Choosing the right Business Analytics tool can be daunting. Here are three questions to ask yourself as you’re searching for what BI tool makes the most sense for your business.
- How will you interact with the data? Are you even potentially unsure of the answer here?
- Where is your data stored?
- Who are your intended users?
1. How will you interact with the data? Are you even potentially unsure of the answer here?
Understanding Static Dashboards & Reports Versus Interactive Exploratory Workspace
This question is important due to the fact that many solutions today are focused on setting up static dashboards. With a static dashboard, you must know in advance what data you want to visualize and how you want it presented. It takes a lot of time to set up and is hard to modify. Static dashboards work best when you have just a few metrics.
When you start dealing with high dimensionality time series data, you need to move to a product that can handle both metrics and dimensions. Exploratory products like Facet make it easy to monitor & explore you time series data, i.e. how much revenue did I make last month, week, day, day/day, etc? What was your revenue by city/day? What is your average revenue by zip code? These questions are nearly impossible to answer without resorting to SQL or writing code without exploratory products. Static dashboards are great for static reports that don’t change.
Our customers use Facet to dive into their data to understand, beyond a static report what is changing across their key business metrics, starting with revenue. Our click-to-filter frontend allows you to easily update the metrics and dimensions, visualize the data and then take action. Exploratory means that you can then drill into how much revenue did I make month/month, week/week, day/day, include or exclude dimension, compare dimensions, and use the data to determine root cause analysis. Answer which partners might have caused the dip? When did the dip happen? Is this a normal trend week over week? Then take action. Being able to better understand the why, is incredibly beneficial for you to be able to make better data-driven decisions in the future.
2. Where is your data stored?
With any BI product, the question of cost, setup, and maintenance is sometimes the most important consideration. At a high level, many solutions require your data, engineering, or product team to do the due diligence, project scope, and then integrate these tools across a number of sprints. This can be time consuming and given data ownership may be spread across a number of stakeholders, it can be incredibly difficult to get everyone aligned on a single solution. Additionally, many BI tools may also require hosting or data aggregation into other Cloud Data Warehouses or on-prem data sources in order to integrate into tools and partners they're already working with.
With Facet being a stand alone visualization layer, we give you the control to set up and manage your data infrastructure in the way that works best for your business. Because we sit on top of your existing infrastructure, your data is also more secure as it doesn’t need to go through any additional storage solutions. As an agnostic, front-end tool, we are built to seamlessly integrate with any partner and leave the decision of how your data is stored and managed up to you.
3. Who are your intended users?
One challenge we see with our customers today is the siloed implementation and use of data within internal teams. Given many BI tools are set up by the data, engineering, or product teams, for the tool to then be leveraged by the business teams to track real-time revenue data, there is often a disconnect between how the data is set up versus how it is used. Internal users may ask themselves, is this SQL query setup correctly? Am I viewing the same dashboard my colleague is viewing or are we analyzing different metrics?
Instead, you should be focused on building a single workspace for all of your important business metrics. Having a single workspace for your team and your partners -- Executive, Sales, Marketing & Success, Finance, Product & Engineering Teams to all work from the same pane of glass, dive into the data, collaborate and take action. Not only is a single workspace beneficially internally, but then you can start to extend that same discipline and feature to your external partners. Start to eliminate the need of sending download, obsolete CSVs to external partners and instead use a sharable, live workspace to give your partners access to their data in a filter and secure way.
There are clearly many factors that go into choosing the right BI tool for your business and while these three questions can get your started we’re always here to help guide you through the process. If you’re interested in learning more about BI tools, Facet, or just want to talk about your existing data infrastructure -- book time with us to start the conversation.