Tap into the data goldmine: 5 benefits of the next generation of BI tools

Posted on Monday, February 22, 2016
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By Lissa Jackson
BI & Analytics Business Development Manager


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The two most important things a company has are its people and its data. Business Intelligence (BI) and Analytics tools have long been the preserve of IT departments and have turned the information derived from your data into a precious commodity. However traditional BI and Analytics solutions could be cumbersome and siloed making it very difficult to gain valuable insight, especially with data growing at the rate that it is today. Instead organisations need a robust, agile and flexible solution to address this. New, next-generation tools hand back control to everyone who needs information, not only making it more readily available, but turning it into a valuable and tangible asset that drives smarter decision making.

If you're yet to consider the impact these latest tools could have on your business, then you're neglecting potentially game-changing technologies. For those new to the arena, here are our top 5 reasons they're worth a closer look.

1. It cuts out the middleman

Where once there was a time that data analysts were locked in the basement of all businesses, their sole purpose to pour over an organisation's data, the newest generation of BI and Analytics tools are designed with the wider business population in mind. They are focused on granting access to data relevant to the user and empowering them with intuitive tools to generate information. Opening BI to the masses in this way essentially cuts out the middleman. Business users can now keep their own dashboard and perform self-service analysis, without any knowledge of scripting typically associated with analytics tasks.

2. Empowers users to make quicker business decisions

As the new generation of BI tools make information more readily available for business users, it enables business decisions to be made more swiftly. Users know the information they seek far better than an analyst might, so armed with tools to generate it, the right information is produced more regularly. Similarly, for the first time, business users can also turn to each other to obtain information as they seek to collaborate on better business outcomes.

3. Helps make IT an enabler

Continuing with BI as a detached backend process naturally creates a divide between the users and IT, especially when hard to obtain information is demanded quickly. Users perceive getting the information they need as a 'dark-art' whilst IT is continually pressured to 'come up with the goods'. Alternatively, using next-generation BI tools, IT can be seen to contribute more positively to business creation by putting powerful, easy to use technology in the hands of the users. Doing so, IT teams are increasingly seen as an enabler and not an obstacle to progress.

4. Provides a single version of the truth

The challenge for many businesses using traditional BI tools is that they are operating in silos and looking at very narrow datasets. As a result, they don't present a single version of the truth for a business. Information is unreliable, frequently not in real-time and prone to human error. To this end, organisations using such tools are potentially making critical business decisions with only a fraction of the information available to them. The next-generation of BI tools however, pull every single data source at your disposal into one user-friendly platform. In many ways this allows you to go beyond analytics, performing business discovery, which identifies associations, correlations or trends in your data that would not have been possible before. All of this is presented through an interactive interface unlike those associated with tools of old.

The new BI and Analytics tools don't stop there either – not only can you gain access to all of your on-premise data, but you're also able to tap in to a goldmine of new data sources like social media, Google BigQuery and Google Analytics. 

5. Mobile and adaptable

More than ever we are operating in a mobile first world. It is therefore imperative that all BI tools are mobile-ready just like your other key applications, whether in the cloud or on premise. The newest tools are just that – ready to go straight out the box. No integration, no re-architecting of applications and no costly redevelopment.

Deploying these new tools is very straight forward without any prior knowledge or training. Some of our customers don't believe it until they see it, when I say it's possible to install and start interrogating your data in minutes. The simplicity and accessibility of the interfaces means users can be up and running in not much longer too.

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To learn more about the latest Business Intelligence and Analytics tools or to find out more about how Softcat could help you, speak with your Softcat Account Manager or get in touch using the form below.

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