What is Business Intelligence Software?
Business intelligence software allow company’s greater insight into their data and analytics, especially as companies become increasingly digital. This software allows for the visualisation of business data meaning that company employees can analyse, strategise and make informed decisions which will positively impact the business. Now more than ever there is a vast amount of data at our fingertips. These software solutions help produce the most relevant and accurate analysis so that employees are better equipped to act on that data and intelligently implement the findings.
Top 5 Business Intelligence Software Solutions
Board International combines business intelligence, performance management and predictive analytics. Although predominantly focused on financial business intelligence, it has special facilities for HR, marketing, supply chain, IT and sales, offering various different types of insight and analysis.
2. Microsoft Power BI
This Desktop app for windows allows users visualisation of data from both local and cloud sources, offering analysis, insight and in-depth reports. Power BI Desktop version is a free version although users can opt for the Pro version for a monthly fee or the Premium tier which enables self-service data prep across its user base.
3. Dundas BI
This software is mostly used in order to create dashboards and scorecards yet can also be used to harness data to create standards and ad-hoc reports. Dundas BI’s web interface is flexible and adaptable, allowing users to personalise their experience and crease specific analysis and visualisation.
Domo is a cloud-based platform which focuses on user-friendliness and functional dashboards. Its many business intelligence tools are tailored to suit a range of sectors and roles, making it easily accessible and multi-purposed.
MicroStrategy works across a range of sectors with cloud, on-premises and hybrid options. Easy-to-use tools such as a drag-and-drop interface helps users create customised data visualisations and personalise their dashboards in real time.
Do I Need Business Intelligence Software?
There are many benefits that a company can gain from business intelligence software including:
- Encourages decisions based on data to optimise the business
- New insight and analysis
- Visualisation and visibility of company data
- Integration of all company data sources into a single platform
What Does Business Intelligence Software Include?
Depending on the different platform, business intelligence software solutions will typically include key analytics, data mining, forecasting, performance management and dashboards.
How Much Does Business Intelligence Software Cost?
The cost of business intelligence software will compare from platform to platform and will depend on the amount of users relying on the service as well as the complexity of the tools. Some software solutions offer different subscriptions at different prices.
MicroStrategy offers a free, 30-day full platform trial so that users can try out the services before investing. Additionally, Microsoft Power BI has a free service with limited functionality for those looking for a more simple solution at zero cost.
Different Kinds of Business Intelligence Software
Within the world of business intelligence software, there are may different solutions which can help a company with their unique needs.
Business Intelligence Platforms
Business intelligence platforms are the most commonly used type of Business Intelligence software. Usually, these platforms are used by data analysts and scientists for highly-sophisticated analytics. For this reason, they often require specific data manipulation skills or a preliminary level of coding.
These software solutions can integrate with other databases in order to offer large-scale analysis and help companies gain specific insight. Within these solutions, some offer advanced features including big data analytics and predictive analytics.
For the less specific functions, some of these platforms may also offer self-service functionality.
Embedded Business Intelligence Software
Some business intelligence software enables users to embed analytics functionality inside of other business applications. This means that it can promote user adoption as it places analytics inside regularly used software to increase usage and help companies gain insight into available data. It allows the average business end user more data in order to inform decision making.
Self-Service Business Intelligence Software
These software solutions are ideal for companies aiming to make their employees more data aware and hoping to promote a data-driven culture internally. Less complex to use than the classic Business Intelligence Platforms, there is no need to have a background of coding in order to use self-service business intelligence software. This means that they are more accessible for the wider workforce.
Depending on the platform, these services may also use drag-and-drop functionality to build dashboards and templates for enhanced user-friendliness.
The purpose of the platforms is to build interactive dashboards to equip companies with actionable insights and data to make informed decisions.
Data Visualisation Software
This software is specifically designed for companies who want to track metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs). These products simplify analytics so that company goals and metrics can be tracked efficiently, accurately and in real time. Data visualisation software is for companies seeking quick metrics to paint an overall picture of the company however unlike the other types of software they do not dig deep into the data in order to offer more thorough insights.
Like other tools, these products can integrate data from a variety of sources. These solutions are great for companies looking to hone in on specific company goals and KPIs and gain insight into how to improve.
Location Intelligence Software
Location intelligence software refers to a specific subset of business analytics which is based on geographical and spatial data. This type of solution can determine location or spatial patterns such as figuring out the optimum location to open a new restaurant or shop. They can be used in their own right or can be integrated with other business intelligence tools.
Who is Business Intelligence Software For?
Depending on the complexity of the business intelligence software chosen, many different departments within a company can rely on these platforms. Overall, they are designed for users to gain detailed and accurate insight whilst saving time and efficiency.
Business intelligence tools can offer insights at a broader, company-wide level as well as sharing departmental specific insights.
With more complex platforms, these are specifically designed for those with a background in data and coding but due to the range of business intelligence products on the market, they can help many different team members, even those without a data background, use data to make informed decisions.
Data Analysts & Data Scientists
The primary users of Business Intelligence tools are designated data teams. Usually hailing from a background in data science, these employees can harness these tools and create complex queries and obtain critical data.
Data teams are those responsible for extracting the most advanced data which, in turn, will help guide a company’s overall decision-making and strategising which impacts all departments. They can work closely with other teams in order to optimise processes at all levels of the company.
Sales teams can use the insight gained by the data team or can use self-service business intelligence tools and embedded business intelligence products to gain sales-specific insight. This can include things such as sales performance and prospective account insight as well as helping them to forecast. Business intelligence can be invaluable for sales teams when tracking goals and quotas as it gives them full sales visualisation and company visibility. Additionally, they can track performance per sales representative and help create an overall picture of the annual pipeline. All of this will help to optimise processes and maximise revenue.
Business intelligence services can be easily integrated with financing tools to help prepare actionable insights for the finance team. They can assist with budgeting and forecasting and help to identify areas where money should be spent and saved by providing a wider picture about how finances come into play with other aspects of the company. Thus, finance teams can gain actionable insights about how profit and loss is impacted at all stages of the company.
Business intelligence tools are a great way for marketing teams to track the success of their various campaigns in one single platform and in real time. Data visitation enables these teams to compare the performance of different efforts, track progress and forecast revenue. These services also allow specific data drill-down such as customer demographics which helps the marketing team identify target client.
Operations and supply chain teams within a company can benefit from business intelligence solutions as it helps them organise how to distribute their resources. This in turn will help these team members save time as it optimises their processes. These solutions, especially location intelligence software, can help supply chain teams optimise their inventory and identify optimum warehouse locations. Business intelligence tools can also help designed optimised distribution routes and ensure targets are met on time. Data visitation elements can ensure that goals are tracked and that overall operations are running seamlessly.