Look for These 5 Business Intelligence Tool Attributes to Effectively Drill Into Big Data BI tools are to businesses what brain is to body, which is why selecting the right one is the key.

By Pratik Dholakiya

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


A shrewd business person is the one who sees the big picture, understands the scheme of things, predicts future trends and takes decision based on that. A few years back, this was achieved simply by keeping one's eyes and ears open.

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However, with the constant influx of information and big-data explosion, it has become well-nigh impossible for decision makers to do all these without the help of business intelligence (BI) and big-data tools. BI tools are to businesses what brain is to body, which is why selecting the right tool is the key here.

Business intelligence tools come in all shapes and sizes even though all of them are designed to help business users to glean insights from data. A good BI tool doesn't dump data in our laps but like a good elementary teacher guides us through our next steps. Here are some BI attributes or parameters based on which you can decide if a BI tool is worth its salt or not.

1. Visualization

This is the number-one characteristic that a BI tool must have. Visual data representation is extremely effective for self-serving businesses who are looking to reduce IT dependency. Panorama Necto 14, an infographics-based BI tool, helps make sense of data chaos in a visually appealing way. The infographic-based data representation gives a welcome relief from confusing charts and Excel sheets, making it easier to take decisions quicker.

2. Drill-down data

Drilling down data means delving deep into the data, so that you can get exact answers filtered by time, location, source and other factors. This is a very important feature with the increasing pressure of real-time decision making. It allows you to get down to the nitty-gritty in just a click, saving hours poring over spreadsheets.

Case in point, Kyvos allows you to drill down to the lowest levels of details. So, if you want to get details of sales by a particular sales rep in Houston in the month of May, it will help you find the answers instantly by drilling down and narrowing your search as much as possible.

3. Suggestive Intelligence

What good is a BI tool if it doesn't apply its data knowledge to suggest the way forward? Think of suggestive BI as Google for your organization, but only smarter. Suggestive intelligence can be used to explore patterns and suggest solutions based on existing data.

For instance, if you are wondering why your Tokyo sales figure looked dismal in the month of January, it will find relevant people amongst thousands of employees who are fit to answer your question. This brings us to the next point -- collaboration.

Related: You Can Become a Data Scientist. Yes, You.

4. Collaboration

BI tools enable you to find the right people who can give you answers quickly without sending you on a goose chase or holding endless conferences and meetings with your teams. For instance, you share the infographic which shows the dismal sales in Tokyo to suggested marketing and sales people. These are the people who hold the answers to your question and solve your query instantly.

Furthermore, a good BI tool provides you with seamless collaboration features to facilitate decision-making. Whether you want to analyze data, view your team member's dashboard, share and discuss data infographic, you should be able to collaborate with team members from within the system. This ensures all of you are on the same page and you get qualitative or quantitative insights.

5. Predictive Intelligence

Business is a lot like life -- both are ever-changing and unpredictable. Both throw surprises at you at every turn and force you to make a decision. In life, our years of experience and inner voice guides us to decisions. But in business, resorting to inner voice is not acceptable. This is why predictive intelligence is an important attribute for any BI tool.

For instance, Mattersight helps call centers comb through silos of conversation data and assign a predictive score. This can help improve operational performance, create a personalized experience for customers and reduce customer churn.

So which tool is right for you?

Most BI tools possess one or more of the attributes discussed above, for instance, Kyvos Insights is good for drilling down, but it sucks at visual representation. Panorama Necto solves most of the business pain points, but its predictive intelligence could be improved. Mattersight is good at predictive intelligence but is restricted to the call-center industry.

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You need to select the right BI tool based on the aspects that are most important to your business. As long as it solves your business challenges and some more, it is the right BI tool for you.

Pratik Dholakiya

Founder of Growfusely

Pratik Dholakiya is the founder of Growfusely, a content marketing agency specializing in content and data-driven SEO.

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