How to Choose the Right Business Intelligence Tools

Business intelligence software and tools provide some of the most outstanding opportunities for businesses in terms of marketing, growing and having an understanding of what customers want. Just a few years ago advanced BI was really only realistically accessible to larger companies, but now, as more software options become available it’s something even small businesses have the ability to use to their advantage.

BI is used to capture and analyze big data, and while the overarching goal remains the same, every business is going to be looking for something different regarding exactly how they achieve this objective.

Some BI tools feature end-to-end processing that can bring together different sets of data from varying sources, while others are more simple ways to collect information about certain touch points.

With so many options available, businesses often need a guide to get started in finding the right solution for their needs. Below are some general considerations to keep in mind when choosing BI platforms and tools.


If there’s one feature or element you’re going to look at above all others, you might want to make sure it’s reporting.

All the data in the world isn’t going to be of use in your business if it lacks reporting options that can be deciphered by your team and used as actionable insights. How software and BI tools report information tends to be one of the primary differentiating factors.

Is It User-Friendly?

If you haven’t shopped for business intelligence tools before, you’ll likely be shocked at how much they can differ regarding their complexity.

If you’re willing to invest in something like SAS training for an employee or a team of employees, then you can go with something more robust. If not, it’s probably best to choose something simple with little to no learning curve.

You’ll also have the think about the general analytics skills of your employees. Are they ready for something more sophisticated or do they lack higher-level analytics and software skills?


If you’re a small business or you’re just starting out with business intelligence software and applications, you might not want a lot of customization. What may work best for you is a cloud-based option with subscription pricing that will let you explore the features you want and the ones you can live without, and scale it to your needs as the requirements of your business grow.

On the other hand, if you’re a larger business you should be aware that many software vendors offer opportunities to have your BI software customized.

You can often negotiate with vendors to get the features you need in the way that you want them, but this is going to require more upfront investment in terms of both money and time.

When you put the time in at the beginning to select the right BI, it’s likely to pay off well for your business over time and change the way you market and reach your customers.


Carmelo is a marketing writer and blogger helping small and medium size businesses craft winning content strategies. She's always scouting the web for new social media strategies and is slightly addicted to apps. When not tapping the keyboard, you are likely to find her in the park playing with her uncontrollably friendly Irish setter or trying out new vegan recipes.

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