Busting common myths about business intelligence tools
It never fails that when business intelligence (BI) is mentioned in a meeting, at least one person will pipe up with an objection based on some common misconceptions about BI tools.
“This is going to be too expensive for our small business.”
“We don’t have enough data to make BI worthwhile.”
“Only huge enterprises need BI tools.”
These objections might sound valid at first, but they’re actually based on myths that can easily be debunked with a bit of knowledge. So let’s bust some of these myths about BI tools, shall we?
What are BI tools, and what do they do?
Our world revolves around data. Data on who you are, what you do, and who you are can be used to entice you to purchase more stuff. Businesses are no different than individuals when it comes to data, except businesses have even more of it.
A business’s data can be divided into two main categories: internal and external.
Internal data is generated by the business itself through things like financial transactions, employee information, customer records, and so on.
External data comes from sources outside of the business, such as market trends, weather patterns, and competitor analysis.
Business intelligence (BI) tools help businesses to make sense of all this data so that they can make better decisions about their operations. BI tools can include a variety of capabilities, but some common features include data visualization, reporting, and dashboards.
Data visualization is a way of representing data in a graphical format, such as a chart or graph. This makes it easier to spot patterns and trends in the data, which can be helpful for things like identifying customer behavior or forecasting future sales.
Reporting is another common feature of BI tools. Reports provide insights into what’s happening within the business, and they can be generated on-demand or on a schedule. For example, a business might generate a report every week that shows how the sales team has been performing.
Dashboards are another popular feature of BI tools. Dashboards provide a quick, at-a-glance view of key metrics and performance indicators. This can be helpful for quickly identifying areas that need attention or for getting an overview of how the business is doing.
The benefits of using BI tools
One of the main benefits of using BI tools is that they can help businesses save time.
If a business wants to know how its sales have been performing over the past year, it can use a BI tool to generate a report in minutes. This is much faster than manually sorting through all of the data to find the information that’s needed.
Another benefit of using BI tools is that they can help businesses make better decisions. BI tools can provide insights that businesses might not be able to get from looking at their raw data.
For example, a BI tool might be able to identify a trend in customer behavior that the business wasn’t aware of. This information can then be used to make decisions about things like marketing campaigns or product development.
7 common myths about BI tools
Now that we’ve covered some of the benefits of using BI tools, let’s take a look at some of the myths about them.
Myth 1: “This is too expensive for my business.”
One of the most common myths about BI tools is that they’re only for huge enterprises with deep pockets. This simply isn’t true. There are BI tools available for businesses of all sizes, and many of them are very affordable. In fact, some BI tools are even free.
BI tools can save businesses a lot of time and money. So, even if you’re on a tight budget, a BI tool may be an investment you can’t afford to pass up.
Myth 2: “I don’t need a BI tool because I already have a reporting system.”
Another common myth about BI tools is that they’re unnecessary if you already have a reporting system in place. But the truth is that BI tools can do much more than just generate reports.
As we’ve seen, they can also provide insights through data visualizations and dashboards that businesses might not be able to get from their reporting system alone. This can help businesses save time and make better decisions.
Myth 3: “I don’t need a BI tool because I have a data analyst.”
Another common myth about BI tools is that they’re only needed if you don’t have a data analyst on staff. But the truth is that BI tools can be helpful even if you do have a data analyst.
Data analysts can use BI tools to save time and make their jobs easier. And, as we’ve seen, BI tools can also provide insights that data analysts might miss on their own.
So even if you have a data analyst on staff, it’s still worth considering whether a BI tool could be beneficial for your business.
Myth 4: “I don’t need a BI tool, I can just use Excel.”
Another common myth about BI tools is that they’re not necessary if you’re already using Excel. While it’s true that Excel can be used for some basic data analysis, it’s not designed for complex tasks like data visualization or reporting. BI tools are much better suited for these tasks, and they can save you a lot of time.
So even if you’re already using Excel, you don’t necessarily have to completely reject the idea of using a BI tool. In fact, you might find that using both Excel and a BI tool can be beneficial for your business.
Myth 5: “I don’t need a BI tool because I have a CRM.”
Another common myth about BI tools is that they’re not needed if you have a customer relationship management (CRM) system.
But the truth is that BI tools can be very helpful for businesses that have CRMs. CRMs can be complex, and it can be difficult to get the information that you need from them. But BI tools can make it much easier to access and analyze your CRM data.
CRMs are great for managing customer data, but they’re not always the best tool for analyzing that data. With BI tools, you can easily access your CRM data and generate reports that will help you make better business decisions.
Myth 6: “BI tools are only for big companies.”
This is another myth that simply isn’t true. As we’ve seen, BI tools can be beneficial for businesses of all sizes. They can help small businesses save time and money, and they can provide insights that businesses might not be able to get from their data alone.
This myth is likely based on the fact that BI tools have traditionally been expensive and difficult to use. But as we’ve seen, there are now many BI tools that are affordable and easy to use.
Myth 7: “BI tools are a passing tech fad.”
BI tools have been around for many years, and they’re only getting more popular. In fact, Gartner predicts that BI and analytics will be one of the most important trends in business in the coming years.
In a competitive business environment, it’s more important than ever to have a good BI tool.
The bottom line
Business intelligence tools can be beneficial for businesses of all sizes. They can help you save time and money, and they can provide insights that you might not be able to get from your data alone.
So even if you’re not sure whether a BI tool is right for your business, it’s still worth considering the benefits that one could provide.