Selecting Your Business Intelligence Solution
As you make BI solution purchasing plans, you must begin with a clear idea of what data and reporting issues you are seeking to solve through deployment of such software. Gathering and analyzing specific, solution-related intel is vital to choosing a software with the capabilities and functionalities that will meet your business needs.
As you are perusing through leading BI software providers, you can use these questions to help you laser focus your business needs:
Do you have adequate data? Do you know where it is all located pre-BI?
The first exercise you need to perform before selecting a BI solution is accessing and locating your important business data. This step is vital because in order for a BI solution to best benefit your business, you will first need to ascertain that you have adequate data available.
Next, you will need to understand where all your data currently lives so that you can easily access it and link it to your BI software during integration.
If you do not have enough data, or what you do have is not easily accessible, then you will need to take measures to correct these issues prior to purchasing and successfully deploying your BI software.
What type of BI reporting will best fulfill your business needs?
When choosing a BI solution, make sure that you have a firm grasp on what reporting requirements and data analysis you will require from your chosen system.
If you do not take the time to flesh this out, then you might end up losing money by purchasing the wrong type of BI solution for your business needs or enduring several rounds of failed deployments as you try to build in your requirements after the fact.
Who will be using this system, and what features and BI tools will best benefit your business?
Carefully consider who will be using your BI system on a regular basis, and make sure that you choose a solution that best fits the technological skills and understanding of your most frequent users.
If you plan to have non-IT users accessing the system, then make sure the solution you choose is user-friendly or offers comprehensive support and training options.
Also outline what tools and features will best benefit your business as you seek to integrate, store, and more efficiently access and manage all your company data. Most BI software providers offer great tools for users and IT support such as:
- User-friendly interface with customizable dashboards and scorecards
- Comprehensive reporting tools
- Data visualization tools
- BI analytics integration options
- Big data management and data mining
- Predictive analytics
BI Solution Implementation Considerations
When you’ve finalized your top BI software choices, you should look ahead to your implementation process before making the final decision, and determine what kind of solution makes the most sense for your business data needs.
There are two BI deployment options: cloud-based and on-premises, and while the recent trend in many business software programs is to leverage the cloud-based solutions, when it comes to BI, businesses are more evenly divided on their selection.
Cloud-Based BI Solutions vs. On-Premises BI Solutions
If your data needs are basic, straightforward, and organizational then a cloud-based BI solution will offer you all the features and tools you need, and do so for a much more affordable cost to your growing business.
However, if your company manages, stores, and relies on a large amount of private, sensitive data to function optimally and stay in compliance with your industry’s regulations, then an on-premises BI solution will ultimately serve your business better.
Although on-premises solutions tend to cost more upfront due to hardware installation and maintenance, protecting the security and integrity of your company data will be well worth the cost.
For more helpful tips and guidelines on selecting and implementing the perfect BI solution for your business, you can reference our free Business Intelligence Buyer’s Guide.