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People can utilize business intelligence platforms to import, clean, and analyze data from various sources, such as databases, emails, videos, and survey responses.
To succeed in the fast-moving business world, today’s organizations must be data-driven, and promote a data-driven culture.
Leaders need a modern business intelligence platform that helps everyone see and understand their data to do so.
For too long, business intelligence systems have perpetuated segregated silos of information. All those disparate systems have kept us from seeing all relevant data, in one place, in context.
And all those costly repositories make it nearly impossible to extract real enterprise value across the whole organization.
Business intelligence platforms are more than business analytics software packages. They support your organization’s BI strategy by making it easier to access and analyze your data.
Business intelligence tools and platforms come in several forms for varying business needs.
Companies looking to provide data services to business users will find self-service BI software will meet the needs of most of their users.
What Is A Business Intelligence Platform?
Enterprise intelligence refers to the total of all of the relevant information available to an organization, and the organization’s ability to extract real value from all of that data.
A business intelligence platform—or BI platform—serves as a foundation for development teams to get analytics projects off the ground faster than coding everything themselves.
An enterprise intelligence platform combines what were traditionally three separate product categories for data and analytics into one seamless experience: data integration, data storage, and processing, and analytics designed to meet the needs of both data consumers and data operators.
How Have Business Intelligence Platforms Changed?
Legacy business intelligence (BI) systems have traditionally only focused on internal data from record systems like sales, supply chain, personnel, facilities, CRM, etc.
Business intelligence has traditionally taken the form of quarterly or yearly reports that report on a defined set of key performance indicators (KPIs).
Still, today’s BI reporting software is backed by data analytics tools that work continuously and at light speed.
Enterprise intelligence integrates relevant data from those internal systems, and fuses it with all the external data sources available to the enterprise.
Why Is An Enterprise Intelligence Platform Important?
The strategic use of business intelligence (BI) can benefit an organization.
BI plays an essential role in how your company operates and ultimately grows from day-to-day decision-making to forecasting for the future.
Business intelligence platforms enable people to import, clean, and analyze data from databases, emails, videos, survey responses, etc.
The other benefit of making this data flow so easy to manage is that you don’t need a highly technical background to query data and create reports.
A business intelligence platform is especially beneficial for embedded analytics projects that require highly customizable options and quick release times.
These data analyses provide mobile, desktop, and real-time business intelligence so decision-makers can act on insights to improve their organization.
Application teams facing a business intelligence project often struggle with the “build vs. buy” dilemma.
This often boils down to faster releases that offer minimal customization with a third-party product, or more custom and tailored releases that take longer because they are code intensive and built from scratch.
What Is Online Analytical Processing (OLAP)?
Online analytical processing (OLAP) uses multidimensional databases to enable users to query data warehouses and create reports that view data from multiple perspectives.
OLAP gives business intelligence software the ability to combine data, drill down into single metrics, and view data for combinations of single metrics.
The best enterprise business intelligence platforms allow you to ask and answer questions immediately for on-the-fly decision-making.
They also help power insights with advanced analytics and statistics. You get a strategic, top-view look at the data, but you can also dig into the granular details.
Business Intelligence vs. Google Analytics
Where an analytics tool collects and presents data for analysis, a business intelligence tool uses a broader range of business data to predict trends and outcomes.
This is an important distinction to understand, but it’s also worth knowing that the line between analytics and business intelligence platforms has blurred significantly over the years.
Competitive Intelligence vs. Business Intelligence
Choosing A Trusted Business Intelligence Partner
When choosing the right BI platform for you, consider who you will work with.
As you evaluate business intelligence platforms, choose a company whose core mission is to empower people to be data-driven.
Has the company invested years of research and development into its analytics platform? Does its history indicate the company will continue to innovate?
Does it prioritize user experience to help customers drive adoption? Rely on the experience of your peers.
Their passion and enthusiasm directly indicate the success they’ve had with the product.
What Is Oracle Analytics Cloud?
Analytics Cloud is advanced analytics and business intelligence system that helps you turn data into insights faster.
This is one of the most comprehensive all-in-one analytics and BI solutions on the market right now, which means the platform takes some time to get used to.
Another standout feature of Oracle Analytics Cloud is data publishing, making it easy to share and embed reports anywhere you want.
However, the platform’s data preparation features are a little flimsy, and this is a good lesson in how important good data prep is.
The software will warn you that imported data needs sanitizing when issues are detected.
Still, you have to dig into reports to find out the issues and often check many settings to diagnose the root of the problem, which can slow you down.
One of the most popular features of a BI platform is the ability to create and customize dashboards.
People can create modules, graphs, and charts that they can update in near real-time. Dashboards can also be published on separate, internal platforms.
Easy Access To The Analytics Platform
Your corporate BI platform should integrate seamlessly into your existing data structure and give you the flexibility to connect to all your data on-premises or in the cloud.
You should also be able to access your data from any device or operating system, whether that’s desktop or mobile, Windows or Mac.
Your platform should allow you to access and analyze your data, live, without downloading it.
You should have the ability to query your databases quickly with little to no coding effort.
Your BI platform should also give you a choice to deploy your analytics wherever you want—in the cloud, on your local server, or hosted off-site.
Formerly Periscope Data, Sisense is an API-first cloud technology that allows you to build your analytics apps.
So this isn’t a ready-to-use analytics platform but rather a toolset for building analytics software, whether it’s for your own business, clients, or to sell as a product.
Qlik is a data intelligence software provider that offers a range of tools for data analysis.
The company offers two core products: QlikView, its standalone analytics tool, and Qlik Sense as integrated analytics and business intelligence platform.
Built specifically to help with sales, marketing, finances, staffing, and support services, InsightSquared is perfect for detailed insights about specific aspects of a company’s operations.
In addition to data analysis and reports, InsightSquared also allows you to forecast closed business deals, sales success rates of certain salespeople, etc.
Looker is a 100% browser-based data discovery platform that integrates with any SQL database or data warehouse.
This infrastructure means Looker is significantly faster to set up than local BI platforms that rely on desktop apps and on-site servers.
Microsoft Power BI
Microsoft Power BI takes a more holistic look at business performance – whatever that means for your organization.
Microsoft’s industry-leading AI technology spots patterns and trends that your in-house teams might miss – or, at least, spot them sooner.
Microsoft platform also pulls in data from third-party sources, which means you’re not only relying on your owned data to make business decisions.
For example, you can compare financial performance against market trends to see if changes in revenue – whether positive or negative – reflect market shifts.
Tableau’s innovative drag-and-drop visualization builder for creating custom reports lets you make them the way you want them to look.
You can securely share interactive dashboards, keep on top of data with alerts and subscriptions, and use storytelling to share insights.
Who Uses Business Intelligence?
More and more, BI users aren’t IT staff; they’re employees with a standard amount of technological savvy that want to harness the power of cloud BI to get a competitive advantage.
Consequently, the design of real-time reporting mechanisms and ease of use of analytics platform functions are driven toward a lower access barrier.
What Is Natural Language Processing (NLP)?
With so much data in unstructured form, text analytics should be a key consideration when researching the best business intelligence tools.
Natural language processing (NLP) software, also known as text analytics software, combs large sets of unstructured data to find hidden patterns.
NLP is fascinating for businesses that work with social media.
What Are Conversational Analytics?
By analyzing human speech, both written and verbal, conversational analytics uses artificial intelligence.
Conversationally ask questions – and get instant answers, data visualizations, and explanations – with natural language processing and generation.
Open-Source BI Tools
Open-source BI tools are often very customizable.
Many organizations, especially smaller organizations, turn to open-source software to suit their data mining and ad hoc reporting needs.
However, when evaluating platforms, consider the total cost of ownership. Don’t simply base your decision on the price tag.
Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning
Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are computing trends that have touched nearly every corner of the technology industry because of their abilities to spot patterns and learn from existing data.
Machine LearningUse machine learning algorithms to automatically reveal relationships, hidden patterns, and outliers in your data – and go from insight to action faster.
What Does Predictive Analytics Do?
Predictive analytics forecast trends and performance using artificial intelligence.
You can create your dashboards and visualizations, and use AI to detect hidden patterns, conversational search, collaborate with team members, and share data/reports.
Should You Switch To Enterprise Intelligence?
Your current systems have their place and relatively narrow, potentially crucial roles to play.
But real enterprise intelligence value can only be created by seeing all relevant data, understanding what it is telling you, and taking intelligent actions based on that data.
Look for customizable sales dashboards, tools to organize resources, revision history, and search functions, so it’s easy for everyone to find the right data every time.
BI platforms are just one, albeit important, part of your tech stack, which means it needs to work well with all of the other tools you use.
That includes where it gets data from (like we covered earlier) and where you send your dashboards.
You need a corporate BI solution that works seamlessly between users and departments within a larger organization.
The platform should also provide a straightforward way to publish, distribute, and share insights—even with outside clients.
Additionally, a best-of-breed business intelligence platform offers turnkey analytics security that integrates seamlessly with the application’s existing infrastructure.
You can utilize business intelligence in your business to gain a competitive advantage and ensure you’re making the correct decisions.
Business Intelligence Is Continuously Evolving
Enterprise business intelligence platforms provide a higher capacity for data management and analytics. Using data to create a holistic view of the business can lead to critical efficiencies.
As big data — the tendency for companies to collect, store, and mine their business data — has gained prominence, so has the popularity of BI software.
Finding an enterprise business intelligence platform with the right capabilities is essential to using your data efficiently and effectively.
Companies generate, track, and compile business data at a scale never before seen.
And the ability to integrate cloud software directly with proprietary systems has further driven the need to combine multiple data sources and take advantage of data preparation tools.
But corporate BI is continually evolving, so choose a platform that prioritizes innovation.
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