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November 18, 2016

What Business Intelligence Software Should You Use?

After a shocking political upset, Donald J. Trump was elected to become the 45th President of the United States. In a knee-jerk response, the markets plummeted. The general consensus among investors was sell now and ask questions laterHowever, pessimism about Trump’s presidency is not rooted in any tangible facts but are merely speculations about how things may turn out.

Still, despite a change in the political climate and an uncertain economic future for the United States, one thing is certain: businesses must continue to adapt to ongoing economic uncertainty around the globe.


One way a mid-sized or large business can adapt to an uncertain economic world is choosing the right business intelligence software. This is essential for making sense of unparalleled amounts of data. By structuring data, a business can better anticipate the future and plan for it.

Let’s take a look at 3 leading business intelligence platforms: SAS Visual Analytics, SAP BusinessObjects, and Microsoft Power BI

What is SAS Visual Analytics?

SAS can collect data from many sources. This data, in turn, can be used to create models, to figure out trends, to provide forecasts, and to update reports. One powerful feature is to provide analytics. For instance, the use of keyword identification can be used to calculate the percentage of positive comments to content published on social media networks.

The use of SAS tools can provide three primary benefits:
  1. The ability to evaluate the tone of reviews about a product across various online media . This, in turn, makes it possible for a company to increase its profitable products and discontinue its unprofitable ones.
  2. The ability to use of a wide variety of dashboards to analyze product supply and demand. This makes it easier to predict the rise in the market value of specific goods and services.
  3. The ability to analyze and improve a websites performance. The program can create charts to analyze the success ratio of different marketing strategies. This, of course makes it easier to determine which strategies to keep based on how much revenue they generate.
What are SAP BusinessObjects?

These programs help a business to effectively manage customer relationships. This software can review the best marketing strategies, keep an eye on finances, and manage supply chains.
The use of SAP BusinessObjects tools can provide five primary benefits:
  1. The ability to provide analytics to gauge a website’s profitability.
  2. The ability to calculate the number of social media users who comment on the business. It can also calculate the reach of all these comments based on data about the user's contact list.
  3. The ability to offer a variety of detailed statistics. These include information about which domains send visitors and the conversion rates of these visitors. It can also provide information on the type of web browser and device that the customer uses to land on their website.
  4. The ability to get a detailed review of visitor interaction with the website. Heat maps indicate what part of a page customers visit while pageviews reveal visitor behavior and the percentage of return visitors to the website.
  5. The ability to gather a number of metrics to improve customer satisfaction. The customer relation management system can create a profile for each customer. This profile offers historical information about a customer's interests, purchases, returns, and e-mail correspondence with the company.
What is Microsoft Power BI?

This Microsoft program works with Office 365 and Excel. A central platform can receive information from multiple sources. The software offers features for data evaluation, widget creation, and dashboard modification

This program can provide the following four primary benefits:
  1. The ability to keep track of inventory. By analyzing time frames, historical traffic, and seasonal patterns, it knows when inventory is running low and can send an alert for the company to replenish its stock.
  2. The ability to notify a company about defective products in the inventory. The software is able to evaluate financial losses based on defective products sent by suppliers and provide a company with suggestive data on what not to reorder in the future.
  3. The ability to manage information. Since all the data flows into central database from multiple sources, an analyst can review the data for popular keywords and trends.
  4. The ability to contact customers, sending automated e-mails for purchases, subscriptions, and refunds. The software can also customize these e-mails with suggestive advertising on what other products the customer might be interested in buying based on their previously demonstrated interests and purchases.
Making a Buying Decision

There is no single right answer. The best way to make a buying decision is to look at the unique business intelligence requirements of your business. Since Microsoft BI is less robust, with fewer features than SAS Visual Analytics and SAP BusinessObjects, it is also at a lower price point. While it’s important to get all the features you need, it also makes sense to only get features that you will use. In addition, many features in all three types of BI can be customized to suit your businesses needs. 

The views and opinions expressed herein are the author's own, and do not necessarily reflect those of EconMatters.

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