Data analysis is considered to be a core component in business intelligence systems. The importance of data analysis pushes some company leadership to opt for outsourced data analysis while other business leadership prefers to stick with in-house data analysis. Let’s first take a look at the role of data analysis in business intelligence. Data analysis converts raw data gathered using different tools into meaningful data, which is usually presented to managers through reporting tools, and will aid managers in decision making. Ultimately, good data analysis leads to good decision making and successful business practices.
Traditionally, one of the first steps to designing a dashboarding or reporting solution is to determine what screen size to use as a basis for layout. Typically, the solution’s layout will be designed to look good on a “standard” laptop. The smaller screen resolution looks a bit small on large monitors, but at least the whole application fits on the page. But that can’t be the ultimate goal, right? The advance of responsive design allows for mobile devices to view the same content, but allows for the application to be scaled up to larger monitors as well. When creating responsive applications, it is important to keep in mind what device is being used to access the solution. This should determine how much and what kind of data to provide the end user.
Over the years, there have been several forces behind the surge of mobile devices. With the influx of devices in today’s market, unlike the limited options you were once faced with, now there is something for everyone no matter your style, color, or operating system preference. On top of this is the introduction of Quadcore to tablets, 4G, and the continuous adoption of HTML5. This proliferation of devices gave rise to the phenomenon of BYOD.
With the emergence of this trend, businesses realized they had decisions to make and quickly: Do they stick to their current policies and only support company issued devices? Do they adjust their current strategies and infrastructure to support new BYOD policies? In hindsight, with the growth of BYOD, lurks the inevitability of having to create apps for each screen for the large number of devices, which is not only time consuming but requires resources. In the end, companies want end users to be happy and productive while ensuring your IT departments sanity.
One of the most challenging tasks when planning a new business intelligence project is the selection of the right tools to achieve the best possible return on investment. You will have many decisions to make depending on your company’s needs. This poses many questions such as: Will you need new servers? Will you need to host it in the cloud? Will ETL (Extract-Transform-Load) tools be needed to manipulate data or to combine multiple data sources? Will you need cube technology (usually dubbed OLAP)? What type of reporting tool will you need? All of these questions need to be answered carefully as they affect each other on your way forward.
A criteria-based approach should be used in selecting each software. This approach in evaluating software provides you with a quantitative measurement of quality before you commit to a specific tool. When evaluating business intelligence reporting and analytics software, the following 5 criteria are your top priority, but should not be the only criteria used: flexibility, security, learnability, mobility, and evolveability. Let’s take a deeper look into each of these areas.
Year after year the hype surrounding data analytics becomes louder. Thought leaders and research organizations have sung the praises of analytics as a means for generating much-needed insight into business operations, and companies that have embraced analytics have been able to translate insight to better operational productivity and faster, more accurate decision-making. In a competitive business environment where your competition is just as hungry as you are to reach and secure new customers and where business leaders need to make accurate, fact-based decisions about the company’s future, analytics can be the game-changer that makes the difference between success and failure. Here’s how:
The beauty of analytics is that it can serve as a guideline for transforming sub-par business performance to one that is efficient and profitable. Whereas reports provide a historical view of what transpired, analytic output is forward-looking, and plays an integral role in helping executives plan for the future.
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