Ask any leader today if they want their organization to be more data-driven, and the answer is likely to be yes. In fact, this demand for more insights at every level of an organization is one of the top trends in analytics, especially as we face continued economic uncertainty.
Making informed business decisions is no longer a luxury – it’s a requirement for every business, in every industry. The world of business analytics can provide meaningful, valuable insights that can help organizations make better decisions and create more value. The challenge, however, lies in unearthing these insights from all various data sources, and presenting them in an understandable, meaningful way - often through data storytelling - that enables the business to take effective action quicker than ever before.
This is where enterprise business intelligence (BI) comes into play. From providing access to interconnected data sources to helping visualize results for easy consumption, these comprehensive platforms offer value at every turn for businesses of all sizes and industries alike. Read on as we discuss what makes up enterprise BI.
Enterprise business intelligence (BI) is a type of software solution that uses data analysis and other tools to provide users with insights into their businesses. It helps organizations make better decisions, improve operational efficiency, reduce costs, provide more accurate sales forecasts, and gain competitive advantage by infusing data into decisions across the board. BI solutions can be used to analyze customer data, market trends, sales performance, financial information, production data, and more, turning this data into meaningful insights that can inform a company’s strategies.
Enterprise BI platforms have been around for years. While the first generation of tools focused on perfect reporting (think Cognos and Business Objects), the second generation of tools focused on visualizing this data. Today, however, the most valuable enterprise business intelligence tools go beyond visualizing data, empowering everyone, not just data professionals, to serve their own insights through familiar paradigms like search and AI.
Here are some of the top features you should look for in a modern enterprise business intelligence platform:
We all use search daily in our personal lives to ask and answer questions. The best enterprise BI tools allow users to do the same with data, so users can search using natural language queries. These queries are then converted into SQL queries and run against the underlying data sources. This allows users to quickly and easily explore their data and get insights without needing to know complex SQL queries. BI and data teams are then freed from endlessly updating dashboards and reports, and able to focus on more strategic data initiatives such as analytics engineering and data modeling
Simply getting an answer to the questions you know isn’t enough for BI tools today. A new must in enterprise business intelligence is using artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms to automatically suggest insights and recommendations based on user queries, usage patterns, and other behaviors from other similar users. This can help users identify trends, anomalies, and correlations in their data that they may have missed otherwise. With tools like SpotIQ, you can instantly get suggestions on additional searches or further explorations as you go with the power of AI. As people search to analyze their data in ThoughtSpot, SpotIQ learns what’s important and tunes its algorithms to provide more relevant insights.
In the decade of data, data is everyone’s job. Self-service BI capabilities allow all kinds of users, not just those who know SQL or programming languages, to ask and answer their own questions without relying on IT for assistance. By saving data analysts time and IT resources, analysts can work on more value-add projects. This empowers users across the enterprise to access and analyze data, leading to improved collaboration and decision-making in a much faster way. The most powerful of these tools, such as ThoughtSpot Sage, provides this self-service in natural language, so users can interact with data as easily as they chat with a colleague.
Once you’ve found insights, having a BI platform that can present these through interactive visualizations in a Liveboard instead of a static dashboard is critical to taking insights and turning them into action everyone can understand. This enables users to easily create charts like bar graphs and histograms, charts, and tables to represent their data and gain a better understanding of trends and patterns. By making them interactive, you can explore or drill into data, right from the visualization, until you or your users find the answer they need.
There’s a reason data security and governance remains top of mind for data leaders. An absolute must for enterprise business BI platforms is providing robust data governance and security features, including role-based access control, data lineage, and audit trails. This ensures that sensitive data is protected and only accessible to authorized users.
Tools that cannot work natively with your cloud data platform are going to hold your BI strategy back. Pick a BI platform that integrates with a variety of data sources, including databases, cloud data warehouses, data lakes, and any other kind of data your business relies on. This allows users to easily access and analyze data from multiple sources without having to switch between different platforms. The best platforms like ThoughtSpot offer this as a native connection, so no data is cached or copied, meaning insights are always as fresh and accurate as the underlying data.
Business intelligence is not a solo sport. You will want an enterprise BI platform that provides collaboration features that enable users to share insights, reports, and other analytical content with others. Users can also collaborate in real-time and leave comments and feedback on shared content, including being able to collaborate outside the BI platform in tools like Slack and Teams.
There are numerous benefits to implementing enterprise business intelligence within an organization. While companies have sought these benefits for years, legacy BI tools have made them more a vision than a reality.
However, with the rise of cloud ecosystems delivering the modern data experience with an enterprise BI platform like ThoughtSpot is finally possible. Here are six key benefits of doing so:
Modern enterprise BI provides decision-makers with real-time, accurate, and relevant information to make informed decisions, when and where those decisions are made. This can lead to faster decision-making and a more agile organization overall. This information is presented in an easily understandable format, such as charts, graphs, and tables, which help executives quickly identify trends, patterns, and anomalies that can lead to new or different courses of action. This enables them to make informed decisions that are backed by data and insights, rather than relying on intuition or guesswork.
With the right enterprise BI solution, leaders can gain a comprehensive view of business operations and performance. By analyzing data from various sources, decision-makers can identify areas where they are excelling, as well as areas where they need to improve. This can lead to increased efficiency, reduced costs, and improved profitability. It’s critical to have a true, single source of truth in your data to avoid conversations of whose view into business performance is better, so look for BI tools that let you view all your business data in its entirety, instead of requiring you to cube, aggregate, summarize, copy, or cache it.
In business, time is money. Enterprise BI that’s built on self-service can help automate routine tasks and streamline business processes, giving data teams time back to work on more important, strategic projects while empowering business users to immediately ask and answer their own questions. This helps everyone get more time to focus on their areas of expertise without sacrificing data-driven decision making.
At the end of the day, the best way to delight customers is to understand them. By analyzing customer data, enterprise BI can help organizations identify trends and patterns in customer behavior. This can lead to improved customer service, targeted marketing campaigns, and increased customer loyalty.
With shorter and shorter cycles of creative destruction, every ounce of competitive advantage matters. With the right enterprise BI, organizations can make data-driven decisions faster and more accurately than their competitors. By gaining insights into their business operations and industry trends, companies can identify new opportunities, make better strategic decisions, and optimize inventory and processes.
Enterprise business intelligence is the key to business performance, allowing decision-makers to immediately access information and act on it in a timely manner. With the right platform, decision makers can access data in real-time, find insights quickly and accurately, as well as have access to data that generates deeper value. Furthermore, using enterprise business intelligence also has various benefits such as increased efficiency, improved accuracy of decision making, cost savings and improved customer service.
The right solution, however, is essential in capturing these benefits and avoiding the pitfalls that have kept the BI industry from delivering on its promise of data democratization. Tools that can connect directly to the modern data stack, empower business users not just data professionals, and let you leverage the best in data modeling are critical. ThoughtSpot is the leader in AI Analytics, bringing all of these capabilities to your data and taking your BI efforts to the next level. If you’re looking for an enterprise business intelligence platform that’s easy to use, try out ThoughtSpot's free trial today. Start revolutionizing the way you get insights from your data.