The success of any business intelligence implementation lies in choosing the right tools. The self-service BI market has exploded in recent years, providing organizations of all sizes with nearly endless options. This has leveled the playing field, putting advanced BI tools within financial reach of SMBs, and has freed up IT teams from the bonds of complex report generation. However, choosing the right tools can be complicated.
Criteria For Choosing BI Tools for Your Company
Regardless of the size of your company or your industry, these are some of the most important considerations when choosing BI tools.
Web-based interfaces. At this point, web-based interfaces should be non-negotiable when choosing a BI tool. Anything else is simply too impractical to justify the cost.
Security. Keeping data secure requires role-based security and user-based security to ensure employees can only access the information they need for their job. It makes little sense for the marketing team to have access to customer payment information, for example. While most self-service tools have boosted these features in recent years, IT teams will almost always have to add additional role-based security layers from the existing network, system and databases.
Data Sources. A BI platform should be able to read all of your data sources. You’ll want to ensure access to basic things like text, comma-separated value files, Excel, and XML. If you utilize tools like Salesforce and NoSQL databases, it is important to evaluate interoperability with those platforms, as well. If the BI tool must import data into its own sources, this could slow down analysis speed.
Filtering and drill-down features. A BI tool is only valuable if users can access information quickly and easily. Self-service tools should allow users to filter data using simple tools like drop-down menus. It should also allow them to drill-down and back up with ease. If these processes are complicated and require the assistance of the IT team, it negates the purpose of leveraging a self-serve platform.
Data blending. Effective BI tools allow users to blend data from a variety of sources. If data remains siloed, it will be impossible to achieve efficiency or accuracy.
Flexibility and scalability. Before choosing any BI tool, understand how flexible and scalable the product is. Organizational needs change rapidly and it will be necessary for the tool to grow and adapt with those needs.
Making BI Tools Work For Your Company
If your company is planning to implement a new self-service BI platform and you are looking for top talent to support the project, partner with the recruiters at Talon. We can connect you with the best tech pros in the market who will help you achieve your goals. Contact us today to learn more.