In properly managed enterprises, Business Intelligence is becoming an integral element of operations. If used correctly, it may increase competitiveness and improve market position.  To help potential buyers, we will explain some essential issues about Business Intelligence, present leading solutions related  to data warehouses and top providers of data visualisation and discovery.

The market providers may be divided into two groups:

– pure-play providers who concentrate on individual product and business areas of tools they offer and focus particularly on  business recipients

– mega-vendors who have a significantly wider range of tools that include such elements as data warehouses, visualisations, analyses or even planning and budgeting.

When deciding between the two types of BI providers, a company has to “stock take” the tools and technologies it has in use. If there is a data warehouse or repository already in place or if a company uses BI class tools, then it may be unjustified to implement a new technology of BI mega-vendor for e.g. data visualisation and discovery. On the other hand, for organisations who decide to implement a BI system for the first time, it would be reasonable to consider a provider that offers traditional integrated solutions. Usually, however, such solutions are far more expensive and require more time for implementation.

Is it necessary to have a data warehouse?

The validity of creating EDW has been lately called into question. The integrity of data becomes unworkable or difficult to achieve due to the variety of new sources of data, in particular, unstructured data from social media.  To address this variety of data and ever-changing business needs, the Hadoop software has been developed. Hadoop enables a company to collect data for analysis from traditional relative bases or data warehouses without the need to use a schema. Considering the diversity of unstructured data, it has become increasingly popular in the Business Intelligence environment to integrate with Hadoop. However, before selecting a data warehouse provider, the best practice would be to conduct a proof of concept. In this way, both parties have the opportunity to assess potential issues or the level and quality of cooperation prior to actual implementation.

To visualise or not?

Data visualisation is one of the most popular Business Intelligence tools. It allows for accessing reports without the need to engage the IT department. Visualisation tools may also include such analytical functionalities as data modelling and uploading, which enable an organisation to predict future behaviour of its clients and to quickly respond to it.  In many cases, visualisation tools offer the possibility to analyse unstructured data and to integrate with Hadoop.

Solutions for small and medium businesses

Traditional Business Intelligence solutions offered by global providers may be out of reach for small and medium enterprises due to the need to build data warehouses. However, as the in-memory processing expands, many systems allow for storing and processing of large volumes of data using the RAM, without the need to have a centralised data storage. Data analysis does not have to exceed data volumes to be effective. Based on data from weather report services combined with transactional data, it is possible to build knowledge about clients’ behaviours. This kind of analytical intelligence may still explore great business opportunities for an organisation.

Leading providers for the SMB sector are Qlik, Tableau or Birst. They offer data analysis and visualisation to ensure that insights and data transparency are available when they are needed the most.

Want to learn more? Download the newest Marketplanet’s report – What to focus on when choosing a Business Intelligence tool:

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