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.