Data is the new oil, and like oil it needs to be refined before it can be used. Business Intelligence software is the right tool to put data in context when and where it’s needed.
With the flood of products competing for attention, though, even the sharpest executives can fall prey to options paralysis.
Below are the best tools for handling data in every department.
Chief Information Officers (CIOs) are responsible for creating business value through technology.
They make data actionable and translate it for their organization’s specific information requirements.
CIOs need tools that cover as many BI functions as possible to limit operational complexity.
Sisense is a comprehensive BI solution that collects data from a wide collection of sources, stores it in one place, allows for intense analysis and customized visualization of results, and makes it easy to share data within an organization.
Sisense is popular with CIOs for several reasons. It provides real time data analysis with a single point of truth.
The software is simple enough for non-technicians to operate.
System Administrators can customize dashboards for different needs and access levels. Sisense connects with most data storage platform and can import data quickly.
Sisense shines as a BI multi-tool, covering most functions a CIO would need.
Here's a breakdown of standard BI needs and the percent Sisense can handle:
In all of these areas Sisense surpases the industry average coverage ratios.
There are two main drawbacks, however. Sisense has limited workflow options. Admins can customize individual dashboards, but sharing them with subordinate users is difficult.
Sisense also has slightly reduced support options, covering 6% fewer support functions than comparable software.
Chief Marketing Officers (CMO) track data to ensure marketing priorities are aligned with larger organizational goals.
They have a rainbow of responsibilities which translates into a wide range of potential technology choices like AdWords, HootSuite, HubSpot, and MailChimp.
That makes it hard to narrow down recommendations, but there is one tool commonly preferred by experienced CMOs.
One of the first SaaS CRM solutions, Salesforce has had time to mature into a dependable option for tracking and managing customer interactions. It offers marketing automation and lead nurturing tools, too.
Salesforce is quick to set up and runs in the cloud. Mobile versions for smartphones and tablets let employees work on the go while synchronizing their data across devices.
CMOs with special requirements will appreciate how customizable Salesforce is, with a variety of analytics widgets that can be configured however necessary and intuitive dashboards that provide real-time data.
Because of its maturity and established quality, most incoming sales team members will already be comfortable with Salesforce. Training costs are typically lower while adoption rates are high.
The downside of extreme customization is that it can get pricey. Charges for third-party widgets and extra features add up.
Salesforce can also be too complex for companies that don't have a high or steady volume of data to track.
It has to be mentioned that Salesforce’s tech support has a reputation for being hard to access.
There are third-party vendors who handle tech support for businesses that have trouble getting through to Salesforce.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) has oversight over the entire company’s operations. They need enough detail to make informed decisions without getting too bogged down to see “big picture” trends.
Recommendation: Microsoft Power BI
Power BI serves as a “front page” of the various analytical tools being used within a company.
It connects with the majority of analytics tools and databases being used today including Google products like Google Analytics, Microsoft products such as Excel, Azure SQL Database, Oracle, Salesforce, MailChimp, and more.
Programs that aren’t supported can be “bridged” to Power BI by a software developer.
Using these connections, Power BI facilitates data preparation tasks. It helps create and distribute reports throughout the organization.
Power BI’s impressive visualization tools offer a good selection of options for creating and customizing charts.
Power BI operates on a freemium model with plans that start as low as $10 per user. It has a large, active support community.
Because it’s backed by Microsoft, it receives consistent maintenance and upgrades.
The concern with Power BI is that while it’s easy to get started, it can be complex to master. There are so many features that deciding which to use for a specific purpose takes time.
It has trouble importing massive datasets, too, though users can get around that by migrating their data into an SQL server.
Finding The Right Tool For The Job
These are intended as broad-spectrum business intelligence tools that will assist most tasks within a department.
No one tool can do everything, and off the shelf software necessarily focuses on broad appeal rather than niche functions.
To get complete coverage, consider combining tools or building a custom app for more exacting requirements.
Business Intelligence separates major players from little league enterprise.
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