What Makes Good Business Intelligence Software?

Marek Koenig specializes in Business Intelligence, SharePoint and Custom Development.

Marek Koenig

With the amount of data within an organization growing by the minute, it can be challenging to make sense of it all. A data analyst may have a good understanding of what is really going on, but would a C-level employee be able to do the same? It all depends on the set of business intelligence (BI) tools being used.

The goal of a BI tool should be to quickly provide meaningful insights into your data. This can be done by extracting, manipulating, enriching, and extrapolating on various data points. A good piece of software will meet certain expectations (some of which we’ll explore below).

Data Integration
A mature organization typically consumes more than one data source, whether it’s SAP, Oracle, or SQL server; having pieces of technology that don’t natively talk to each other can be a headache. A good BI tool-set will allow for various forms of integration, such as pulling information from a web-service, a database, or text files. Preferably, you would want this integration to be simple and that it could be performed without the need of an expansive team.

No two people or even departments have the same preferences for how to display a report/dashboard. There are people that like to see a set of pretty charts and graphs, and there are people that enjoy sifting through pages of numbers. The varying levels of detail provided through a tool needs to be tailored to each individual set of requirements. A CEO may want to see how the entire company is performing, while a local manager may want to see his personal metrics.

The level of complexity of a tool is paramount to its adoption by end users and developers. From my own experience, I can tell you that if I’m constantly discouraged and challenged by a particular tool, I may be turned off from returning to it. This can happen anywhere if a new piece of software is introduced without any training. For BI to be successful in an organization: it requires a low barrier of entry, needs to be backed by a strong community, people will need to be trained, and you must have other people to lean on (virtual or not).

How do you want people and applications to react to new information? Can your BI solution provide predictive data or alert key individuals of specific trends? If the monthly sales quota is trending to fall below 50% of last month’s sales, will the sales lead be notified? A solution that doesn’t provide actionable results may not be providing its full potential.

Cost is one of the most important facets of any tool-set; if the tool is perceived having good value for the insights and data it can provide, then a company will be most likely to adopt it. But, if the cost is too high, then you may not even be able to get your foot in the door.

Does the tool that you use meet your expectations?

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About marek koenig
Microsoft consultant specializing in BI, SharePoint and custom development.

One Response to What Makes Good Business Intelligence Software?

  1. loopslike says:

    He is one of the best supervisor in his industry. I like him for his strategy. It is really amazing and hopeful.

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