Different organizations will invest in a Business Intelligence (BI) solution for different reasons depending on their specific circumstances and industry.
Regardless of individual agenda, here are six features you should insist upon in any BI solution, no matter the circumstances of its application:
1. Executive dashboards
Personalized Dashboards deliver relevant, easily understood real-time data to business leaders, enabling faster and better decision-making whilst lowering response times to internal and external events. Executives need access to personalized dashboards that deliver easy-to-understand KPIs and summary information on a regular, scheduled basis. Additionally, exception reporting should alert the executive to unexpected events and scenarios that require action. Personalized data delivery means executives are able to make decisions quickly, without any guesswork, and without having to wade through irrelevant information.
2. Location Intelligence
Location Intelligence is the ability to map and visualize data in geographical formats. Exploring and visualizing data sets based on spatial elements enables organizations to understand their business operations from new perspectives, such as sales per region.
3. “What if” analysis
“What if” analysis allows businesses to assess the potential effects of critical business decision before they’re actually made. Using existing data, users can formulate strategies to achieve business targets and avoid the default “hit and miss” approach. This helps management undertake accurate strategic planning.
4. Interactive reports
Interactive reports help users convert data into knowledge. They allow users to better understand the analysis within reports, and the underlying data those reports are based on, to support better decision-making. User should be able to:
Drill down and through reports
Conduct slice and dice OLAP analysis
Apply analysis such as moving averages and regression to highlight trends in data
Use time-series zooming to scan large data sets to understand anomalies in their data
Use conditional formatting to set data alerts which highlight data exceptions
5. Meta data layer
A meta data layer makes reporting easy and eliminates the need for coding and SQL, allowing users and report writers to see and access information in simple business language. Users solely interact with data at the meta data level without having to comprehend the complexities of the underlying data or database.
6. Ranking reports
This feature allows you to create reports that order specific categories of information, from across multiple dimensions, by selecting specific criteria. Ranking reports let you view the best and worst performing aspects of your business. For example, you could create a report that ranks your 10 best selling products, regions or sales people.