Collecting, analysing, and understanding data is vital for making the right decisions for your business. Traditionally, it was the job of highly trained, not to mention expensive, data analysts.
But not any longer. There are now many tools on the market that can analyse far more data, far more efficiently than their human counterparts.
Employing these tools empowers you to make better decisions faster, helping you to keep that edge over your competitors.
Two types of Business Intelligence tool
Broadly speaking, Business Intelligence (BI) tools come in two forms:
1. Full-stack business intelligence tools
Full-stack tools are designed to solve the specific problem of enterprise data silos. A lot of business data is stored in a range of places and full-stack tools consolidate this into usable insights.
2. Data discovery and visualisation
Data discovery and visualisation tools, however, discover patterns in large data sets and build easy-to-understand visual representations of those trends.
In this article, we investigate the eight of the hottest BI tools on the market, to help you make sense of what they can do.
1) SAP Business Intelligence Tool
SAP Business Intelligence is a powerful data discovery and visualisation tool. It analyses data from multiple sources within your business to produce valuable insights around customer behaviour as well as business performance.
The platform offers advanced analytics solutions including real-time business intelligence, predictive analytics, and machine learning, helping directors to make much more informed decisions in the short, medium, and long term.
2) IBM Cognos Analytics
Although all business intelligence platforms analyse data to some extent or other, few do it as comprehensively as full-stack BI platform Cognos Analytics.
As with other tools, you can visualise, analyse, and share insights as to the basis for better decision making, but it is the AI aspect that really sets this platform apart.
The AI helps to uncover hidden patterns in your data that other tools might miss. It takes analysis to another level, bringing you insights you could never have guessed were there.
Data sets produced by ongoing employee expenditure are huge and very difficult to capture, especially if you’re still using a paper receipt and excel based reporting system.
Expensemate creates a uniform, centralised and enriched repository of expense data that brings complete clarity to employee expenses.
It empowers your employees to be more productive by removing the need to collect paper receipts and submit claim forms and gives transparency and control to the business directors.
Expensemate also integrates with accountancy software packages, meaning you can assess the impact of staff expenses on your cash flow, bottom line, and wider business performance.
Data discovery tool QlikSense is a very popular and useful business intelligence platform because it is optimised for touchscreen, making the user experience effective on mobile devices.
A great innovation with QlikSense is Storytelling. Data storytelling is a way for users to add a narrative to the data via their own experiences, to emphasize the most important aspects.
By doing this, the data becomes even more powerful at gaining stakeholder buy-in, or for making insight-based business decisions.
Full-stack platform Sisense is a great tool for the less technically experienced members of your company.
Sisense combines all the benefits of other BI tools with such a user-friendly interface so that anyone can use it to analyse big data sets.
Sisense takes data from platforms such as Google Analytics, Ad Words, and Salesforce, and processes it to give actionable insights.
If you’re new to business intelligence tools, Sisense is a good place to start as you don’t need a degree in data science to use it!
6) Salesforce Einstein Analytics
This BI tool from Salesforce has been designed to help companies manage their sales cycle more effectively, automate repetitive tasks, and help close deals quicker with advanced analytics, reporting, and forecasting.
The platform connects data from sales, marketing, finance, billing, and service teams to build a complete picture of your customer acquisition and retention performance.
It then uses that data to create actionable insights around how to improve.
ThoughtSpot functions like a search engine in the sense users type in questions as they would Google or Bing.
However, behind the interface is a search and AI-driven analytics platform that gives incredibly precise answers, as well as extrapolating patterns and trends from the data set you asked about.
The software is powered by the ThoughtSpot Falcon, which the company describes as the world’s fastest number cruncher, able to analyse hundreds of billions of rows of data at extreme speed to bring near-instantaneous results.
Although the majority of the BI tools on this list create data for the company using them, GoodData aims to revolutionise how companies share data with customers, partners, franchisees, or subsidiaries and employees.
It works by integrating the software into workflows. GoodData enables you to provide data analytics to the brands and suppliers you work with, promoting a common understanding of how to best drive revenue.
GoodData even enables businesses to create a whole new revenue stream by creating free and paid tiers to data insights based on the information your clients may find valuable.
Get BI smart
So, what are you waiting for? By adopting relevant BI tools, you will streamline your entire operation and get deep insights into where your business could improve.
Actioning these insights will lead to efficiencies and growth and ensure that you keep the edge over your competitors that you’ve worked so hard to achieve.
For more ideas on how to level up your company, check out our article on business dashboards.