Every business gathers some raw data. Business intelligence (BI) is the process of converting that data into information the business can use for decisions making purposes. BI solutions provide you insights into business performance, commonly focused on measuring the effectiveness of marketing campaigns. Using BI tools, you can get a clear picture of your business performance and make tweaks to your current campaigns and processes. The BI solutions in the analytics and intelligence segment aim to give you a competitive edge in the market.
Business intelligence software helps turn raw business data into actionable intelligence to help organizations make more informed business decisions. The software usually collects data from within the company as well as external sources, then transforms, re-structures and analyzes the data, generating reports and making the key findings available to decision makers through dashboards and easy-to-digest data visualizations.
The right business intelligence software not only improves decision-making but also helps businesses identify market trends, problem areas and opportunities, optimize business processes and improve operational efficiency while responding quickly to unforeseen situations if any.
Often, business intelligence software combines a variety of data management, data analysis, data discovery and reporting tools. Some notable features include online analytical processing (OLAP), predictive analytics, data mining, data quality management, data visualization, text analytics and the ability to extract, transform and load (ETL) data.
BI software is no longer used by IT professionals only. Thanks to the development of new user-friendly applications, even non-IT staff and business executives are using these products to analyze data nowadays.
Business Intelligence solutions often combine a broad set of features into one application. Almost every product comes with some features for data management, data discovery, data analysis and reporting. What features you need depend on your data volume, data collection process, and how you want to manage and analyze data.
For instance, if you collect data from various outside sources regularly, you may need advanced data management features like Extract, Transform and Load (ETL) to standardize and centralize your data. Once this is done, you’ll need data mining features to identify patterns. At this stage, you may also use online analytical processing (OLAP) tools to analyze your multidimensional data from different points of view. For instance, you can analyze your sales figures by year or store location.
Predictive analytics is another important feature that lets users consider potential risks and opportunities before making a final decision. It is also important to consider the reporting capability of a product and to check whether the software provides multiple reporting options. For instance, you may need custom and ad-hoc reporting capability, a dashboard for real-time view of your operations and advanced visualization features for creating graphs and charts that are easy-to-read .
Other important considerations include self-service capability, mobility, ease-of-use and the integration capabilities of the product. It is also worth checking security features such as how the program supports varied menu options for different user groups or individuals, or if it provides role-based access and single sign-on features.
|A/B Testing||Run split tests for websites, emails, ads and more by serving different versions of the content to different users.|
|Analytics||Analyze and gain insights from data including web traffic, campaign conversions, sensoric output and more.|
|API||Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) are programmatic intersections with external products or platforms that allow for custom integrations with your own solutions or other solutions you are using.|
|Conversion Tracking||Track signups, purchases or user actions to measure the effectiveness of marketing or advertising campaigns. This is often used to optimize inbound or outbound marketing efforts and improve sales conversions through a range of online channels.|
|Customer Management||Manage customer databases and/or track outstanding shipments, payments and more.|
|Dashboard||Dashboards are digital interfaces commonly used to visualise data or give quick access to important features and functions of online platforms. They often serve as an overview gateway in software applications.|
|Data Export||Exporting functionality can be used to streamline the migration of data sets and information across systems, platforms or applications.|
|Data Import||Importing functionality allows you to use data sets from other systems or platforms to cut down on data entry requirements or to more easily migrate records from similar applications you have used in the past.|
|Data Visualization||Data visualization features render a visual interpretation of data sets through the use of charts, infographics and other visual cues generally in form of a reporting dashboard.|
|External Integrations||Integrations with other software products or platforms to improve efficiency and compatibility across systems.|
|Forecasting||Forecast upcoming expenses, sales, revenue, user levels, etc. through the use of predictive methods and past data.|
|Inventory Tracking||Stay on top of inventory levels, to manage the storing, reordering or production of stock items.|
|Keyword Tracking||Track keywords for Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Search Engine Marketing (SEM) or item tagging purposes.|
|Link Tracking||Track link performance to your own or to competitor websites.|
|Multi-User||Supports more than just one user account and generally allows for collaboration with colleagues.|
|Notifications||Includes notification support and sends you alerts with information on important events and other time sensitive instances. For example through push notifications on mobile phones or email notifications.|
|Project Management||Manage projects from conception through the planning stage to delivery and post-project reporting phases. This allows organisation teams to organise resources, plan budgets and improve efficiency in the delivery of project objectives.|
|SEO||Search Engine Optimization (SEO) refers to the process of producing content or optimizing and promoting webpages to improve their ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs).|
|Supplier Management||Manage suppliers and purchases required in the day-to-day operation of a business.|