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The Ultimate Guide to Enterprise Business Intelligence

Find out more about enterprise business intelligence and how you can directly incorporate data from every facet of your business into your decision-making.

The Ultimate Guide to Enterprise Business Intelligence

What if you had the ability to foresee future events — and how your current strategic decisions will affect business outcomes?

No, it's not fantasy.

It's 100% possible to predict the future performance of crucial business areas and proactively make the necessary adjustments. 

Three words: enterprise business intelligence. 

With enterprise business intelligence, you can directly incorporate data from every facet of your business into your decision-making. Store it, slice it, dice it, and crunch the numbers in a way that even non-data scientists can leverage the power of data to capitalize on improvement opportunities. 

Before we go any further, here's an in-depth look at enterprise business intelligence. 

What is Enterprise Business Intelligence?

Imagine unifying disparate information from various aspects of your business into one navigable dashboard. 

With enterprise business intelligence, you break down data silos, foster collaboration, and enhance your organization's capacity to make data-driven decisions. It's your strategic tool for analyzing operations and guiding growth — collecting, storing, and analyzing data to create a panoramic view of your company.

Enterprise business intelligence is useful to companies that utilize vast data streams for decision-making. This includes ecommerce, marketing agencies, and SaaS providers. 

8 Benefits of Enterprise Business Intelligence

TL;DR: Enterprise business intelligence converts streams of data into actionable packets of insights. 

If you're still not sold, let's take a closer look at the key advantages it will bring to your business:

  • Streamline decision-making with real-time data. Respond quickly to market shifts and trends to optimize strategic decisions on a dime.
  • Boost operational efficiency across your organization. Get an eagle-eyed view of performance and proactively spot areas that need improvement. 
  • Forecast trends with predictive analytics. Use past and present data to inform current decisions and achieve your desired outcomes. 
  • Democratize data through self-service analytics. Allow everyone, including front-line employees, to explore your data without waiting for support from your IT or data science team.
  • Clarify complex data with interactive visualizations. Use interactive and dynamic charts to help users turn raw data into actionable insights. 
  • Simplify workflows with AI or search-driven analytics. Some BI platforms like Polymer allow users to turn their data questions into instant visualizations.
  • Easily consolidate data from multiple sources. Use data connectors to pool information from various sources into a single source of truth.
  • Make data analytics a team effort. BI dashboards allow multiple users to access, edit, and review visualizations from any connected (and supported) device.

Important Components of Enterprise Business Intelligence

To make the most out of BI, it's crucial to understand its components: data cleaning, data visualization, reporting, dashboarding, and data analytics.

Data cleaning

Data cleaning ensures accuracy and removes errors — both of which are essential for data optimization

Boosting the integrity of your data increases efficiency by eliminating the need to backtrack and correct inaccuracies during data analysis. This also leads to more robust, data-driven strategies for your business.

Some examples of data cleaning tasks include deduplication, outlier removal, and standardization. With enterprise business intelligence, you can address these issues early before they affect your strategic planning.  

Data visualization and exploration

Seeing your data is an essential step to understanding it. That's why data visualization and exploration are important to enterprise business intelligence. 

Visualizations — be it column charts or pivot tables — reveal insights within complex datasets in an instant. In simple terms, they allow stakeholders of all levels to extract facts from the numbers. 

Reporting

Once your data is transformed into readable insights, it's time to make them readily available to everyone who needs them.

Enterprise business intelligence platforms offer different ways to make data accessible and easily distributable. 

For example, some BI software lets you embed individual data visualizations into websites or employee portals. You can also craft more readable report templates — automatically populated with real-time data — and send them out via email.

Another approach is to give data stakeholders direct access to your dashboards. This is achievable with most modern BI tools. 

Dashboarding

In enterprise business intelligence, it's also important to include a workflow that compiles your data visualizations into streamlined dashboards. 

Dashboards, just like reports, give users a good look at important business metrics and KPIs in real-time. The main difference is, dashboards are more interactive — helping users extract the exact piece of information they need.  

Some examples of interactive elements in data dashboards are:

  • Interactive charts
  • Sliders
  • Drop-down menus
  • Filters

Dashboards are also more flexible and adaptable to the needs of an individual company. That's why two of the most important dashboard best practices are to set specific goals and understand the data stakeholders you'll cater to.

Data analytics

At the heart of enterprise business intelligence is data analytics — that is, actually putting data to work. 

Data analytics can be crunched up into four parts: descriptive analytics, diagnostic analytics, predictive analytics, and prescriptive analytics.  

Here's how data analytics pan out through these stages:

  • Descriptive analytics — Take a look at the data and describe the current story they tell. 
  • Diagnostic analytics — Pinpoint the important factors that influenced the outcomes. 
  • Predictive analytics — Use statistical methods and predictive analytics tools to translate data into forecasts. 
  • Prescriptive analytics — Hypothesize the required adjustments to achieve desired results.

Obviously, you'll need every previous element of enterprise business intelligence to conduct effective data analytics. 

This includes clean data, readable visualizations, accessible reports, and collaborative dashboards. 

The good news is, there are BI tools in the market that can help you through each step. 

Best Enterprise Business Intelligence Platforms

When choosing a BI tool, it's important to come up with a list of features that you need for data analytics. This includes the available data connectors, visualization tools, AI capabilities, and more.

Luckily, the tools below check all the boxes of what makes an enterprise intelligence platform extremely valuable for business growth.

Let's get started.

1. Polymer

Polymer is a no-nonsense BI platform that will provide a 30,000-foot view of your company that keeps the C-suite happy.

When it comes to usability, Polymer is nothing short of top-notch. 

Everything about Polymer makes BI easy enough for anyone, regardless of their background in data science. Connecting data sources, for instance, only takes minutes via the on-screen, step-by-step walkthrough — completely eliminating the need to write a single line of code.

After hooking up your data source, you have three options for building your dashboard: create a new one from scratch, use an optimized template, or have AI create one using your data.

Whichever you choose, rest assured that things only get easier from there. 

Polymer's plethora of data visualization and AI tools can take you from data collection to analysis within minutes. A must-see feature is PolyAI, which is a built-in AI assistant that instantly turns instructions or questions into ready-to-use interactive charts.

Polymer additional features 

  • AI-powered insight recommendations. With Polymer's "Suggested Insights," you can beef up your dashboard with more meaningful insights with a single click.
  • Create custom metrics. Automate the calculation of custom metrics using available data or manually-entered values — perfect for tracking advanced business KPIs.
  • Built-in data manager. Inspect the cleanliness of your datasets, create global filters, or blend multiple data sources into a single dashboard using only your mouse. 
  • Automated explanations. Polymer's data visualizations automatically generate explanations, predictions, and recommended actions to help non-data scientists interpret your data.

To unlock Polymer's full features, the entry-level plan starts at $50 per month. You can get this down to $25 per month if you opt for annual billing.

Click here to start a 7-day free trial

2. Tableau

Tableau is another BI platform that's best-known for its smooth learning curve. This is largely  thanks to the clutter-free user interface and stack of onboarding resources for new users.

Similar to Polymer, Tableau features a drag-and-drop visual interface for the effortless creation of data dashboards. Of course, it also comes with all the bells and whistles you'd look for in a BI tool — from collaboration tools to quick data connectors.

Tableau additional features

  • Optimize your workbook with an automated tool. Tableau can automatically scan your dashboards or "workbooks" and provide actionable data optimization recommendations.
  • Comes with a mobile app. You can check the Tableau mobile app anytime to view or share business intelligence data, regardless of where you are.
  • Diverse list of data integrations. Tableau has an impressive lineup of data import options — from direct uploads to third-party integrations with data sources (including cloud-based data analytics software and warehouses like Snowflake, Google BigQuery, and Amazon Redshift).

In terms of pricing, Tableau's dashboard-building features are only available with the "Tableau Creator" plan, which costs $75 per user per month. For viewers, the price is reduced to $15 per user per month.

3. Power BI

Power BI is a budget-friendly enterprise business intelligence tool that actually packs a surprising punch in terms of features. 

One of its main selling points is the seamless integration with other Microsoft products — including but not limited to Microsoft Excel, Mail, OneDrive, and Teams. Its also one of the few enterprise business intelligence platforms with a desktop version, which can be an advantage for those who primarily work with data in their day-to-day activities.

Power BI additional features

  • Advanced data security features. Power BI can help keep your enterprise data safe with features like sensitivity labels and Microsoft Entra ID for user authentication.
  • Speed up data analytics with Quick Insights. The aptly-named "Quick Insights" tool can provide you with instant, actionable insights from your data. 
  • Use Power BI on mobile. Apart from the web interface and desktop version, users can also access Power BI dashboards through the mobile app. 

If you're already paying for Microsoft Fabric, Power BI comes with it for free. Otherwise, the starting price of Power BI's Pro version is $10 per user per month.

4. Looker Studio

Thanks to Google's popularity, Looker Studio supports more than 800 data sources from a diverse list of third-party software. This includes advertising networks, social media apps, ecommerce tools, data warehouses, and more. 

Looker Studio also has plenty of fully customizable templates to help you get started with these integrations in no time. 

Sure, the web interface is rough around the edges and can be clunky, especially in comparison to the rest of the BI solutions on this list. 

On the flip side, Looker Studio offers extensive documentation, virtual classroom training, and other types of learning resources to help new users learn the ropes.

Looker Studio additional features

  • Visualization library fueled by the community. Looker Studio's biggest strength is the community visualizations gallery, which are perfect for organizations with specific data analytics needs.
  • Smooth integration with Google products. If your business relies on Google products like Google Ads, Sheets, Analytics, or Campaign Manager 360, you're going to have a stress-free time consolidating your data into Looker Studio.
  • Explore your data in a private sandbox. Looker Studio's "Explorer" tool lets you create and fine-tune data visualizations without affecting charts in live (and shared) dashboards. 

While the base version of Looker Studio is free, take note that the majority of third-party data connectors are paid. You also need a subscription that costs $9 per user per month to unlock Looker Studio's enterprise features. 

Try the Top Enterprise Business Intelligence Software 

If you're serious about enterprise business intelligence, you need to be equipped with the best tools in the market.

Polymer, by far, outclasses Tableau, Power BI, and Looker Studio in all categories that matter. The implementation of AI features, in particular, puts Polymer in a league of its own with tools like PolyAI, suggested insights, and automatic explanations. 

The best part is, you don't need to take our word for it.

You're welcome to start a 7-day free trial any time you please. Take Polymer for a spin and get a glimpse of the future of enterprise business intelligence.

Posted on
May 7, 2024
under Blog
May 7, 2024
Written by
Saif Akhtar
Growth Manager @ Polymer Search. Passionate about all things Startup, RevOps, and Go-to-Market. Ex-VC and startup accelerator who loves hacking MVPs.

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