Business Intelligence Tool Recommendations: How the Pros Increase ROI

    The most successful businesses have a secret weapon to increase returns on investment (ROI). They use innovative business intelligence tools to make wiser investments and operational decisions. 

    When you choose the right tools for your business, you’ll make decisions based on solid evidence. This is the cornerstone of high ROI. If you want to improve your business’ ROI, then you need to know exactly where the market is headed and what you should do to meet this future demand. 

    To help you with this, we’ve created a detailed guide to the business intelligence tools that you can use to become more profitable. 

    What Are Business Intelligence Tools? 

    “Business intelligence tool” is an umbrella term used to describe any software, hardware, or service that makes data easier to understand. These tools help you collect, manage, analyze, and visualize data. 

    Because the term is so broad, it can be difficult to find the most appropriate tool for your needs. Some business intelligence tools handle just one specific part of the BI process (such as data storage or visualizations). Others offer a wider range of services. 

    Take a close look at your current BI process. To get the highest ROI, you need to have all of the following: 

    • A recent and detailed BI roadmap or business plan; 
    • A system for collecting and storing all of your data; 
    • In-depth data analysis capabilities; and 
    • A dashboard for visualizing data and generating reports.

    If just one of these requirements isn’t being met, then you may not be have the highest ROI possible. Revamping your BI system using the latest tools will improve ROI. 

    Below, we’ve listed some of the tools we recommend for improving each of these BI categories. 

    Tools for Creating BI Roadmaps 

    There is no single business intelligence tool that can generate a custom BI roadmap for you. That’s because building a roadmap involves: 

    • Accounting for all of your data sources; 
    • Defining your BI state; 
    • Identifying missing data you should be collecting; and 
    • Setting specific goals for your business.

    Some tools will show you where all of your data comes from, with Excel and data warehouses displaying all of your data in one place. However, these tools won’t tell you whether you’re missing important data. They also can’t work closely with your staff and upper management to create achievable goals based on your budget, deadline, and vision. 

    A BI roadmap is both an art and a science, and it takes a human touch. Hiring an experienced BI firm is your best option. 

    Business Intelligence Tools for Data Storage 

    A data storage system can significantly increase ROI. A reliable storage tool will keep your data safe and improve the accuracy of your data analysis. You can look back on years of data history to identify hidden patterns. Additionally, you’ll have access to all of the latest data as it comes in, so you can perform real-time analysis and pivot your business plan in response. 

    Here are a few data storage options: 

    • On-premise storage through IBM or Oracle
    • Cloud storage through Microsoft Azure, Google BigQuery, or Amazon Redshift

    On-premise storage is often expensive and may not allow you to perform real-time analysis. These systems are, however, very secure. 

    Cloud storage tools are more flexible and enable real-time analysis. Cloud security is improving, and many of the best tools have strong data protections in place. Some of these tools are also less expensive compared to on-premise tools. 

    We recommend using a cloud storage tool whenever possible. Alternatively, you could hire a BI services firm to store your data. They use the most secure cloud storage tools and ensure that all of your data is collected and managed properly. 

    Business Intelligence Tools for Data Analysis 

    Data analysis has the greatest impact on ROI. You can find market trends, identify the most profitable products, and analyze staff productivity. The goal is to continue investing in the services that make a profit and to trim the fat. A lean, agile business is a smart business. 

    Some business intelligence tools that specialize in complex data analysis are: 

    • Data mining tools like the R programming language, Excel, Tableau, SAS, or RapidMiner. These analyze large sets of data to find trends. However, they aren’t very easy to use if you don’t have experience—there’s a steep learning curve. 
    • Predictive analytics tools like Sisense, Microsoft Azure Machine Learning Studio, and SAS Advanced Analytics. These tools take data analysis a step further and incorporate machine learning. They learn from historical data to predict how much your ROI will increase or decrease in the future. The downside is that these tools are often quite expensive.

    If you’re looking for a well-rounded, powerful data analysis tool that can identify patterns in real time, then consider using Power BI. This tool is much easier to use than the data mining tools above. It’s also less expensive than many of the machine learning tools. 

    Another option is to hire a BI firm that already uses the most powerful data analytics tools on the market. You won’t have to learn how to use the software or purchase a license. You’ll get meaningful insights delivered directly to you that will increase ROI. 

    Tools for Visualizing Data and Sending Reports  

    To increase ROI, you need a clear plan of action. A spreadsheet full of numbers isn’t as useful as a detailed report that shows exactly how much more profitable one product is compared to another. 

    There are a massive number of visualization tools available on the market. At the most basic level, Excel allows you to create simple pie charts and line graphs. However, if you really want to increase ROI and generate insightful reports for your investors, shareholders, and staff, then you’ll need a more comprehensive business intelligence tool. 

    A few options are: 

    • Tableau 
    • Pentaho 
    • Power BI

    The option that we most recommend for increasing ROI is Power BI. This tool offers the most detailed visualizations and is also one of the easiest to learn. 

    Or, you can hire a BI firm that incorporates Power BI visualizations into its services. The benefit of using a BI firm is that you have access to an experienced team of visualizations experts who will help you find the best visual tool for each report or data set. For example, the team may recommend using a heat map to see where your most successful sales staff are located. You’ll also get a custom dashboard that makes it easy to generate these visual aids and reports. 

    How to Increase ROI Today 

    Increasing ROI may seem like a complicated process. However, with the right business intelligence tools, you’ll see an increase in profits in as little as a few months. 

    One option for increasing ROI is to invest in multiple business intelligence tools that each specialize in a key area, such as storage, analysis, or visualizations. However, many of these tools offer overlapping services and can be expensive, especially for small businesses. 

    This is why many small business owners choose to hire BI firms that offer a comprehensive list of services. The firm will: 

    • Assess your BI system;
    • Design a custom roadmap;
    • Move your data to a secure storage location;
    • Use innovative BI tools (including machine learning technology) to analyze your data
    • Transform your data using robust visualization tools; 
    • Generate detailed reports to increase ROI; and
    • Create a custom, user-friendly dashboard for your staff.

    Normally, you would need to buy many software licenses to get all of these services. In this sense, BI firms make in-depth data analysis more accessible. They demystify big data and allow you to see exactly what steps you should take right now to improve ROI.


    Are you ready to increase ROI? Contact Tek Leaders today to request a free business intelligence audit from our team of data scientists. We’ll create a custom BI roadmap for your business and provide you with the most powerful tools to increase your profits. If you have more questions about the services we offer, you can reach us by email directly.

    Author: Shashank Reddy Tummala.

    Shashank is the COO of Tek Leaders inc.He helps SMB’s to achieve their goals in their journey of Digital Transformation.

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    Is Outsourcing Business Intelligence a Good Idea?

    If you ask IT experts whether outsourcing business intelligence is a good idea, you may get some mixed responses. Strong-willed specialists believe that everything should always be done in-house, even if it costs more or requires more resources. Others are open to outsourcing BI because it’s often more cost-effective and easier to implement.

    Who is right? That depends on your needs. Many businesses benefit immensely from outsourcing BI, while others prefer to do everything in-house. In this guide, we’ll help you decide which option is best for your unique requirements, and offer tips on how to make the most of your big data.

    What Does it Mean to Outsource Your Business Intelligence?

    Many people have strong opinions about whether outsourcing business intelligence is a good idea. Some find that it’s the easiest and most reliable way to handle business information, while others are more skeptical. Before you form your own opinion, it’s important to understand what outsourcing your business intelligence really means.

    Outsourcing business intelligence is the process of hiring a third party to collect, analyze, and present data to help you make wise business decisions. Every business intelligence provider offers different services and expertise. For this reason, you can’t paint outsourced BI with a broad brush; it isn’t inherently good or bad. The experience varies depending on the provider. 

    When Outsourcing Business Intelligence is a Good Idea 

    Working with an experienced business intelligence provider can be a great idea. However, not all third-party providers are equally competent.

    Some only offer basics like simple data analytics or visualizations. Those services are important, but they’re only a small aspect of BI. Without a detailed BI roadmap, you may collect the wrong data or miss out on key business insights.

    Experienced third-party providers are much more thorough. They offer data analytics and visualizations based on in-depth BI consultations. That gives you an effective roadmap to success. They’ll build a custom user platform that lets your staff interact with data and generate insights of their own. Those benefits, combined with 24/7 customer support, make outsourcing business intelligence a very good idea.

    Here’s another way of looking at it: Is the service provider offering me more than what my own IT department can handle right now?

    “Right now” is an extremely important part of that question. Your in-house IT staff may say that they can build you a BI platform or incorporate new data analytics software into your system, but these things take a great deal of time and resources. Your IT staff may already be stretched thinly. Moreover, not all businesses are as agile as they could be. If you take too long to make important business intelligence decisions or changes, you could lose profits or customers.a

    By outsourcing your business intelligence, you’ll free up in-house IT staff and enable your business to pivot quickly to the most innovative new ideas and technologies. 

    How Outsourcing Compares with Other BI Methods 

    If you want to make use of business intelligence, you have a choice of three methods:

    • Outsourced: Outsourced BI involves hiring a third party to do everything. This includes coming up with a strategy, collecting quality data, analyzing data using the most advanced tools, running the results through detailed visualization tools, and helping you decide the best course of action. 
    • Self-Service: A self-service BI tool lets you analyze data yourself. To use it, download the software and plug in the data you wish to analyze. It’s designed with beginners in mind and doesn’t require much training. 
    • In-House: Having an in-house business intelligence system means hiring a staff of experts full-time to work on every aspect of your business. They collect quality data, process and analyze it, then present the results to the rest of the team.

    There are pros and cons to each method, including: 

    Outsourced

    Pros:

    • You don’t need any infrastructure or staff to support it 
    • You can quickly scale up or scale down 
    • It can be customized to fit your exact business needs 
    • No training required 
    • Time to market and decision making are much faster 
    • Access to all of the most advanced data analytics tools
    • Costs much less than hiring a full-time staff or licensing state-of-the-art software 
    • Experts will advise you on the best business decisions 
    • Your data is secure and well-organized 
    • Customer support is available 24/7 to troubleshoot problems or answer questions

    Cons:

    • Monthly fee
    • You don’t own any of the software or hardware 
    • Not all providers are reliable

    Self-Service

    Pros:

    • It’s easy to use and requires little training 
    • You manage the software license yourself and have more say over the tools you use 
    • Your staff is more involved in the process

    Cons:

    • You and your staff may not know which software to use 
    • If you have questions, there’s no customer support 
    • The data you collect and analyze may not be ideal 
    • Possibility of misinterpreting data and making poor decisions 
    • Data may be unorganized or stored in too many different formats 
    • It isn’t easy to pivot to new strategies quickly 
    • Employees must be willing to learn how to use the tool 
    • Second-guessing is common, especially if you don’t have a data expert on staff

    In-House

    Pros:

    • You own everything from software licenses to hardware 
    • Customized to fit your business’ needs 
    • Control over your own staff and their workflows 
    • You get to decide how much time and money to spend on every project 
    • Staff is very involved in the process 
    • Data is completely secure behind your company’s firewall

    Cons:

    • Can be very expensive, especially if you buy equipment, costly software licenses, or hire experienced staff 
    • Shortage of data experts available for hire 
    • Have to pay staff salaries and benefits, which are often quite high 
    • Maintaining equipment is costly and time-consuming 
    • You may experience more downtime and won’t always have staff available to answer important questions or find solutions 
    • You’re responsible for all staff training and business decisions

    Self-service business intelligence is fine for some businesses, but it is severely lacking in many key areas. If you only have a small, basic data set that you want to analyze, then it’s a decent option. However, there’s no guarantee that the insights you generate will be accurate.

    The best two options are outsourced and in-house business intelligence systems. They are nearly identical in terms of final results. Both methods give you a business intelligence roadmap, quality data analysis, and clear visualizations. The main difference is that outsourced BI doesn’t require any existing infrastructure or staff, while in-house BI requires a lot more planning.

    But which is better, outsourced or in-house?

    Choosing the Best BI Method for Your Business 

    For most small businesses, outsourcing business intelligence is a good idea. That’s because this method doesn’t require any existing infrastructure or staff resources.

    When you own a small business, your team is usually pretty small. The few IT staff members that you have are likely busy keeping your website updated, handling technical issues, and working on other important projects. They simply don’t have time to do all of these tasks and perform meaningful data analysis as well. The data analysis process alone is a full-time job that requires multiple expert team members. The fewer staff members you have to handle this process, the less reliable and detailed your data analysis will be. This, in turn, makes it harder to make effective data-driven decisions.

    By outsourcing these tasks, you can get the same level of detailed data analysis as a company ten times your size. Outsourced BI levels the playing field. You’ll know how to best support your customers and improve your products, allowing your business to grow exponentially.

    If, on the other hand, you operate a fairly large enterprise, then in-house business intelligence is a viable option. Some businesses have room in the IT budget to buy and maintain their own servers, purchase the best software licenses, hire a large team of data experts or scientists, and create their own platforms for generating visualizations and reports.

    When your business has the time and resources required to do all of this, then in-house BI can save you money in the long run because you own most of the equipment and software outright and won’t have to pay a monthly fee to a third party. However, keep in mind that maintenance costs and downtime lead to additional unexpected expenses.

    In general, most small and medium-sized businesses will find that outsourcing business intelligence is a good idea, especially compared with doing everything themselves in-house. In some cases, even large enterprises opt for outsourced BI over in-house systems because they’re so much simpler to use. 

    Some of the most successful businesses in the country use business intelligence to make better decisions. When you get expert guidance to the best possible path, your business will flourish.

    If you think outsourcing business intelligence is a good idea for your organization, contact Tek Leaders today. Our business intelligence experts will guide you through the entire process and make the transition as simple as possible. If you’d like to learn more about the power of business intelligence and the specific services we provide, you may also reach us by email directly.

    Author: Shashank Reddy Tummala.

    Shashank is the COO of Tek Leaders inc.He helps SMB’s to achieve their goals in their journey of Digital Transformation.

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    How Small Businesses Benefit from Data Analytics and Business Intelligence

    When you run a small business, sometimes it feels like you’re David battling Goliath. Industries like banking, healthcare, and insurance are especially competitive, making it difficult for smaller companies to gain a foothold. However, there is one thing that small business owners can do to increase their share of the market: Invest in data analytics and business intelligence.

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