Tips For Choosing The Right Business Intelligence Software

With as many choices as there are on the market for Business Intelligence software, trying to navigate the waters as to what to choose can be harrowing. Open-source, proprietary software, ETL– the choices are endless. And, with the speed of software development, new solutions are constantly coming on the market. As you think about which software to purchase, there are many options to consider. Here are a few tips for choosing the right Business Intelligence software.

Unhindered, Real-Time Data

On-demand, real-time or near real-time data is a critical feature to include in any Business Intelligence implementation. Knowing a problem, challenge or opportunity has arisen immediately in your business is key to your ability to respond to it. Look for alert features that can email you when a critical juncture has occurred. And, on-demand features can allow you to pull cached reports that you use repeatedly. Having these reports at your fingertips gives you a snapshot of your business processes as they happen and can assist you in establishing short and long-term goals, as well as evaluate areas for process improvement.


Don’t forget to consider scalability in your Business Intelligence technology. While there are many “Cadillac” brands of Business Intelligence software, consider whether or not you need all the features that are offered. These features, while providing flexibility, can also represent more cost to smaller and mid-sized companies. Features such as ETL (Extract, Transform, and Load) can be expensive and can require maintenance contracts and a consultant to operate them. On the other hand, open-source Business Intelligence software can be virtually free and still offer pertinent data management and analysis for businesses in their daily operations.

Data Visualization

If you are just getting started, consider Business Intelligence technology that provides data visualization. While the creation of metadata (data about your data) sounds good, it also
requires statistically savvy consultants to interpret it, costing you and your organization more money. If your Business Intelligence software can create histograms, charts and graphs, it may be easier for your workforce to evaluate the data on their own. That is one of the important benefits of data visualization.


Finally, it is absolutely critical to pay attention to overall cost. Business Intelligence technology should help you protect your bottom line and your employee resources, while giving you an excellent return on investment. Some Business Intelligence software requires user-based licensing and maintenance fees, while others are simply billed based on a flat fee. To start off, you may want to consider a flat fee service that is flexible enough to grow with your organization and avoid licensing fees that can run into the six figures. For smaller to mid-sized companies with concerns about overall cost, look for user-friendly Business Intelligence software that you and your staff can implement with a limited amount of help. Open-source software solutions are additionally a cost-effective place to start when considering a software purchase.

Certainly, choosing Business Intelligence software can be a real challenge. But, by carefully considering factors such as unhindered, real-time data, scalability, data visualization and cost, you will be well on your way to choosing the best fit for your organization’s needs.