What a good BI-solution can do for you (and how to find it)

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Business intelligence offers companies smart insights into their business data to draw actionable conclusions and make decisions easier.

What is business intelligence?

BI describes the collecting, analyzing and presenting of business data to gain insights and support strategic decisions.

For the efficient use, it needs the right platform as well as processes and methods to consolidate, segment and analyze the data. Business intelligence is therefore not just one single tool or method but rather a combination of different levers to help a company manage, process and use their data.

Artificial intelligence is a big part of BI, to cluster data, identify anomalies or offer real-time analysis.

Additionally, topics such as usability and intuitive dashboards as well as well-designed reports and visuals are relevant, especially if not just analysis experts work with the tool and the data but also colleagues from other business units.

When it comes to CRM software, you'll find that most solutions offer BI in one form or the other. However, there are big differences when it comes to the scope, the AI support, functionalities as well as scalability (e.g., via a data warehouse or data lake).

What is the difference between Business Intelligence and Customer Analytics?

Customer analytics analyzes customer data to get insights into the behaviors, preferences and characteristics of customers. In contrast, BI looks at the company as a whole to identify weaknesses, potentials and values. This means, it can also include customer analytics but also much more, for example:

  • gaps that could pose business risks
  • development potential for business areas
  • overview of costs and resources for optimization or reduction
  • market trends
  • tracking of goals
  • prognosis / forecasts

DIGITALL 360 Customer View based on Azure and Power BI enables you full transparency over all your customer data in realtime. 

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Stats & Studies

Finance, C-level managers and sales are usually the main users of BI solutions in companies (source: Forbes).

Data integration, data warehouses and data preparation are the most pressing issues when it comes to BI (source: Forbes)

Smaller companies usually have less issues adopting BI tools than midsized or large corporations (source: Forbes). This quite likely stems from the fact that midsize and larger companies tend to have a lot more data.

If the CEO of a company drives the analytics topic, the likelihood of achieving business goals increases by 77% (source: Deloitte).

According to a survey by NewVantage Partners, 73% of all US-companies have issues with the adoption of big data solutions (source: via businesswire.com).

How do you pick the right BI software?

According to a BARC-survey of more than 2500 people across 88 countries, companies often choose their BI applications based on criteria that do not always guarantee success (source: via it-finanzmagazin.de):

  • Cost efficiency
  • Software flexibility
  • usability

Now, these criteria are all good and make sense, however, BARC also identifies additional criteria that are crucial to ensure that the BI software actually fulfills its purpose:

Big data management

Especially midsize and large companies have amassed massive amounts of data which a BI tool needs to be able to process with ease and speed. Additionally, it should be able to consolidate and structure different data types to make sure that the BI project does not immediately come to a halt because the data is not compatible with the solution.

Read, how the bank Stadtsparkasse München got rid of excel tables and manual data entries in favor of a Power BI-supported solution for automated and smart data processes.

Use Case

Fast proof of concept

Since a BI project can be cost- and resource-intensive, a convincing and fast proof of concept is needed to show the company that the solution is worth the investment.

High innovation potential

The development of BI and AI has been astounding in recent years which makes it all the more important that any BI vendor has the resources and ambition to be on top of new trends, further develop their solution.

When choosing the right BI software, companies need to include all these different criteria into their requirements catalog. If they can, they should include an analytics expert into the decision team.

Aside from typical integration and compliance topics, it's also absolutely crucial to know what you actually want to achieve with the new BI solution. Real use cases can help to visualize what the solution has to achieve and they can support the decision making by asking vendors if and how their solution can cover them.

Did you know that Microsoft offers many options and functionalities as part of its Dynamics 365 as well as Azure and Power BI Cloud to create and leverage your company's data? Find out more.

Digital with Microsoft

by Juliane Waack

Juliane Waack is Editor in Chief at DIGITALL and writes about the digital transformation, megatrends and why a healthy culture is essential for a successful business.

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