Employees of IT departments have become overburdened with the duty to prepare complicated and laborious reports that often fail to meet their final users’ expectations. It is due to the number of exploited systems and databases involved. Consequently, there is a growing need to implement Business Intelligence solutions integrated with systems operating in the company.

A challenge to business

Analyses and reporting based on information available to a company is becoming more and more complicated due to the number of systems and databases involved. In addition, companies frequently lack data standardisation, which results in different departments of a company giving various answers to the same question. Moreover, standard reports introduced to traditional transactional systems are difficult to configure and offer limited options of data visualisation, whereas complicated and laborious reports by IT departments seem to be insufficient. How can a company deal with these challenges? One of the answers is Business Intelligence solutions.

The unknown potential of BI

For the last few years, we have noticed a growing interest in information technology solutions, but not many companies are aware of the possibilities offered by BI solutions. This may be due to the fact that entrepreneurs follow some untrue opinions about analytical platforms.

A trendy gadget or a practical solution?

The first unjustified claim about Business Intelligence tools is that these are only “toys” for management and directors. BI systems should not be treated solely as trendy gadgets. In fact, those applications effectively fulfil the purposes they were designed for and support searching for associations in data to present invisible or unrevealed trends. Apart from management, the BI solutions are helpful to regular employees by offering the possibility of internal communication and assistance in making operational decisions.

Not only for large companies

It is also incorrectly assumed that BI systems are practical only in large corporations, while the truth is that they may also be effectively applied in medium-sized and small companies or family businesses.

Can ERP be an alternative?

Some entrepreneurs fail to see the difference between reporting modules contained in ERP solutions and Business Intelligence applications. BI tools are characterised by greater flexibility and a wide range of possibilities to configure reports. Additionally, analyses performed using such an application are fast, responsive and address the requirements of business as oppose to analyses created with traditional reporting tools implemented into transactional systems.

An investment with real benefits

Potential users are often concerned about high costs related to the implementation of Business Intelligence solutions and the requirements connected with the architecture of equipment. The experience of many companies show that expenditures incurred to purchase an application should be treated as investment in better understanding of numerical data, which in a long term will directly result in the company’s increased profitability.

Available in the cloud

The concern that an application will not function in the cloud is unfounded. Companies that provide BI tools also offer the possibility to create analyses and reports online, using tablets or smart phones. More importantly, the mobile use of analytical platforms has been a leading trend in developing this category of applications.

At the same time, it is worth to emphasise that Business Intelligence solutions will not cure all problems of a company. Applications are designed to support decision-making and not to actually make the decisions. That is why, a competent and skilled analyst needs to be there to draw correct conclusions.