The larger an organisation gets, the more unwieldy it becomes. The situation grows in difficulty and complexity when expanding to multiple locations or getting into multiple divisions covering different industries which all need monitoring and understanding.
For managers that must make real-time decisions to redirect their operations in response to customers’ changing needs, market movements, and altered real world realities, accessing predictive data is essential to have confidence in their decision-making abilities.
Turning Data into Useful Information
The problem that businesses have is that they often have too much information. This is the same kind of problem that Google wrestles with daily. They try to make their search algorithm the best it can be at interpreting a person’s search query and providing the most relevant websites and pages that will satisfy their search request. The issue for businesses isn’t much different.
Companies have the data in many cases. It’s scattered throughout files, documents, spreadsheets, databases and other places. What they don’t have is an effective way to pull all the data into a single solution that lets them understand what it all means. And that’s business intelligence software in a nutshell.
Visualising Data in New Ways?
While it’s possible to turn data in Microsoft Excel into a glorious graph that uses all the data in that spreadsheet (and perhaps several others) into a single visual, this isn’t so easy to do when the data is stored across different data stores and various file formats. At that point, you’ll come a bit unstuck.
Not every software that was used to create the file offers complex graphing or analytical tools. So, you’re left with data scattered across various files and databases and a complex job of enabling all the tools to talk together nicely.
Pulling Data Together in One Place Isn’t Easy
There are various ways to connect different types of databases together, like using an ODBC data connection, but even then, it’s software talking different languages which doesn’t always end well. A central tool that’s designed specifically to access data from a variety of incompatible databases and file types is the way to go. At that point, you’re no longer relying on different software to play nicely together or have graphing and internal data analysis because it’s all done in one place for you.
The idea of business intelligence software is so obvious, it makes you wonder why someone didn’t think of it before.Well, they did, but it’s taken a few years for the software and the artificial intelligence to catch up with the level of sophistication required by businesses that needed complex data analysed in a sophisticated manner to provide real insights from raw data.
Choosing Your Business Intelligence Software is Hard
The process of picking the right business intelligence software for your company isn’t an easy one. It takes time to appreciate what each package offers. There are many software vendors from the big names like Microsoft and SAP to smaller vendors who each have their pros and cons. It’s best to get some help in understanding your business needs and which software package will best match them.
For growing businesses, business intelligence is a great way to improve company results by optimising your products and services faster to match changing demands. When many of your competitors are already utilising this type of software, your business cannot afford not to.