28 June 2019

The 5 best BI & analytics solutions when you're just getting started

BI and Analytics Solutions

So you’re ready to embark on your analytics journey but you don’t know where to start. With all of the different technologies out there it can be confusing. We’re here to shed some light on the best analytics software when you’re just getting started.

IBM Cognos Analytics

You’ve done your research, you’ve made your business case and you’ve even managed to convince those at the top that analytics is a good thing. But now the burden of being expected to “know it all” weighs heavy on your shoulders. 

Where do you start? What insights should you be getting... How does this whole analytics thing actually work?

Well, this brings us nicely to the first solution on our list – IBM Cognos Analytics, and one of the great things about this is that you don’t have to be a data scientist to generate powerful insights.

IBM Cognos Analytics is a self-service platform, which means that the average business user with little to no analytics experience can easily unlock business patterns, create powerful visualisations and answer the questions that others cannot.

Driven by AI and machine learning, it gives you the opportunity to understand what the data means in human terminology rather than complex jargon, with a natural language-powered assistant that enables you to pose questions and receive intelligent responses… Think of it as having your very own Alexa on-hand to help you decode your data.

Why choose IBM Cognos Analytics?

  • Smart visualisations – Recommended according to the best chart type based on the data selected.

  • Data stories – Combine charts with overlays, voiceovers and interactive elements to create sharable stories.

  • Intelligent data preparation – Leverage system recommendations to cleanse, shape, blend and join data from a variety of different sources.

  • Natural-language assistant to find the data sources you need.

  • Smart data discovery – Quickly reveal hidden patterns and hard-to-find answers and relationships.

SAP Business Objects

When you’re just starting with analytics, collaboration of data across your organisation may be far and few in between, with teams using different methods to collect, analyse and store data – what we like to call “messy data”.

To resolve this issue of sporadic data and begin to truly understand why things happen the way they do in your organisation, it’s essential to adopt a centralised system.

SAP Business Objects prides itself on supporting business growth with a single, centralised platform for reporting and visualisation. The system supports anything from a handful of individuals to tens of thousands of users, to give you a holistic view of your organisation and to ensure that you always have a single version of the truth.

With real-time business intelligence, you can rest assured that you have all of the facts to make the right decisions and support the changing needs of your business.

And if the idea of moving all of your data to the Cloud doesn’t float your boat, SAP Business Objects provides a better option. You can leave your data exactly where it is whilst harnessing Cloud analytics to provide you with all the flexibility without the hassle.

Why choose SAP Business Objects?

  • Real-time BI from any data source on any device and Microsoft Office integration.

  • Role-based dashboards and BI reporting – Access to personalised, in-context BI content for faster and better decision-making.

  • Centralised system for a single version of the truth at all times.

  • Self-service for increased user autonomy – Users can create beautiful visualisations and clearly understand trends and root causes with ad-hoc queries and BI reporting.

IBM Planning Analytics

Effective planning is crucial for any organisation, but there are levels to this game. In the early stages of your data journey, you may still be relying on spreadsheets to carry out your planning.

This issue is, this can lead to inaccurate, sporadic data, with little collaboration across your organisation – making the task of collating and using this data in a meaningful way a near-impossible task.

Taking a more sophisticated approach to planning is the bridge to move from simply reporting what has already happened in your organisation to plan for the future.

IBM Planning Analytics is a tool that can make this a reality.

It provides a single, go-to platform for planning that allows you to align your financial plans with your wider objectives, operational tactics and market events.

On top of this, it automates your plans, analyses and reports so that you’re free to focus your time and energy on the things that matter most. Overall, IBM Planning Analytics works to transform your entire planning cycle by giving you the visibility you need to plan with confidence.

Why choose IBM Planning Analytics?

  • Multi-dimensional scenario planning – Test potential decisions to see their impact on your business before you make the commitment.

  • Streamlined planning process – Automate your budgeting, planning, reporting and analysis.

  • Collaborate your data - Align your financial plans with your wider objectives, operational tactics and market events.

  • Self-service platform – User-friendly interactive workspace to quickly and easily uncover insights.

  • Predictive insights – Uncover predictive insights automatically in real-time.

Microsoft Power BI

Overwhelmed at the prospect of having to wade through a sea of complicated data? Transforming your complex data into beautiful, easy to understand visualisations is only one tool away.

With Microsoft Power BI you can create rich, interactive visualisations all at the touch of a button, using Microsoft’s drag-and-drop canvas to communicate your insights in a way that’s digestible and easy to understand.

Another added benefit is that you can share and connect to your data wherever you are.  Access data from supported on-premises and cloud-based sources such as Salesforce and Excel, and create and share mobile-friendly reports for those on the go.

Remove the time taken to prep data and experience the freedom of using data modelling tools to quickly prepare your data for analysis.

And if you’re an Excel user, you’ll be sure to feel right at home, with an interface similar to Microsoft Excel you’ll be able to identify patterns and generate insights with ease.

Why choose Microsoft Power BI?

  • Create interactive, customised reports – Tell your data story in a way that’s compelling and digestible through an easy to use drag-and-drop canvas.

  • Access data from hundreds of supported on-premises and cloud-based sources.

  • Create and share mobile-friendly visualisations – Share your data insights with anyone, everywhere.

  • Prep and model with ease with self-service Power Query experience – Save time and transform your data into rich insights.

  • Discover advanced analytics – Unlock features like quick measures, grouping, forecasting, and clustering all with the familiarity of Excel.

SAP Analytics Cloud

Want it all? If more than one of the above floats your boat, SAP Analytics Cloud may be the answer.

Visualise, plan and predict all in one place with a superior hybrid system pours the benefits of technologies like Business Objects into one powerful solution.

This gives you the ability to experience everything analytics has to offer, without the need for additional infrastructure or having to spend extra money on multiple solutions – Almost like your one-stop shop for enhancing your data maturity.

SAP Analytics Cloud enables you to quickly uncover insights no matter where you are so that you can constantly align your plans and make accurate decisions in real-time rather than just in hindsight.

You can also meet your specific business needs with application extensions that leverage an industry standard cloud platform so that you can fix the issues that ring true to your organisation.

Why choose SAP Analytics Cloud?

  • BI Technology allows you to easily understand your data with powerful visualisations.

  • Planning Analytics enables you to plan and forecast in advance.

  • Predictive Analytics uses Machine Learning to automatically generate insights.

  • Cloud allows you to unlock and share your insights no matter where you are.

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Oletta Stewart

Oletta Stewart is a Content Writer for MHR Analytics.

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