Complete the sentence: Business Intelligence must be ______. What do you think? If you had to pick one “must-have” aspect or feature of business intelligence, what would it be? I ask because the business intelligence world is filled with “experts”, all telling you their own definitions of good business intelligence. That can get confusing.
I decided to try a little experiment. What would happen if I compiled a list of business intelligence “musts” from the experts around the web? Would I find similar advice? If I combined all of that advice, could I pull out a few of the most basic “must-have” aspects of business intelligence?
“Business Intelligence solutions must be easy to use and fit into the way your employees work if your BI system is going to be a success.”
“Business Intelligence must be mobile, self-service and integrated with enterprise applications.”
“Business Intelligence must be kept simple.”
“Business Intelligence must mesh with your business to work.”
“Business Intelligence must not become the exclusive concern of a few selected people within an enterprise.”
“Business Intelligence must integrate deeply with the information platform, collaboration platform, and business productivity suite.”
“Business Intelligence must keep timely information flowing to and from people working on the front lines of the business.”
So, what key points can we pull out of all that advice? Can we take this and create a checklist of “must-have” aspects of business intelligence? I think so. Here are a few of the most important, and recurring points that we can pull out of all of this advice:
Business Intelligence must be pervasive: Business intelligence must permeate your entire business, not just the executives or managers.
Business Intelligence must be simple: Business intelligence must be simple to use, or it won’t be used. From creating reports to analyzing data, the whole process should be easy enough for end users.
Business Intelligence must be mobile: These days, BI apps should be accessible to anyone who needs them, wherever they are, and on whichever device they are using. This is only becoming more important as mobile devices continue to catch on among businesses.
Business Intelligence must be real-time: Business Intelligence must give you accurate data instantly. The days of gathering and sorting data are over. Real-time data should be at your fingertips whenever you need it.
If you feel like I left anything off of that list, feel free to add it in the comments. If you want to see great examples of business intelligence that incorporates all of these aspects, you might want to check out this ad hoc report or this interactive report. Notice how they’re simple enough for end users, but also provide real-time data with tons of options. Make sure you view the mobile versions of each.
Or, if you want to see how easy it is to build those reports, you should check out m-Power. It lets you build your own custom business intelligence applications without programming. You can even sign up for a free Trial right here.