Business Intelligence Software: On Industries, Support & Services
Companies need BI software solutions to quantify their industry-specific metrics and present them within dashboards and visualizations that can be easily interpreted and manipulated. Each industry has its own key performance indicators (KPIs) and accepted standards for analyzing and presenting data. For example, in marketing, it’s common to present data pertaining to revenue, return on investment (ROI), and cost per lead. However, in the field of operations, it is customary to deliver data in terms of throughput, cycle time, and bottlenecks. In these two examples, the steps for analysis and approach to visualization are worlds apart and echo the importance of working with providers that develop software within your specific industry.
New trends develop as changes in enterprise goals emerge. Solution providers are quick to adapt to these shifts in thought and practice, and are typically swift in innovating to create new product features which support their customer’s changing demands. The majority of providers are involved in many of the same popular spaces, such as Big Data, the cloud, advanced data analytics, data visualization, mobile, and self-service. It’s important to match the mix of features that exist within your BI solution to your company’s strategy in order to handle new market trends.
There is nothing quite as frustrating as a BI tool that doesn’t work. Solution downtime leads to losses in productivity, overhead cost, customer satisfaction, and revenue. It’s been well-documented that the time it takes to deliver measurable results from BI is much longer than what is expected by business managers. Adding in downtime created by poor support makes the time it will take to deliver business results from BI unacceptable. That said, professional, effective, and reliable user support systems are vital to any top-notch solution.
Each solution provider differs in what they offer, but they all provide something in terms of third-party management tools. Some of the vendors will assist you in installing, deploying, and configuring your new BI solution. Others don’t offer setup services, but supply advisory services on how to properly fit their software into your existing ecosystem. The Business Intelligence landscape is evolving in real-time, making the challenge of finding and deploying the right solution a difficult one.
The lines that used to define solution categories in the enterprise are beginning to blur. Technologies that were once considered staples of BI and analytics software are no longer adequate in the age of big data. As a result, solution providers have had to alter to their product portfolios to meet the needs of companies dealing with pressure associated with an increase in data volumes. In order to fill the gaps that larger vendors have left due to this market shift, innovative startups have emerged to offer capabilities once left to specialized software providers.
Traditional BI providers continue to offer dashboard and reporting capabilities that have remained staples to the market since widespread adoption of data analytics began more than a decade ago. Disruptive newcomers are bringing new technologies to the table so that organizations can take full advantage of data. These product capabilities are prevalent among the lesser known providers.
The BI and analytics marketplace is mature and crowded with excellent software tools for a variety of use cases, verticals, deployment methods, and budgets. There are very large providers we refer to as ‘mega-vendors’, like Microsoft, Tableau, Qlik, SAP and IBM. There are also lesser-known innovators with interesting products that play in niche areas, such as ThoughtSpot, Logi Analytics, Pyramid Analytics and ClearStory Data.