3 Must-Have Business Intelligence Tools

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Digital Transformation (DX) is a hot topic right now. It’s the idea that organizations must take strategic, purposeful — even dramatic — actions to reshape how they use technology to bolster business performance.

Most organizations, regardless of size, are on a DX mission. Organizations are increasingly doing business online to meet customers where they are. They’ve adopted Internet of Things (IoT) devices, software and applications to improve the quality of their products and meet the growing demands of customers. 

That is both the driver of DX — and the challenge. All those tools are producing a massive amount of data that is impossible for humans to parse and analyze in a meaningful way. It’s data that could be used to improve operations and benefit every department, from IT to marketing, and from the front lines all the way up to the C-Suite.

The issue many businesses grapple with is how to harness that data and make it accessible so that stakeholders can make sense of it and, more important, act on it. These tools enable just that.

Data Warehouse and Data Replication Tool

The data warehouse is where all your data from various sources will live, and replication tools makes it possible to centralize large data sets from many siloed places to that warehouse. 

Google, Amazon and Microsoft all offer popular data warehouse options: Google BigQuery, Amazon Redshift, and Microsoft Azure. And then there is the increasingly popular Snowflake.

Many of these warehouses have integrated replication options. For example, Google BigQuery Data Transfer Service (DTS) takes the pain out of transferring data sets from Saas applications to BigQuery cloud warehouses. Plus, it just announced a new partnership with Fivetran, an automated data pipeline provider. The solution can replicate your applications, databases, events and files into a high-performance data warehouse in minutes, putting all the data you need to drive business decisions at your fingertips.  Snowflake also offers replication in tool with it’s partner connect.

Data Analytics and Visualization Software

Even if your data is scattered across several in-house or hosted databases, visualization and data analytics software, will collect it and aggregate it automatically. Then it enables you to create data visualizations and dashboards, literally with the click of a button. That makes it easy for stakeholders across your organization to understand your data and draw business insights from it.

The solution you adopt will largely depend on the size of your business, industry, and product or service. As you start investigating options, consider those that are specific to your industry, first. For examples, Splunk offers services specific to manufacturing and Sisense provides healthcare data analytics.

Birst, Zoho Analytics and Tableau are other leading options, especially for small businesses.

Data Quality Solutions

You’ve probably heard the saying “Garbage in, garbage out.” The insights you will be able to glean from your data will be only as good as the data you use. Unfortunately, a good bit of the data coming into your business is not useful.

Data quality solutions allow you to evaluate, monitor and manage the overall integrity of your data. Many solutions will clean up your data, making it completer and more accurate, while eliminating bad data from getting through.

No doubt, digital transformation, revolves around data, and how you can use it to improve the quality of your product or services, overall efficiencies, the customer experience, sales and marketing efforts, and more.

Make sure that you are investing in tools that allow you can put all that data to good use.

About the Author

Ben Bloch is CEO of Bloch Strategy. He is a Los Angeles-based serial entrepreneur and journalist, and advises high growth startups. Ben spent 14 years in corporate roles with IBM and Sungard AS focused on emerging business opportunities, software as a service, cloud computing and digital media, and another 8 in the startup world during which he acted as CMO and CRO during three exits, including co-founding grant and private equity-funded clean-tech company Econation. He completed the Business Insight Program at Harvard University and graduated undergrad from UW-Madison. 

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