Business Analytics Made Easy

BI softwares help you fine-tune business metrics and make strong decisions. Read a guide on business intelligence/analytics and ensure your company’s success.

Business intelligence (BI) and business analytics (BA) are similar methods with often-confused, subtle distinctions between them. Both BI and BA are used to improve the overall efficacy of your business. Both also help improve your company’s key performance indicators (KPIs), which help your teams and staff members build successful strategies for improved and future success.

Free BI analytics softwares are available in addition to paid software and services. Multiple useful features in common BI analytics software programs help you and your staff fine-tune detailed business metrics, predict/recognized market trends and make informed, intelligent decisions. Read ahead for a helpful guide for making business intelligence/analytics easy and improving your company’s success in 2021.

Comparing Business Intelligence and Business Analytics

Choosing the best software and/or services to improve the operation and success of your business depends a lot on your understanding of the differences between business intelligence (BI) and business analytics (BA). BI and BA share multiple similarities and a few subtle albeit distinct differences. The two methods of improving your business’s performance are often used interchangeably, which creates additional confusion among many prospective users.

BI is its own process that consists of two separate sub-categories known as business analytics (BA) and data analytics. BI, BA and data analytics are all types of data management processes utilized to improve decision making and analyze data relevant to the growth and success of your business.

Business Analytics vs. Data Analytics

The two sub-categories of BI are no less important to your business than BI in 2021. Both processes gather, utilize and manipulate data to develop insights for business, marketing and growth-related strategies. Business analytics (BA) emphasizes the various meanings of data to each business and what actions a company should take to maximize its success. BA focuses on sales, customer service, marketing and IT. Data analytics involves the process of sorting through large quantities of datasets to discover trends/patterns and bolster business decisions with the use of hard facts.

Some crossover between the two processes is inevitable. For example both BA and data analytics involve predictive analytics. Predictive analytics analyzes/aggregates historical data so a company is capable of reacting favorably to a wide variety of future scenarios. BA additionally uses descriptive/prescriptive analytics, whereas data analytics utilizes:

  • Data mining (identifies trends/patterns in large datasets).
  • Text mining (pattern/sentiment spotting).
  • Machine learning (trains computers to process information faster by using statistical probabilities).
  • Big data analytics (uses the above three tools to convert all data to business intelligence).

Business Intelligence

Business intelligence (BI) collects, analyzes and stores applicable data from relevant business operations. Detailed and thorough business metrics are created in almost real-time. Proper BI usage bolsters current and future decision making thanks to its nearly real-time processing of an otherwise incomprehensible amount of applicable data. Data is converted into what are referred to as actionable insights. Actionable insights improve the quality of decisions and significantly reduces the possibility of mistakes in marketing. BI is the process of converting analyzed data into effective real-time decisions pursuant to the growth and success of your business.

What Business Intelligence (BI) Does for Your Business

Using BI programs and services helps your business in numerous ways. For example, BI programs summarize historical and present-day data, revealing past patterns, trends, successes, and mistakes. BI helps put you in control of your company’s future by predicting future events based on parallel, linear, juxtaposed, similar or different approaches to operating your company.

BI reveals multiple methods for increasing profit. Customer behavior is analyzed so your customer service and company overall are better equipped to meet customer demands. Your business’s data is compared with data from competing businesses, helping your company obtain an edge in the current (and future) market. Company performance is tracked, operations are optimized and the possibility of success based on various paths is predicted. BI also helps your company recognize current/future market trends while simultaneously uncovering  problems in your business’s approach.

Finally, the top BI software improves your business’s Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). KPIs are vital to aligning/syncing your teams, assessing the health of your company, holding teams accountable and performing adjustments as needed. The best BI softwares include features capable of enhancing all KPIs necessary for your company’s success.

BI Analytics Software - Features

Certain features in BI software programs are vital to their efficacy and usefulness for your business. Executive dashboards provide company leadership with real-time graph, summary and chart-based overviews. Interactive reports assist in condensing, then redistributing large amounts of data into various useful perspectives. Operational reports provide comprehensive summaries of daily operational events. Geospatial mapping features utilize location intelligence to simplify data based on geographical locations. This feature creates cartographic likenesses based on which regions are experiencing success and which locations need improvement. Additional features to look for in top BI analytics software programs include:

  • Ad-hoc reports.
  • Open integration.
  • Pivot tables.
  • Security protocols based on specified users.
  • Analysis of the future impact of current decisions (what-if reports).

Average Cost

Price points for the best BI software available today vary based on features, vendor policies and type of licensing purchased. Perpetual licenses provide full-time access to your software without limitations when your business is outfitted to host its own data. Subscription licenses are purchased monthly or annually and commonly provide cloud storage for all applicable data. Subscriptions ultimately cost more in the end but also provide a level of convenience for which many companies are willing to pay.

Average costs range between approximately $600 and $6,000/yr. Implementing a business intelligence system might range widely in price between $1,000 and $1,000,000 dollars, however. Many BI software vendors offer free trials, and completely free versions of top BI programs such as MicroStrategy, Power BI (by MicroSoft) and Zoho Analytics are also available.

Best BI Analytics Companies Today

The best BI analytics companies today provide a combination of affordability, quality performance and effective outcomes. Customer service is also crucial as-is feature flexibility and customization. Some of the best BI analytics companies for 2021 include: