Business intelligence, today is becoming more and more an integral, integrated and essential part of all businesses, be it small or big. The gap between hardware, software and data analytics is blurring as both need to work seamlessly to ensure businesses are intelligent enough to serve the purpose they are expected to.
There are many vendors who specialise separately in hardware, software and analytics but today more and more vendors are realizing that all three need to work in tandem and its easier for businesses also to make a decision on purchase of product and using the required services for all 3 are provided by one vendor under the same umbrella.
Few key benefits of integrated BI Tools:
- They provide real time data / information about customers, products, competition etc.
- They are user friendly and come with 24 X 7 service support which is extremely valuable in retail POS environment.
- They help to streamline business operations and optimize processes to build efficiencies.
- They help improve response time and add to bottomlines by cutting on undue expenses.
Types of BI and related areas:
- BI Hardwares: These constitute the necessary data warehouses, servers etc to support both the Softwares and Tools mentioned below.
- BI Softwares: These range across business functions like HR, Finance, Operations, Marketing, Sales etc and are present at each stage of Product life cycle starting from raw material purchase to factory to consumer purchase and re-purchase etc.
- BI Tools: Some popular examples are Domo, Tableau, Micro Strategy, Qlik etc which help in visualizing and analysing the generated data in an easy and intuitive manner so businesses can make quick decisions in cases of identified opportunities or threats.
SAP, IBM, Microsoft and Oracle have already started providing all the above services under one roof to make it easier for businesses to decide on their purchases and also ensure seamless working of necessary products and services.
Before implementing any solutions, to ensure they understand the requirements and issues in advance as much as possible, vendors generally go through the entire business process in detail across steps like: Requirement gathering from key personnel across functions using interviews or process questionnaires etc, they further move on to process mapping, proposition of the appropriate solution for the business along with timelines, project plan and finally the implementation.
Areas that need BI support and hence the associated popular solutions are: Warehouse Management Services (WMS), Inventory Management (IM), retail POS, Customer Relation Management (CRM), Mobile orders, Payment kiosks, Vehicle tracking, Vending machines etc. These are used across businesses from FMCG, IT, Retail, Automobiles, Pharmaceuticals etc and the scale of solutions are also dependent on the industry or stage of business maturity.