Better business intelligence leads to smarter business decisions, yet many companies continue to rely on outdated equipment and practices. Some do it because they can’t find room in the budget. Others don’t even realize they have options. With a new year on the calendar and more intelligence tools on the market than ever, company leaders can’t afford to enter battle in the 2020s using last decade’s weapons.
Types of Business Intelligence Tools
Check out these critical types of intelligence tools every business needs in the new decade:
You may know where to find your data, but do you know what that data says? With smarter reporting tools, you can understand the insights lying hidden in your activities and use that knowledge to make better decisions for your company.
For example, many businesses rely on a group purchasing organization (GPO) to get access to discounts for supplies and services. The savings make a big difference, but businesses can save more by using business intelligence reporting tools to evaluate their spending patterns and see where they may be spending more than the industry average. GPO and software company Una offers a great spend visibility and procurement strategy tool to replace spreadsheets and make it easier for businesses to understand their financial positions.
Dashboards identify relevant information and present data in clean, easy-to-understand formats. For business owners and executives who spend hours poring over spreadsheets, a good dashboard tool can dramatically accelerate the decision-making process by highlighting the most relevant data points.
Because not all business leaders know how to code, Domo offers an excellent dashboard tool to connect to hundreds of data sources with no coding required. Users of Domo can drag and drop dashboard widgets to customize their views and use built-in tools to generate quick visualizations for presentations. The best business intelligence tools take away the manual labor of strategy so business leaders can focus on big goals instead of small headaches.
3. Predictive Analytics
Speaking of strategy, predictive analytics tools help businesses anticipate potential shifts and make proactive moves before the rest of the market responds. SAP, a major provider of business intelligence tools, offers predictive analytics software that can help leadership teams test theories before they try them in real life.
All businesses take risks, but smart businesses know how to minimize their exposure to fallout before they make a move. With predictive analytics, companies can let predictive models take thousands of shots at a new idea before implementing that idea across the business. Greater understanding of the risks, rewards, and challenges likely to arise along the way empowers companies to move quickly and confidently.
4. Data Exploration
Even the smartest business intelligence tools leave a few things to chance. Some tools extract helpful data but don’t know how to categorize it. Others may not handle data sourcing with as much power as the competition, but they can turn chaotic pools of data into more digestible chunks. In the era of business intelligence self-service options, data discovery tools allow businesses to model and examine their data through a smarter lens.
Looker takes a different approach to data exploration. Many business intelligence solutions require companies to staff data analysts. But Looker makes it easy. Anyone can use its in-browser tools and self-service portals. A smart modeling layer beneath the surface ensures that users see exactly what they need to see. This empowers them to drill down into important data sets. They have no need for a specialized education to understand how. Looker integrates with several major databases, such as HP Vertica and Oracle, so companies don’t have to switch up their back ends to use it.
5. Data Cleaning
Companies with no data are better off than companies with bad data. Your business intelligence suite may be smart. But not even the smartest tools can do everything themselves. Say you’re running accurate simulations on opening a new store in Paris, Texas. That won’t help you much when you try to drum up business in Paris, France.
Data cleansing tools prepare data sets for analysis. They get rid of false, incomplete, duplicated, outdated, and otherwise questionable data points. Smart tools can even fill in the gaps in incomplete entries. For example, they add the zip code on an address without one. Sisense is one example of a business intelligence tool with a variety of uses. It urges businesses to clean data thoroughly before relying on insights delivered by business intelligence tools. Sisense’s solution incorporates data cleaning into larger processes. So it generates more helpful suggestions and reports.
The pace of technological advancement continues to accelerate. New types of business intelligence tools will arise to meet new challenges. The tools get smarter. And the greater advantages go to the businesses that use them effectively. Keep an eye out for new types of business intelligence tools. And don’t be afraid to explore your options.
This article, “5 Types of Business Intelligence Tools You Didn’t Know You Needed” was first published on Small Business Trends