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Ten Benefits of Business Intelligence Software: Page 2

By Drew Robb     Feedback
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5. Real-Time Decision Making: In the old days, data warehouses were used to aggregate data from different lines of business and departments. Business intelligence tools provided a unified view of operations for managers in order to identify opportunities for growth and efficiencies.  But this type of approach is losing ground to systems that make executive decisions in real time on the basis of current data.

"Rather than static analysis of past operations, modern Big Data platforms bring analytical capabilities to operational data in order to make decisions as business happens," said Crystal Valentine, vice president of Technology Strategy at MapR. "It is the desire to push past traditional intelligence and reporting capabilities that has driven the decline of legacy data warehousing technologies that we are seeing in the market. At the end of the day, insights are great but the ability to act on those insights in real time brings greater business value."

6. Everyman Analysis: As consumers, we now consume orders of magnitude more information compared to previous generations. The rise of the search engine and the smartphone made the world's information accessible to anyone on a 24/7 basis. New business intelligence technologies are positioned to bring similar changes to the business world.

"Historically, companies would spend many months trying to answer even a simple question that could easily be answered by the company's own data as getting, preparing and analyzing data were complex and manual processes," said Tomer Shiran, founder and CEO of Dremio. "In the next few years we'll see a major transformation in the world of data analytics, which will enable any business user or analyst to answer any question at any time."

7. Data Visualization: It's all very well to compile lists of important data points or use spreadsheets to organize and make sense of data. But executives, salespeople and business users demand instant insight, and that is being provided more and more by visualization tools. Increasingly, these offer a wide range of ways to view information.

"Also, as more data sources emerge, additional ways to visualize data are appearing," said Andy

McCartney, director of Product Marketing, Information Builders. "We have a large selection of visual formats and chart types, from deep ESRI integration to matrix charts to graphic variables to a comprehensive HTML5 chart library to custom D3 charts."

8. Self-Service Business Intelligence: Self service is a major benefit of modern BI and data visualization tools, said David Abramson, director of Product Management at Logi Analytics. Users have been able to leverage self-service visualization tools to create basic charts and graphs for some time, he said. However, this has proven to be inadequate for users who want to dig deeper into the data.

According to Abramson, advanced self-service capabilities enable users to create visualizations that are much more complex (e.g. trends, forecasting and complex calculations), diverse (e.g. geo-spatial visualizations, funnels and heatmaps) and interactive (e.g. support for real-time streaming data, custom filtering and user-defined drill down layers).

9. Mobile BI and Enhanced Information Access: It has become the norm in the consumer space to be able access the information you need, when you need it, regardless of time or place. For some time, therefore, business users have demanded the same functionality for enterprise apps. And BI has been quick to come to the party.

"The right data at the right moment can help clinch a deal, make an extra sale, serve a customer better and retain business that would otherwise have been lost," said Martha Bennett, an analyst at Forrester Research. "Whether it's liberating existing dashboards from the desktop, or re-architecting entire workflows around mobilizing key business data, many organizations are reaping the benefits of mobile BI."

10. Customized Apps with Built-In BI: Off-the-shelf BI and analytics tools don’t fit every use case, said Boris Evelson, an analyst at Forrester Research. Consequently, he has observed more users building customized applications with embedded BI and data visualization components. This is important as it takes design of visualization tools, in particular, out of the hands of BI specialists and allows those utilizing those tools to decide how they want to consume information.

These implementations include custom-coded BI apps, customized applications based on off-the-shelf BI platforms, and BI components embedded in operational and transactional applications.

This article was last updated on September 16, 2016
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