How to Evaluate Business Intelligence Tools

July 29, 2017
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You are browsing this article as your business is booming, so first of all, Congratulations. The BI (Business Intelligence) tools are the replacements for the traditional clutter an employee or even a CEO has to go to. In the age of software development, there are tons of BI tools available. Evaluating them and making a decision is important. The available packages of BI Tools cost from thousands to a few hundred dollars. These business intelligence tools are loaded with different basic features for your employees as well as with some advanced features for the top management.

For the selection of business intelligence tools, one can browse the CVs of their employees for some experience in the field of BI. These employees can help them evaluate BI products. It is easier to have a software which even employees with basic skills can operate, ease of work and less money on training more people! A brief bifurcation of features of BI tools is given below to help one evaluate Business Intelligence tools according to their requirements.

Essential Features

Here are some general software that are mandatory for any Business Intelligence package.

1. Spreadsheet Support
2. Integration across wide database (a wide support makes the software versatile)
3. Two-factor Authentication for better security
4. Executive dashboards
5. An integrated ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning Software)

Advanced features

Advanced features are exclusive to packages. These optional features are to be paid for use.

1. Multiple Device Integration (makes your data universally accessible)
2.Integrated Data collection ( data collection from social networking sites, customer history, etc.)
3. SMS or email alert system
4. Advanced Reporting and Visualization
5. Artificial Intelligence-inspired What-if analysis

Choosing a software according to company requirements is the priority. Many BI providers have different versions of software packages (free, basic, enterprise,etc.). These versions are priced according to the features enabled within each package. Hence, It is wise to decide on basis of prime requirements of the software. It is not necessary that a software with more advanced features is always useful. You might end up with more capital cost to the company as well as an increase in maintenance cost due to increase in hardware.

Here are some tips to help you evaluate the best Business Intelligence Tool according to your requirement:

Mode of software installment

The mode in which software is deployed is a primary concern for any company. The resources of the company are used according to the type of installment: Cloud-based services, Customer Premise installment or SaaS.

➢ Cloud-based services are rampant. Under this package, the software provider manages all IT resources and maintenance. The company can operate all these tools remotely on the internet.
➢ Customer Premise Installments or offline software services are generally opted by the corporations which tend to have better spatial and better IT resources on their premises.
➢ SaaS (Software as Service ) is a service provided by an Application service provider(ASP). Here the ASP hosts the software remotely and users can access it through licensed subscriptions. No additional hardware is required under this mode.

Integration with other products

Software products employed by companies vary from each other. Before selecting your business intelligence tool, check for compatibility of your software products with your respective BI software. Integration and Import-Export of data from various software products like Excel, PDF etc. should be supported.

Level of Usage and Scalability

Ease of analytical use is a must. But, it is even better to settle for a product after defining the criteria for the user: information consumer, business analyst, IT or any other. Scalability is another important requirement. Knowing the scalability in terms of both the number of concurrent users and data metrics such as volumes, variety, and veracity helps in deciding the product.

This brief classification is a basic guide to help you choose your BI package and expand your business. The ideal Business Intelligence Tool varies from business to business; select the best for your requirements. Happy growing!