Business Intelligence: Make or Buy?

Businesses all over the world make use of business intelligence BI tools and techniques to improve their performance and move their business progressively upwards. The business intelligence software helps data analysts perform big data analytics. It reports information from raw data as visualizations and reports that help the top leaders understand the business working better and make data-driven decisions. “The best-run companies are data-driven, and this skill sets businesses apart from their competition.” – Tomasz Tunguz of Redpoint Ventures

What is BI?

Business intelligence is an integral part of a data-driven business approach. In this approach, businesses rely on their historical data to predict future actions. The data analysts perform a detailed data analysis to identify data trends for their products in the previous years.

This information helps data analysts to identify the mistakes in strategic and structural plans that might be affecting the growth of product popularity in the market. Based on the insights from different data sources, the management then revises their action plan to rectify the matter. Business Intelligence tools can also help to make predictions for the future to increase revenue and improve the position of the business in the niche market.

Business Intelligence
Business Intelligence

The Decision Struggle to Make or Buy BI Software?

Once the business organization realizes the importance of data analysis and reporting, the next step is to decide on whether to develop their own BI software or choose from a list of vendors available in the market.

The answer needs some debate before forming their mind about whether to Make or buy their Business Intelligence software. There are many pros and cons for both situations and also the answer may vary according to each organization’s data needs. 

Let us discuss the considerations of each option so that data teams have a clear picture of what they are committing to in each scenario.

Make Scenario:

If after doing their data requirement analysis, the organization looks into building their business intelligence solution rather than buying an off-the-shelf BI product, then they must take into account the following factors.

Cost analysis

Before delving into a complex project like building a software solution for their organization, they must assess their resources and perform a detailed cost analysis to cover not only the manufacturing cost but also deployment and maintenance cost as well.

This could mean setting aside a budget for hardware and servers as well as hiring new people for development, application management, support, and training for their in-house software development.

Software development team

The organization would need to look into their software development team and determine if they are capable of developing and deploying full-scale personalized business intelligence software that would cater to all their data analytics and reporting needs.

Another requirement would be to research the front-end software and back-end hosting servers to use depending upon the bulk of raw data that needs to be dealt with. They should have feasibility reports for expansion and scalability to continue supporting the data needs as the company grows.

Updates and long-term maintenance

Working on regular updates and maintenance are important areas to keep in mind when going in the direction to build your BI software as without these the software may lose its efficiency and output productivity over time. Also, with new visuals and reports coming in every day, the company needs to keep its software up-to-date by performing regular data integration to compete with its competitors in their niche.

Buy Scenario:

Most BI tools available in the market are equipped with powerful features that can perform detailed analytics on the big data of the company and provide actionable insights using which the management can be confident in their decisions and sure of the direction in which their business is going. 

Business intelligence tools not only help with products and services but also help data analysts to understand the customer interests and needs and help the business to cater to the customers on their satisfaction level.

Vendors are fighting continuously to increase sales of their products and reach new customers to secure their position in the global market and offer products and services one notch higher than their competitors. 

Modern BI tools that are being developed and marketed in scores provide useful features that can help identify focus areas for the business where they need to improve. Maybe, change in marketing strategies, maybe a change in the product packaging, or maybe incorporating customer requirements in their services would improve the market rating of their products drastically. All this information can be gathered by the data team using business intelligence tools to get the information on time and act on it. 

Best Business Intelligence features available for data analysts

Key features of BI that Vendors provide

The power of the business intelligence software lies in the features and variety of data analytic tools it offers to the customers. 

“Data really powers everything that we do.” – says Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn

While many BI tools are available in the market and each has its separate set of features to recommend them to the customer business, there are many features that they share in common and these features have been summarized in the list below. The key features of Business intelligence software provide a variety of ways to aggregate, organize and assess data to reach conclusions and derive actionable insights.

Data report formats

Having a variety of data report formats that data analysts can use to present data in a different format and analyze relations and trends in the business data is the most basic feature that forms the basis of business intelligence and analytics. Dotnet report builder provides its customers with a range of report formats to work with including versatile charts, graphs, and the latest geographical map and heat map reports that have gained popularity in recent years to monitor business performance.  

Data visualizations

The famous quote “A picture is better than a thousand words” holds completely true in the data world. Compelling data visualizations can create focus on data that might otherwise go unnoticed and it can help send the message clearer than words helping top management understand the situation of the business and take immediate actions for bringing improvement. Many Business intelligence software like Tableau, dotnet report builder, Microsoft PowerBI take to their credit the feature to generate beautiful visualizations through the big data for analytics.

Creative Data dashboard

Another key feature of business intelligence software is its ability to create multiple dashboards that can be completely customized by the user to suit their data needs. Data reports can be added, removed, or moved around on the screen to make the business end-user comfortable in their work. Data dashboards allow data analysts to monitor performance metrics and compare critical data that requires constant attention in real-time. Izenda and dotnet report builder are popular for their creative data dashboard facility.

Interactive reports

Many business intelligence tools go beyond basic reporting and offer a feature called interactive reports. It is a highly flexible report which can help data analysts perform a detailed analysis of big data for a business. The report view can be altered by the user depending on the data set they want to focus on. 

Interactive reports allow users to create multiple views from the same report and focus on a specific data set by applying filters, sorts, and complex computations. Tableau is popular for providing this feature in its business intelligence product.

Data visualization
Data visualization

Conclusion

Businesses are always facing tough competition in the market from their competitors and it is an ongoing effort to keep their products at the top. This end can be achieved by having in-depth knowledge about the market as well as the popularity of their products among the customers. This knowledge and comprehensive information are made available by data analysts by performing data analytics using the Business intelligence software. 

The solution is to be informed about the current working situation of the business and make changes to improve their product rating in the market. Both options are available for the company to either make or buy business intelligence software to help them get firm grounds in the market and keep their productivity high.

If the organization chooses to build its own product, it must perform a number of feasibility tests to ensure that this is the road for them to take. 

In the case of buying BI solutions, the data team must perform detailed evaluations to find the best suitable match in terms of the data needs of business users.

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