Present-day business intelligence tools can produce some amazing insights into your company’s performance and enable you to identify key opportunities based on facts and numbers rather than personal intuition. But even when you know how to ask your software all the right questions, the answers you receive lose most or all of their practical value if they’re not arriving in a timely fashion.
Modern businesses run at a breakneck pace, and if your BI software is lagging behind it could leave you empty-handed when it comes to making informed decision in real time.
The Need for Speed
Most modern companies need to evaluate, respond and make strategic decisions in increasingly abrupt timeframes – often on a daily basis. Getting answers to last week’s ’s questions is nice if you’re only using your data as a decision support tool. But if you want to make data-driven decisions in the first place, you’ll want to be able to receive answers to your queries immediately.
Furthermore, you’ll want to build on these answers by drilling deeper and asking questions which you might not have thought of in the first place. If data retrieval during any of these stages takes a month, a week or often even just a full workday it could mean that you’ve either had to make the decision without the data, or to rely on outdated reports.
Why Your BI is Taking Way Too Long
If you’re a veteran user of some of the common BI software solutions available today, you’ve probably found yourself asking this question, more often than not while pulling out your own hair: Why should a simple report take days or weeks to generate? Here are three of the most common reasons:
- Data aggregation. When data is dispersed in many diverse sources and platforms, gathering the data into one single source of truth – even before you start processing it – could become a lengthy process.
- Hardware insufficiencies. BI tools that use in-memory technology (based on RAM) or OLAP might slow down considerably when the amounts of data become larger than was originally expected.
- The human factor. If your BI is reliant on IT or dedicated data analysts, it can only be as fast as their schedules allow. If they’re handling multiple requests or additional obligations their response time will be considerably slower.
These issues may seem simple, but unfortunately they are inherent to many of the BI tools currently in the market. These solutions rely on dedicated personnel, heavy-duty hardware or lack the capability for automatically joining multiple data sources.
Spending More Money Is Not the Answer
One way to resolve these problems is to invest more in hardware and IT. This might seem to be a tempting quick fix, but before you open your wallet keep in mind that it’s not scalable in the long-term. As your business grows and more data begins to accumulate, these costs can become nightmarishly high and your whole BI operation will cost more than it’s worth to your business.
Accelerating Your Data AnalyticsCan BI provide you with answers that are both accurate and available when you need them? Good question! The answer is yes, it can. But you need technology that is robust enough to handle the increasingly large data sets that your business generates, but also accessible enough to be handled by business users rather than IT professionals.
To cite our own example, Sisense addresses the speed issue by applying unique In-Chip Technology, which maximizes the built-in capabilities of disk storage, RAM, and CPU to expedite data analytics. This enables our BI software to merge multiple data sets and perform advanced queries on huge amounts of data – which previously could have taken days or weeks – within minutes. Another bonus to this method: Sisense can run on any standard PC set-up and without the need for IT assistance.
If the BI software you’re using or considering can’t achieve this – maybe it’s time to look into more innovative solutions that can make the most of your data.
Tip: When evaluating BI software, test how long it takes to run a query on your largest data set using just a standard laptop computer.