How to choose the best Business Intelligence (BI) solution for your business

More and more companies are taking advantage of the relevant information they extract from the data they possess and generate to improve their processes and discover or anticipate the needs of their customers. To process this data, specific tools are required to extract this information and facilitate its exchange within and outside the organization.

So Business Intelligence (BI) was born as a response to the growing need of companies to establish, from the data collected, a business strategy that allows them to better reach their target well as to control its processes in key indicators.

The ideal BI solution is one that enables a company to streamline its processes, generate new business opportunities and optimize its customer relationships. To achieve this, the platform must enable the members of the company to manage all available data to discover, through queries and reports, how to extract value from the information after analysis.

This is essential to drive greater understanding of a company's own dynamics, as well as to foster widespread digital transformation. Currently no company can aspire to be a benchmark in its field without having an analytics system based on a Business Intelligence solution..

Because when we talk about a BI tool, we are not only talking about an information system, but an integral system for decision making. The objective is not only that the company has access to information, but that all areas adopt the solution to optimize their processes and improve operations in general. So when choosing a BI platform, it is necessary to differentiate which are the most suitable tools for each requirement and their real possibilities of integration in each organization..

The decision to select a BI tool should be based on business, not technology, objectives.. A very common failure is to choose a tool based on technological requirements - compatibility with existing systems, ease of access or visually stunning interface - instead of business requirements, which are the ones that provide real insight. 

Therefore, it is advisable to choose a quality tool, whose value is proven, and which is capable of adapting to the needs of each companywith extensive knowledge of the required solution and ample demonstrable experience. 

The Business Intelligence market is mainly controlled by the so-called "branded vendors", i.e. vendors that regularly sell one or more brands of BI tools. The problem is that they are often more interested in promoting certain tools than in meeting the real expectations or needs of a company.

Therefore, what should take precedence over other (secondary) considerations is the following when choosing a BI solution for our company is that it is possible to quickly and easily access key performance indicators, identify weaknesses to enhance them and proactively manage any type of process.. Likewise, it must be taken into account that the cost of BI software must be added to the time spent for its study, implementation and maintenance. 

In short, the most important thing is to be clear about the company's objectives, i.e., what the project is to be implemented for and, therefore, what its scope should be, and not to lose impartiality when comparing the different options available. 

What is a Business Intelligence solution?

A Business Intelligence solution is an IT tool that allows you to simplify or fully automate the task of collecting data from different origins and sources and organizing it to make it easier to analyze. Therefore, the data becomes valuable information that should be accessible to any type of professional profile within the company.

With a BI solution we can, through dashboards and visual presentations, increase the value of data by making it understandable to all employees.

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Currently, the ERPMany companies' BI platforms often integrate technologically compatible BI tools into their platforms that allow predefined reports to be produced.. This is a key process in the digital transformation of companies to correct errors, improve processes, predict market trends and make decisions faster and more efficiently. 

The main objective of a BI solution is to provide valuable information in real time whenever the user requests it. For this purpose, cloud services are often used to make the information accessible from any device and/or location.

A Business Intelligence solution enables a company to:

  • Broaden the understanding of key performance indicators (KPIs) and the internal dynamics of the company.
  • Empowering work teams to make more informed decisions.
  • Address specific problems within the business sector.
  • Unearth valuable knowledge hidden in the data.
  • Generate advanced analytics to support crucial strategic decisions.
  • Incorporate analysis of external sources, targeting business partners and customers.
  • Develop new forms of analysis to address unique challenges.
  • Democratize access to reports integrated into operational applications.

How to plan a successful Business Intelligence strategy

BI professionals and the management of a company must jointly raise the needs that both parties require to achieve a successful Business Intelligence strategy. Only in this way will it be possible to achieve the desired objectives.

Likewise, this type of project should not only be defended by the IT department with the executive management, but should be a joint project, since the members dedicated to information analysis should know how the reports, dashboards and applications are developed in order to be able to interpret the information correctly. In order to achieve a good understanding, the focus should be placed only on the objectives relevant to the business, which is non-negotiable, avoiding both the lack and excess of unnecessary information.

For a BI solution to have a widespread impact on a company, both in the short and long term, it is necessary that the greatest number of users have access to its functionalities. The objective of its implementation is to integrate the data analysis power provided by BI into the company's operational applications and workflows.

Therefore, a well-defined methodology must be implemented in the company's culture so that the results obtained are reliable and decisions can be made correctly, with the guarantee of having quality information. 

One of the basic functions of a BI tool is the creation of reports to monitor the performance of a company. Therefore, we must choose the solution that is most compatible with the company's environment to generate reports and alerts in an intuitive and simple way. To get the most out of data analysis, it is important to consider combining information from multiple sources and/or channels into a single report.

Simplicity in the use of the platform, both for the employees of a company and for the end user, is a requirement to be taken into account. To achieve this simplicity of use, it is common that the implementation of a BI solution requires a large amount of consulting hours and resources, focused on loading the information that the Business Intelligence tool will later exploit. A correct implementation can take advantage of cloud resources, which allow access to information in real time and on multiple devices.

Well, given the sheer number of factors that come into play, how can we find the ideal BI solution?

Find the ideal BI solution for your company

These questions can help us evaluate whether the Business Intelligence platform meets your company's specific needs and requirements.

  1. Do displays, graphics and objects have intuitive, natural and interactive selection options?
  2. Can searches be conducted using multiple keywords to discover relationships between data?
  3. Is it feasible to perform comparative analysis across multiple data sets?
  4. Does the platform allow users to browse in a non-linear and unrestricted way, rather than being limited to a linear flow? Is it possible to dynamically reduce data and adapt applications to display different subsets according to the permissions assigned to users?
  5. Does the platform facilitate the package and set of data and visualizations within the applications?
  6. Are there application-level controls and features that make it possible to create an interactive experience, incorporating elements such as sliders, buttons and layout options?
  7. Does the platform offer natural language-based interactions?

The costs of implementing a Business Intelligence solution

When contracting a BI solution, it is necessary to take into account the associated costs. The most common costs are listed below.

  • The software license cost and maintenance, as well as the recurring costs of SaaS solutions.
  • The platform implementation cost and added professional services, technologies required underlying assets and/or third party products.
  • The hardware cost (including development production servers) and their maintenance, as well as network, computing and storage costs.
  • The support internal IT continuum and the training of the users.

Advantages of implementing a BI solution in a company

We are going to list the most obvious advantages of implementing a Business Intelligence solution in a company.

  1. Enables data exploration and discovery to be performed in a secure manner. This means that various data sources can be combined (without loss or errors) and analyzed in a single visual interface with access to various functionalities. In this sense, it facilitates a better understanding and interpretation of key performance indicators or KPIs and what is happening in the company, through the automation of customized reports and visual graphic objects (bar or line charts, scatter diagrams, heat maps, histograms, etc.). 
  2. Enables real-time visualization of the company's status to support important strategic decisions. The faster the tool can collect and analyze the required data, the more effective it will be.
  3. Displays relevant information that makes it possible to identify patterns in order to obtain the necessary answers for each case. In this sense, a BI solution is able to uncover hidden knowledge in the data. 
  4. Identifies outliers in the results of the general status reports of the dataset to solve specific problems.
  5. Enables publishing and sharing of content with other members of the company.

In short, a Business Intelligence solution allows companies to understand the KPIs key insights, empower employees to make better decisions, uncover hidden information in your data, and create advanced analytics to support big strategic decisions, among others.

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Typical processes where BI strategies are employed

Stock management and optimization of the logistics process

BI applications help to delimitation of seasonal periods, optimization of product storage and distribution, as well as product profitability. Companies can thus make logistics more efficient.

Customer loyalty

Allows you to identify, segment and categorize different types of customers. In this way, it is possible to design customized promotions, apply specific discounts or even suggest actions aimed at establishing or consolidating the customer's relationship with the brand.

Obtaining new customers

The BI can be used to implement strategies for attracting new customers focused on satisfying their demand in a fully customized mannerand to predict customer churn in order to design campaigns to build customer loyalty.

Tips for implementing a successful BI strategy

Here are some tips that will help us to establish a Business Intelligence strategy in the right way.

Establish priority objectives

Before a company embarks on the implementation of a BI solution, it is necessary to define your priority objectives with the aim of aligning them with the business strategy. It is essential to know what objectives we expect to achieve, based on the information provided, in order to ensure that the decisions taken are appropriate and aligned with the planned and/or desired objectives. In this way, it will be possible to react more quickly to unforeseen events.

Identify key metrics

Once the objectives have been established and prior to implementation, the required data and the desired format must be identified. This not only helps to choose the most appropriate solution, but also maintains focus throughout the process. In this way, the data can be correctly analyzed to convert it into valuable information that the company will be able to interpret and make better decisions.

Gathering the necessary information is a slow and delicate process, as not all relevant data can be found exclusively in company databases. As a rule, many employees manage their own files for their activities, which are completely independent of their company's centralized systems. For this reason, It is necessary to specify how many data sources are used and how the company's data are extracted and linked. 

Choosing the right tool

Depending on your priorities, the first thing to decide is whether to purchase a free solution, which in many cases will require a lot of time and effort to optimize, or whether to purchase a free solution, which in many cases will require a lot of time and effort to optimize. to bet on a customized technological solution to accelerate the process and to be able to cover all the needs of BI strategies.

In both cases it is essential to choose compatible data analysis applications, avoiding an overload of tasks. It is best to opt for comprehensive solutions that do not require the addition of additional applications.

Finally, it should not be forgotten that, once the objectives and goals of a company have been defined, it is necessary to carry out a study of the IT resources available.. This will allow to assess what kind of solutions are compatible with the company's needs and budget.

Ease of use and accessibility

From the user's point of view, the more complex the tool, the less likely it is to produce useful results. It should not be forgotten that accessibility to the tool, compatibility between systems (mobile, tablet, desktop), as well as the fact that the tool itself is intuitive, is a point to be taken into account when choosing the ideal platform for the company. 

Define the basic objectives

It is advisable to initially focus on one or two objectives before implementing the BI strategy. This allows for rapid progress and concentrates the team's efforts, preventing them from feeling overwhelmed by multiple tasks. 

Clean data modeling to shape the strategy 

At this point it is vital to work with clean data to save time and money. When collecting information sources, they should have a common format and modeling. Once all the raw data has been obtained, it must be processed in the correct format so that it can be combined and cross-referenced with other model data to obtain valuable information that can be processed by the company's employees, according to their access permissions. In this way, functions, processes and tools can be scaled to accelerate processes and improve decision making. 

Analyze data to deliver results

In order to obtain results, a large amount of data from dispersed sources must be analyzed to give a readable and useful meaning through the generation of graphs, tables and dashboards. In this way, it will be possible to visualize the relevant information and automate the reporting of results in a clear and simple way for all stakeholders, regardless of the level, area or department to which they belong.

Validation of results and measurement indicators KPIs

Once the study of the objectives and goals that the company wishes to achieve has been carried out, the data has been properly formatted and reports have been developed with the company's updated information, we can guarantee that the actions to be carried out will be aligned with the needs and demands of the organization.

Maintaining efficient processes

It is necessary to assess which current tools and functionalities actually bring benefits to the business. If a process is effective, it is advisable to integrate it into the new system to be implemented.

transforming the business with technology

Thanks to the innovative technology of GAMCOWe are able to provide a variety of intelligent solutions to empower your business. This is achieved through expert data management, the exploration of new sources of information, the use of advanced reporting tools and the application of cutting-edge Artificial Intelligence techniques.

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