Business Intelligence & Analytics Software

Everything you need to know


This buyers guide will help you understand the key features of business intelligence and analytics (BI) software, its benefits and challenges, information on who uses BI software, and industry trends.

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Everything you need to know

This buyers guide will help you understand the key features of business intelligence and analytics (BI) software, its benefits and challenges, information on who uses BI software, and industry trends.

What is BI software?

Business intelligence and analytics (BI) software is a decision support tool that helps monitor a business's key performance indicators (KPIs). The solution collects and analyzes data related to, for example, sales, customer relationship management (CRM), and marketing and then configures it in dashboards and reports. Using these analytics, you can get a better performance overview of your business to make informed decisions.

Key BI software features

Below is a list of core business intelligence and analytics (BI) features commonly found in BI software:

FeaturesDescription
Embedded analyticsHelps users access advanced analytic tools within BI software to provide more in-depth analysis of business KPIs by importing reports or integrating with other software.
Custom dashboardsProvides an overview of key metrics in customizable dashboards that can be filtered by variables such as date, sales, and revenue.
VisualizationAlong with a customizable dashboard, BI software can present data in interactive charts, graphs, and tables that change in real time based on the latest data updates.
CollaborationHelps users share and discuss topics such as BI reports and dashboards through discussion threads, chat, and annotation.
Advanced analyticsProvides additional analytics features that include predictive modeling, prescriptive analytics, data-mining workflow builders, machine-learning capabilities, and platforms for creating custom models in “R” and other statistical languages.

BI application categories

Here are some examples of BI software applications:

Application categoryDescription
SalesBI software helps forecast sales figures using historical data by predicting the change in sales patterns and factoring in external aspects such as seasonality and the sale pipeline.
Retail operationsBy integrating BI software with point of sale (POS) systems, retail businesses can accurately measure inventory levels and keep stocks ready for sales based on customer demand surge.
Customer relationship management (CRM)BI software can help businesses accurately map and predict customer journeys within their business function, such as visiting and buying products online, and can track key pain points of customers through prescriptive analytics.
MarketingBy compiling potential leads, data businesses can create metrics to track consumers who are more likely to buy a product and can fine-tune their marketing campaigns to increase market share through predictive analytics.

Example of a BI solution

Domo is a cloud-based BI solution that manages key business analytics metrics related to marketing, sales, CRM, and other functions on your desktop and mobile. Key features include:

Visualization: Data is presented in a visualized format such as pie charts or bar graphs so that users can spot marketing or sales trends.

Drag-and-drop interface: The solution features widgets and tools for specific metrics, such as revenue and sales, that can be included in a marketing campaign by dragging and dropping the widget.

Third-party integration: Domo integrates with CRM, sales, HR, and finance software solutions that don't have a specialized BI feature to view KPIs.

Domo Dashboard

Domo Dashboard

Benefits and potential issues of BI software

Benefits
  • Enhanced reporting and analysis of key business functions.
  • Improved accuracy of reports and analysis by removing manual data entry.
  • Higher quality data with real-time data inputs.
  • Ability to visualize KPIs based on interactive graphs and bar charts.
Potential issues
  • Requires a large dataset to provide accurate predictions of business functions.
  • BI software users need to have solid technical knowledge in regards to creating reports and using visualization tools.