Statistical data analysis used to be a confusing, sluggish process. Calculations were all performed by hand. If even one key data sample was missing, it would ruin the accuracy of the entire report.

Today, business intelligence (BI) tools have made it much easier to perform statistical data analysis. Machines do most of the work, eliminating the need for most manual calculations. However, not all BI tools are equally effective. This guide will help you choose the BI tools that will have the greatest impact on your business.

Business Intelligence Tools Can Strengthen Statistical Data Analysis

Business intelligence (BI) tools play an important role in statistical data analysis. For example, insurance companies must collect multiple data samples from the population in order to calculate risk and the cost of premiums for customers. Collecting, organizing, and analyzing this statistical data manually is a time-consuming task. Specialized BI tools make it much faster and easier.

In addition to collecting, organizing and analyzing data sets, advanced BI tools can also help you see which data sets may be missing from your samples. BI software often provides templates for common types of analysis. For instance, banks and other financial institutions may need to generate mortgage production reports. Using a report template supplied by the BI software, they can input the figures they have and see which are missing. They can then fill in the data gaps.

Finally, BI tools help your business move beyond simple statistical data analysis. While it’s important to use statistical benchmarks to ensure your business is operating efficiently or hitting sales goals, it’s also important to think ahead. BI tools are capable of taking statistical data results and applying them to predictive analytics models. You can perform statistical inference using parametric data to estimate an outcome, or use non-parametric data to test a hypothesis. Normally statistical inference is very difficult to perform, but with the right BI tools, it’s virtually effortless.

BI is an essential part of business statistics. Which BI tools have the best statistical data analysis features? You’ll have to consider your company’s specific needs in order to pick the right tool.

The Best BI Tools for Discovery and Data Mining

The main goal of statistical data analysis is to take existing data samples and find patterns in them. From here, you can decide what actions to take based on this information, thus improving your business’ efficiency.

One of the most effective ways to find patterns in data samples is through the discovery and data mining phase, which works like this:

  1. Sample data sets are collected, normalized and stored in a database.
  2. Target data is selected based on certain filters or parameters. All other data is filtered out.
  3. The data is transformed or converted into one format.
  4. The data is mined based on different algorithms. BI tools can provide these algorithms or you can create them yourself.
  5. The data is interpreted based on patterns. At this stage, you can also use visual aids to show the pattern more clearly.

There are many BI tools that allow you to perform all five of these steps. Options include:

  • SAS
  • SPSS
  • R
  • Stata
  • Excel (through pivot tables)
  • And more

The problem with using software like this is that there may be a steep learning curve, especially if you have never worked with statistical data analysis tools. Another challenge is that these tools only provide a limited number of options. Some common data mining algorithms are built directly into these systems, but if you want to create a custom algorithm, you have to do so manually. This is time-consuming. It also requires a high level of experience with statistics and familiarity with the software.

If you don’t have a great deal of experience with statistical data analysis or you want a customized system that you don’t have to design yourself, a better option is to hire a data analytics firm to perform discovery and data mining for you. These firms will create a custom analysis process based on your business’ specific needs.

They also have access to state of the art analytics tools that may be too expensive for smaller enterprises to purchase on their own. For example, the best analytics firms offer machine learning services that take past statistical data and make insightful predictions about future figures or customer behaviors. You can’t generate these insights using the standard statistical algorithms that come with most software. By outsourcing the analytics process, you’ll save a great deal of time and may even discover more accurate insights.

The Best Tools for Presenting Statistical Data Analysis Findings

Although it’s important to identify patterns in your statistical data, you also need to present this data in visual form to help your team and stakeholders make sense of it. After all, what good are these insights if no one at the company understands them?

Most BI software includes basic visualization options such as pie charts, scatter plots and heat maps. However, very few BI tools provide you with a dashboard that helps you quickly generate these visualizations.

If upper-level management needs to generate detailed reports so that they can present the latest findings to sales teams, make the process easy. Managers often don’t have statistical data analysis experience. They also may not be trained on how to use the BI software. To make it easier for them to generate reports, you may have to build your own platform from scratch. This is time-consuming and costly. Your IT team will have to create a new user-friendly dashboard, integrate it with the BI software, manage user access, train staff to use the system and troubleshoot problems that arise.

Rather than building your own dashboard, you can hire an IT firm to create this portal for you. The firm can provide you with both the analytics software and the dashboard. If you already have an effective analytics system in place, the firm can build a dashboard for you that integrates seamlessly into your existing system.

With this tool, you won’t have to train your staff extensively. Dashboards are designed by user interface experts for easy navigation—even by those with little experience in statistics or reports. The IT firm also provides 24/7 customer support. Your in-house IT team can focus on other pressing tasks while the off-premise IT team handles all of the troubleshooting issues.

Business intelligence dashboards take your statistical data analysis to the next level. They make information more accessible, useful, and actionable for everyone in your organization.

Choosing the Right Statistical Data Analysis Tool for Your Needs

Which BI tools you select ultimately depend on your staff’s existing statistical data analysis experience and what you want to achieve. Does your team have the needed skills and expertise in-house? Large enterprises with massive in-house IT departments may choose to buy multiple BI software licenses and build their own dashboards to manage visualizations. That’s because they have the resources and infrastructure required to accomplish these goals.

However, smaller enterprises often get more benefit from hiring an IT firm to handle statistical data analysis and visualizations for them. This is a more cost-effective option and it doesn’t require any existing infrastructure or staff. Even if your company has never performed statistical data analysis, you can start generating insights within as little as a few weeks or months; compared with a year or more if you build it all yourself.

The best BI tools for statistical data analysis are all-inclusive. They provide everything from data collection to polished final reports. With help from an experienced IT firm, you’ll improve your analysis and discover the real power of statistical data.

Statistical data analysis is a powerful process, but to make the most of it, you need an equally powerful set of BI tools. Contact Tek Leaders today to learn more about our comprehensive business intelligence services. We provide everything you need to perform the most advanced statistical data analysis possible. If you have more questions about our custom analytics tools, you can reach us by email directly.

    Author: Devender (Dev) Aerrabolu

    Devender (Dev) Reddy Aerrabolu is the CEO of Tek Leaders. His goal is to help SMBs bring value from their data. Dev helped Tek Leaders grow from scratch into a $25 million enterprise by focusing on clients’ data needs.