Today’s businesses strive to make better decisions regarding their services, products, suppliers, customers, and many more. They’re doing this by harnessing the right data sets and analyzing as thoroughly as possible. This process is known as business intelligence (BI), and it’s done with help from special software, platforms, and tools. The truth, however, is that these BI tools come in varying forms, which makes choosing very overwhelming and sometimes time-consuming.
The first question that comes to mind when choosing a business intelligence software is whether to invest in a new cloud, an in-house system, or SaaS BI tools. SaaS refers to Software-as-a-service and a SaaS business intelligence solution is one great option for businesses; thus, we delve into everything it entails and its benefits in this article.
What is SaaS BI?
Software as a service or Saas business intelligence refers to a delivery model usually employed at a hosted location. This model consists of applications designed to be implemented outside of a company by the end-user, with help from a protected internet access point. SaaS software is typically hosted in the cloud across several servers and can be accessed by business users only through an internet browser, on any device from authorized endpoints. Depending on the chosen pricing package, it usually comes with a subscription package, where stakeholders pay monthly or yearly.
The SaaS approach comes with several special features that distinguish it from other BI software. Every system is different, but like every other cloud-based BI tool, SaaS comes with:
- The platform functions like platform customization and interactive visualizations.
- Data visualization features include storyboarding, animations, geospatial integration, infographics, widgets, filters, barcode generation, templates, drag-and-drop interface, and the common freelance SQL.
- Analytics features include web analytics, benchmarking, predictive analysis, ad-hoc analysis, social media analytics. Data mining, machine learning, and statistical analysis.
- OLAP features such as data exploration and drill-down.
- Decision services like monitoring, integrations, various format export, fraud detection, consulting services, and many more.
Here are a few benefits to take note of;
Organizations using a cloud-based business intelligence tool often tend to have less staff on hand. They also avoid the purchase of additional hardware and servers, as they have no major use for them. Since the business user has no direct link to the BI tools, they pass the responsibility of data security to the product provider, which helps reduce expenditure and stress.
Flexibility and Scalability
With Saas BI tools, you don’t have to undertake all arduous tasks such as uninstalling, purchasing, and maintaining software products in-house. All these tasks are undertaken by the service provider, giving you enough time to focus on other aspects of your business while enjoying on-demand delivery of the services you require.
How to choose the best SaaS for your BI needs?
When choosing the right BI solution, the first thing to do is list out your requirements, which will depend on your industry, the size of your organization, and your deployments.
The next step is to create a shortlist of top BI vendors. Be thorough in your study, checking years of experience and success in the industry. Highlight your most important requirements and match the vendors that perform the best in these areas to help make your decision easier.
Lastly, select your top five vendors from your comparison session and submit a request for a proposal to help make your final selection. This proposal should request a quote from the vendor, based on your requirements. Also, try to as for a demo or trial for their tool. This way, you’ll understand how the solution works and if it’s the right fit for your business.