn’t just at the price point either but at each of the points that we have already talked about, like integrating your various sources of data and how much data you actually have and who the beneficiaries will be.  All of these factors will play an important part in the process of making a decision about business intelligence software and platforms.

What kind of budget are we talking about?

One thing that many people might think that all of this boils down to is money.  The question is how much money is your organization not just ready to spend but how much can it afford?  If you want a business intelligence platform that is good and top of the line, you better believe that it won’t be the cheapest option available.  That being said, while one won’t exactly cost you a fortune, you might have to have a bit of a looser grasp on the purse strings.  Remember that this is something that you only want to make a single investment in while you sit back and rake in the benefits and profits for the next few years.  A good idea is to figure out what your organization can afford and then look at the business intelligence solution that is just above that price range.

The business intelligence platforms of today are more flexible and they also ensure that you get reporting and analysis that is high performance.  The Deep Dive type of technology will allow for businesses to unbury themselves from their mountains of data while also allowing them to locate those critical facts that will assist them when it comes to developing their next great product, or even just to address the needs of the customers before those customers even know what they need or want.  It is also essential for staying ahead of both the competition and the market.

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