What is Business Intelligence?
You may have read in our recent blog post that Asana customers are using Velocity Data Links to supercharge their Asana reporting by creating powerful dashboards and advanced analysis in their Business Intelligence tools.
Since Business Intelligence is new for some of our customers, we put together this post as an introduction to Business Intelligence software.
Business intelligence (BI) is a technology that allows companies to access and analyze large sets of data. BI can help teams and managers better understand the business, identify areas for performance improvements, and find ways to increase revenue.
BI is the fusion of cutting-edge data analytics and visual dashboards and comes in several different flavors. At its simplest, these can be split into either self-service BI or enterprise BI.
A self-service version provides a powerful set of analytic tools with simplified user interfaces to make it easier for non-technical users to create reports and provide simple analysis.
On the other hand, an enterprise version provides more complex visualizations along with advanced analytical capabilities, which larger organizations with dedicated teams mostly use.
Data Types and Use Cases
Business data is simply defined as the information that describes a company, its customers, and even its products. This includes quantities associated with sales, profits, costs, and market research. This type of data often gets turned into reports to provide some insight into how the business is performing and can be used to target customers.
Technical data includes the information that describes how a system or network is put together. Project managers use technical data to create accurate budgets and production timelines.
Operational data refers to the real-time operational status of services, components, or systems within an organization. Project managers can build workflows that pull in this type of data to identify risks and provide early warning signs of potential problems.
Depending on the team and the use case, data from Asana customers could actually fall into any one of these buckets – Velocity has customers creating Asana reports with marketing, operational, financial data, and more!
When to use BI tools (and when not to)?
Many larger companies benefit from business intelligence software because they often have large quantities of business and technical data that they need to analyze and understand. Smaller organizations might not have this same requirement and can perhaps get by with a simple spreadsheet.
Understanding when and where BI software should be used is important. When deciding whether or not your team needs Business Intelligence software, there are several factors that should be considered.
First, does your company have multiple, complex projects underway at once?
Secondly, do these projects require data from multiple sources? Include 1000’s of rows of data?
Third, does your team have the capability to create, maintain, and utilize Business Intelligence reports?
If you answered yes to these questions, then your company could benefit from an investment in Business Intelligence software. BI software is particularly beneficial in cases where there’s a lot of data from multiple sources.
In these types of scenarios, business intelligence software should be the preferred reporting tool because it allows for more flexibility. You might also need to use several different visualization tools simultaneously to understand the results quicker. BI software generally allows you to pull in this type of data to identify risks and provide early warning signs of potential problems before they occur.
Conversely, there are some situations where BI software isn’t really warranted. Looking ONLY at the amount of data you have access to is usually not a great indicator regarding whether BI software should be used. Instead, the focus should be on understanding the type of reports or business intelligence goals that your organization needs to achieve.
It’s important to realize that different BI vendors specialize in different types of data. As such, some of them are better suited than others based on the situation and scenario.
Some of the most well-known BI solutions available and their primary use cases include:
Domo provides businesses with a way of quickly mapping data from a multitude of sources into a single unified view. They provide reports and visualizations that can be shared with your team as well as interactive dashboards.
Domo has a custom visualization tool that allows you to create interactive data stories, presentations, and case studies. Companies can draw connections between people, places, things, and ideas across different sources using this tool.
Domo is often seen as a leader in “Business Data” where executives can login into their dashboard to get an overall view of the health and status of the business.
Google Data Studio
Google Data Studio integrates easily into your existing Google account. It lets users create powerful and beautiful interactive dashboards quickly and easily.
With the ability to connect to an abundance of data sources, users can filter and display the most relevant information with just a few clicks.
Note: because of the simplicity of the integration with Google Sheets, this is the most common BI tool we see for Asana reporting with Data Links.
With easy-to-use software that connects to data in a few clicks, then visualizes and produces interactive, sharable dashboards with just a few more— Tableau is business intelligence software that anyone may use.
It’s simple enough for any Excel user to grasp, but it has enough power to handle even the most complex analytical issues. Sharing the information you’ve discovered with others is simple and easy to do.
Microsoft Power BI
Power BI is a collection of business analytics tools from Microsoft that allows you to analyze data and communicate insights. With a single click, end users may examine the data behind their dashboard using easy-to-use tools that make finding answers simple.
Thanks to over 50 connections to popular business applications and pre-built dashboards designed by professionals who quickly get you up and running, creating a dashboard is straightforward.
With their most important metrics presented in one spot, updated in real-time, and available on all of their devices, Power BI dashboards offer a full 360-degree perspective for company users.
What about Project Management Software?
Project management software is different from BI software. Project management software can be a useful tool for teams that want to better track time, manage expenses, and keep an eye out for potential risks before they become problems.
Asana is one such project management software that can help manage team projects from start to finish by organizing tasks into boards filled with important updates and milestones for each project within your company or organization.
When enterprises use Asana heavily and end up with thousands of tasks across hundreds of projects, exporting their data to a Business Intelligence tool may make sense.
BI tools are potent in the right situation and can help organizations visualize their data in new ways.
However, some BI solutions require teams of data engineers and analysts so it’s important to make sure your team is prepared. An investment in a BI tool can be expensive, so it’s essential to understand if the needs warrant the investment.
Thinking about using a Business Intelligence tool to better understand your Asana data? We’d be happy to help answer any questions you may have! [email protected]