Geoffrey Moore, an American organizational theorist, management consultant, has rightly said: “Without big data analytics, companies are blind and deaf, wandering out onto the web like deer on a freeway.” While the market has a growing variety of vendors for BI tools due to technological advancement, every tool is distinct in its own way. The overall picture may be comprehensive and a flashy demo may convince you that it is the right one, but to pick wisely businesses have to remember that the subtle differences between the tools are the main markers to be carefully considered.To evaluate these differences, one has to first understand the business requirement and question the intricate aspects to get a better insight into the tool’s hidden limitations. Any tool that you pick should primarily be able to organize the surplus data and aptly generate business charted analysis or reports. There is no one model that can be used like a “super brain” to comprehend the business requirements and generate data on its own will.
Some of the basic questions to address before zeroing would be:
1) Is the tool shallow in collating data?
Allow the business requirements to predetermine the tool’s function because a tool is an aid to the business and not the other way round. As most BI tools just look at the individual organizational silos and tend to miss out on collaborating coherent information, an ideal BI tool should collate information from the entire business operation, analyze the core functional areas, compare data from multiple types of ERP and external data sources, and then generate a consolidated analytical model that involves all the intricacies.
2) Does the tool generate a mere report or engage analysis?
Businesses, most often, fail to see the difference between a summary report and an analytical report. The generated report should be able to map through all the different sectors and at the same time, the collated information should not be just a data mesh. Well, sorted data generation should be the key component for proper functioning in a BI tool.
3) Is the data current or time-stale?
The tools used in any form of business should generate data that is updated to the current numbers. If this is absent, then the data generated would be just figures of the past rather than the present. The tool should be well equipped to spontaneously downsize essential data in order to ensure that the business stays in the competition and does not get backlogged.
4) How fast is the tool and how flexible it is?
An effective BI tool which can turn out spontaneous reports with the collated information is a major advantage for proper projection of growth and damage control in an organization. Any tool that takes days to churn out information will be of no use to the business. Besides, just like technological evolution, the tool should be technically adaptable to the market trends as tools become easily outdated within few months at times.
5) How soon can the BI tool be put into play and is it an all in one package?
While most organizations pick ready to use services, building custom BI tools should be quick too; as otherwise, the business would be overlaying progress without the requisite projections. Also, there is no one tool that fits the ideal package. Hence, businesses can try out trial runs and then pick one that fits their parameters and tweak the little details through their IT department in order to ensure that their needle in the haystack is sorted out.
Have you evaluated your BI tool on the above criteria? What are some primary factors you consider while evaluating Business Intelligence tools & services? Sigma’s BI services ensure flexibility on BI tools which are suited best for your business. Do leave your thoughts in the comments section below.
Author: Nagraj Rao
Nagraj leads the BI practice at Sigma. With over 12+ years of experience in the Services Industry, he has in-depth knowledge on many diverse technologies, Implementation Services and Practice Management. He is passionate about BI & Open Source technologies and loves sharing his views around them.