In today’s digital marketplace, business intelligence, or BI, has become a key area of concern for any company that wants to get ahead of the game. Basically, BI is the use of certain types of computer software to pinpoint, extract, and analyze information in any number of useful ways.
Business intelligence reporting tools provide a way to compile your BI data and present it to the people who need to know, in a way they can easily understand. It's getting the right information to the right people, at the right time.
Tool types: Platforms and the companies that make them
There are a number of BI reporting tools on the market, with different capabilities, platform support, and other variables. Businesses can invest in custom-built reporting tools that deliver exactly what they need, or commercial reporting tools that are automatically capable of integrating with existing systems.
Some of the major players in BI reporting tools include:
The many functions of reporting tools
While business intelligence as a whole can deliver predictive data, the purpose of reporting tools is to gather descriptive information—data that already exists. These tools provide an overall picture of where you've been, to help you figure out where to go.
Functionality for reporting tools includes:
Common report formats
The word “report” is fairly generic. There are a lot of things that can be considered a report, from a 200-page corporate analysis study to you telling a friend about the movie you saw last night. So, what does a reporting tool consider a “report”?
Most reporting tools can generate organized data in some or all of these formats:
How do you share your data?
Chances are, you're already using some form of a reporting tool in your business. Whether it’s a simple email system or detailed reports that are uploaded to a centralized platform, every company has a way to send crucial information.
If your business relies on complex reports that combine data from many different sources, and requires different types of output depending on the recipients, you may benefit from upgrading your BI reporting tools. There are many customizable solutions that make it easy to compile and send information.
Best of all, BI reporting tools help to automate your data delivery processes—and who wouldn't want to do less work?
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