Business intelligence (BI) tools have changed significantly in the past few years. They've become more sophisticated and gained new capabilities, making them even more critical for organizations of all sizes and types. With BI, firms can make informed decisions about operations to improve their service offerings.
As many industry experts have highlighted, though, not all BI platforms are equal. Most notably, there is a significant distinction between traditional models and modern BI. Industry insider John Crupi, writing for ZDNet, recently argued that of all the characteristics that distinguish advanced BI and make it a necessity for modern organizations, perhaps none is as significant as flexibility.
Crupi pointed out that, in the past, BI was traditionally relegated to IT departments. Tech professionals would be responsible for collecting, sorting and analyzing business data, as well as transforming it into a more usable form.
Increasingly, though, such a system is becoming inefficient and impractical. The rise of big data and competitive markets is driving BI toward a more organization-wide model.
"Organizations are realizing that a one size fits all model for business intelligence simply won’t work. Not all problems are the same and not all problems can be solved by the same technology architecture," Crupi argued.
To be truly effective, a BI platform must be flexible enough to offer a range of different capabilities for a variety of purposes.
'The more you get, the more you want'
Crupi noted that as BI has become more organization-centric, it has shifted toward a do-it-yourself model. Users throughout a firm have begun to experience the value of BI tools and, as a result, expect further advances.
In a separate article for ebizQ, Crupi argued that this pattern has followed the traditional saying, "The more you get, the more you want." In other words, the more hands-on experience users have gained with BI, the more they desire, meaning that BI tools must be flexible and easily accessible to remain effective.
Crupi's arguments echo those made by several other experts. Shaughn Knight, writing for Smart Data Collective, for example, pointed out that a self-service BI model is increasing in popularity as organizations strive to put the power of the technology in the hands of as many workers as possible. For example, advanced BI tools allow users to create easy-to-understand analytics, including reports and dashboards.
In order to take advantage of these capabilities, associations and other non-profit organizations are widely recommended to consider investing in advanced association management software with integrated BI tools and functions.