Are You Getting the Most Out of Your Business Intelligence Software Application?

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Neal Sherman
By Neal Sherman
Apr 21 2014

A data-driven business intelligence software application can provide key insights to business users, but overly complex solutions and long implementation times continue to hamper adoption.

Some anticipated BI trends are highlighted in a recent blog post by BI Software Insight and it’s clear that access, ease-of-use and flexibility are top trends.

The reality is that the best solution is the one that people can actually use, and the new breed of BI applications that embody this ethos are increasingly winning in the market over traditional tools.

Provide Insights, not just Data With Your Business Intelligence Software

In the retail industry, retailers and vendors face an ever-growing workload; accordingly, BI software applications targeting this industry must focus on respecting everyone’s time and resources.

Eliminating confusing interfaces and data overload, and delivering clear and concise information that users can easily understand and utilize is critical.

A key element to this approach is data visualization, which summarizes massive amounts of information in a way that is intuitive to business users.  Whether pushing issues to the forefront with alerts, or creating visual cues for areas of concern, a leading edge business intelligence software application ensures that users have a more productive understanding of what drives their business.

Empower Business Users

It’s not enough to have a business intelligence software application; rather, it’s important to have a BI tool that stakeholders can easily use.

Traditional BI toolkits and platforms are aimed at a small handful of super-users in the company who analyze the data and present it back to the individuals who are supposed to ultimately take action.

This inefficient practice causes long lead times between problem identification and resolution.  As a result, the original objective of enabling smarter decision-making by leveraging the organization’s data is never fully realized.

The new generation of business intelligence solutions offers key benefits:

  • Powerful insight is provided to those who can drive outcomes
  • Self-service analytics tools are intuitive and easy-to-use
  • The value of the data is unlocked not just in theory but in practice

Enable Stakeholder’s User Interface Needs

Furthermore, BI solutions must recognize that there is no one-size-fits-all user interface.

Different business roles use big data in different ways, so it is not surprising that they require their own view of information.

For instance, a Category Manager working out of a corporate office might make day-to-day use of a comprehensive web interface; in contrast, a field sales rep can use the GPS and camera functionality built into a mobile app to make more efficient and effective use of his or her time in stores.

Focus on Quick Wins to Drive Adoption

Traditional BI toolkits can provide tremendous flexibility and functionality — but only after months of planning, customization, and user training.

The sooner you can get something useful into the hands of the user, the more likely your project will succeed.  Users are happy to have functionality rolled out over time so that they can start benefiting from the solution immediately.  In particular, vertically tailored solutions that can provide industry standard metrics and reports out-of-the-box tend to get people engaged and happy quickly.

Ultimately, you can’t benefit from something you don’t know how to use.

In order to get value from a business intelligence software application, it must be usable by the people in the company who require the data to make decisions.

Rather than relying on overworked analysts to interpret mission-critical data or embarking on an expensive custom deployment of a traditional BI toolkit, look to the new wave of BI solutions that business users can quickly and easily adopt to start improving your business results.

Your turn

Are you using a next generation business intelligence software application? If not, what challenges are you currently facing? Do these best practices resonate?

Share your thoughts and questions in the comment section below and be sure to share this post if you found it useful.

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