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BI Tools: Replacing the “Gut Felt” with “Data Led” in Decision Making

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Why do we need Business intelligence (BI) for successfully running any digital business is no more a question that needs any explanation but still just to set the ground firm I will briefly talk about it. Data is often regarded as the new world currency, as effective decision making based on data driven insights is a must for any Business executive. Less than a decade ago most decisions were made on “gut feeling” but not anymore. BI tools today get you all the answers that you need, you only need to know the right questions to be asked.

Key reasons why we need BI:

  • To answer the question that defines the success of your business objective
  • To make decision based on past data & future trend
  • Integrate all the data at one place
  • Filter the data in context
  • Join dots & find patterns
  • Present the argument to tell a story
  • Inspire & be ready for future

What’s the road block?

Regardless of knowing the importance of BI, having tracked all the data, despite of having so many BI tools available in the market today, BI has not reached its full potential within most organizations. So what is it that probably is not going right or can be done better?

The key lies in the first choice that is made on the road of transforming business through BI , which is choosing the BI tool.

Choosing the RIGHT business intelligence (BI) tool and not just the popular one

There is no denial in the fact that whether AI or a simple brand awareness campaign, data makes the backbone for everything today.  BI tools have evolved at lightning speed over past few years to become a key enabler of Insight-Driven. Any good tool toady will enable the user to ‘Query & Visualize’ the data, perform data ‘discovery & exploration’, ‘create scorecards & dashboards’ and conduct ‘descriptive, predictive & prescriptive analytics’.

I am not here to elaborate on the necessity of having a BI tool that’s a given, I want to pen down a few considerations based our experience of having used varied variety of them, these will enable you to suggest a more appropriate tool for your clients.

  • Eliminate using category: What type of BI tool does client need?

Yes, there are different types of BI tools & each type has abundant options. So first narrow down on the list by choosing the right type.

Self-service: These tools make it possible for those without extensive training in business intelligence, data mining, or statistical analysis to work directly with captured data. This allows decision makers faster access to valuable information, as it eliminates the need for specifically-trained, BI-focused IT teams.

Guided analysis and reporting: Although this category includes basic, static reports, it has recently expanded to also encompass more hands-on variations. Dashboards, spreadsheets, and BI search tools are all examples, with the underlying correlation being that BI professionals are the one responsible for managing data.

Advanced Tools: These tools help with modeling data and using larger big data stores. Advanced tools are used almost exclusively by specially-trained data scientists, and tend to focus heavily on the assimilation, distillation, and integration of data.

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  • List available options: Finding the leaders & Visionaries for type selected

I don’t know who said it first but it really holds true – “You only need to find yourself, rest everything can be googled J”. To help you identify the market leaders of BI tools for the type you selected there is not only Google but likes Forrester Wave & Gartner Magic quadrant that list & rate these tools in terms of their ability to execute & Future readiness.

The reports really help you shortlist the tools based on their performances, reviews, adaptability, market-share and present a neutral view of all the aspects that are necessary to understand before picking the tool for in-depth evaluation.

  • Evaluate the shortlisted: How to zero down on the tool from the list that you have now?

Every tool will have its own strength & weakness, understanding in detail about how business envisions using these tools can help us in suggesting an optimal tool.

Key Factors that should be evaluated:

 

 

 

This part makes the soul of any tool and we should assess the following aspects to score a tool for this bucket.

This will be more in line with the factors that helped you understand the type in step 1.

 

 

This will be more in line with the factors that helped you understand the type in step 1.

 

 

 

Cost of license is something that needs to be understood in the light of the value add plus some strict restrictions beyond control. Hence evaluating various packages a tool offers can help.

 

Investments are always based on future prospects and so should be the decision for integrating the BI technology.

Final take away: With the increasing flexibility & versatility of open sources like R programming & its APIs, integration with any BI tool is no more a matter of concern. But it’s highly recommended to ensure data security before consuming any of the available APIs for data integration.

Let BI pave the path & be integral to all the key business decisions for your clients.

Aashima Kumar is an established data practitioner in space of data analytics and optimization, with more than 10 years of experience partnering clients from various verticals, geographies and industries. She has helped her clients to realize their strategic objectives of becoming data backed decision making units while working with the world renowned agency in the domain of digital transformation, SapientRazorfish. She is an avid learner who believes that one should never stop learning as life never stops teaching, and for her that is the single biggest reason for her success in all these years.

  • Data-Analytics


  • There are 2 comments


    • 7 months ago

      Jatin Pasricha   /   Reply

      This is very helpful Aashima. Your knowledge around BI tools and how we can leverage these tools in decision making will help a lot in this growing digital space.

      • 7 months ago

        Aashima Kumar   /   Reply

        Thanks Jatin 🙂

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