How Do You Know If You Need a New BI/Analytics System?

This article will help organizations identify signs that they need a new Business Intelligence system.

Trend in Business Intelligence for H2 2015

Today, plenty of large organizations, as well as small and medium-sized companies, are stuck using old or manual Business Intelligence (BI) tools that are in desperate need of a replacement. BI translates to technology-driven processes for analyzing data and presenting information that will help companies improve the decision making processes at all levels of management. Well, how do you know if you need a new BI/Analytics system? You should begin by constructing the right set of questions. What tool(s) does your organization have to have right now? What are your BI goals, and what is your schedule for building the BI toolbox to meet analytical goals? Also, outdated BI systems show several warning signs such as wasting time, harming decision-making, and keeping organizations from taking advantage of their data.

Let’s take a deeper look into these warning signs. If you have data, but you don’t get the information you need from it, then it might be a sign that you need a new BI system. While companies have become experts at collecting data, they seem to be forgetting that data is not the same as information. Information is data that has been changed into a meaningful context that gives insight to decision makers. If you’re lacking real information, you may need help analyzing data into actionable information, and this is where the power of BI comes in. The strength in BI is that it increases the ability to identify trends and issues and fine-tune operations to meet business goals.

If your current system is limiting you and your company from making smart choices for your business, you probably should invest in a new BI system. This covers ease of use, flexibility and collaboration. If you are going to put time, money, and energy into implementing software you should invest in a system that is not too difficult for you and your company to use, or you will have to involve the information technology (IT) department to maintain the product. In the past, IT departments controlled the company’s data, and creating reports required a good amount of technical knowledge. Today, there is no need to limit reporting without help from the IT team. Look for a solution that is user friendly for professionals. Also, modern BI systems are designed for the end user to access the exact information they need when they need it without having to wait for assistance. Flexibility is about how you can access your company data on the go whether it may be on-premises, web-based and mobile-based. As for collaboration, BI software should offer collaboration as a key functionality for BI processes.

Next, you will most likely need a new BI/analytics system if your company is growing rapidly and is relying on spreadsheets. BI delivers real-time, accurate data when you need it, and spreadsheets often do the opposite. For example, one of the growing pains organizations experience is when they hit a scalability wall with Excel. Excel can become sluggish when reports and spreadsheets contain more data than it was built to handle. In a growing business, you will need a system that enables real-time data sharing and updating. Having an accurate view of a bigger picture with a BI tool that can combine data from multiple data sources will make a clear analysis of your data no matter how large the size.

That said, my recommendation to you is to take a look at a key component of BI analytics: the tools. Depending on what your organization needs, basic tools such as reporting, planning, dashboards, and data warehousing can make all the difference. Reporting tools are vital to remaining competitive in your industry, making smart decisions while building the business and the brand. Financial reporting is such an important process that you should see what the best option is for your organization as well as what fits into your BI strategy.

Data integration options, platform choices (Excel, Web, and/or proprietary), and ease of use are things to consider when investing in a BI tool. Planning tools include budgeting and forecasting, and are offered by Independent Software Vendors (ISV) to streamline the organization’s planning processes and accelerate budgeting and forecasting by inviting secure collaboration into the process. Planning outlines the company’s financial direction and expectation, budgeting notes how the overall plan will be executed, specifying expenditures, and forecasting uses historical data to predict financial outcomes for the future. Planning consolidates financial data, which can make it easier for decision makers to produce more accurate budgets and analysis.

Dashboards are top proprieties in terms of software that executives are seeking. Why? Dashboards make consolidating information into digestible bits easy. With dashboards, you have access to graphs, charts, and scorecards that illustrate trajectories, victories, and challenges through key performance indicators (KPIs) and your information to effectively keep a project or the entire company on track.

Data warehousing is a powerful technology to organize and strengthen analyses. It focuses the interaction through organizing by topic, such as customer, sales, or product. If you are unsure whether your company needs this tool, consider the different types of data your organization will have to manage. It may be challenging to manage all of your different information separately. Many organizations consolidate their information in Microsoft Excel, but a data management tool such as a Data Warehouse (DW) can get rid of errors, wasted time and money, and tedious manual documentation. DWs are becoming more popular because businesses can consolidate multiple types of data into one high performing space without needing IT to manage the software. Also, financial reporting, dashboards, and budgeting software are becoming extremely popular in the Cloud as they allow professionals to access, manage and analyze data from anywhere as long as they have internet connection.

Some software, such as the BI360 suite, offer a complete Excel and web-based suite, comprised of reporting and budgeting, dashboards and a pre-configured DW. These signs above may help you make a decision on whether or not you will be needing a new BI/analytics system.

Solver enables world-class decisions with BI360, a leading web-based CPM suite made up of budgeting, reporting, dashboards, and data warehousing, delivered through a web portal. Solver is reinventing CPM with its next generation solution. BI360 empowers business users with modern features including innovative use of Excel in the model design process. If you’re interested in learning more, our team is excited to hear about your organizational needs and goals.

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