It’s likely your business is using some form of business intelligence (BI). But what makes those tools right for your company? Are you clinging to legacy tech just because that’s the way it’s been for years? There’s a real possibility the architecture of your BI platform isn’t up to par. Here’s how to choose the right BI architecture for your business.
What Is BI Architecture?
In the same way, the architecture of a building determines the way it’s constructed, BI architecture is the underlying build of a platform. You don’t want to use bad blueprints for your home. Why should you do that for your BI tools?
There are a few different ways architecture plays a role in BI. This can be broken down into three main categories: data, information management, and technology.
When considering the data aspects of BI architecture, you need to think about where the data is coming from. Most enterprises are going to have large quantities of data. All of it is going to be important in some way. It’s essential to create a framework for how all those disparate forms of data are going to be brought together—or not.
Information management deals with how data goes from its raw form to something that can actually be interpreted by users. This can be viewed as the backend process that goes into preparing data, such as data cleansing, warehousing, integration.
The technology parts of BI architecture are essentially the tools used to work with the data. This will include things like BI tools themselves, as well as servers, and any other hardware and software associated with the process.
Why Is BI Architecture Important?
As already mentioned, business intelligence architecture is important to the underlying effectiveness of BI and data analytics. But what’s an example of this in practice?
One way BI architecture plays an obvious role is in how easily the system can be used by people outside of the data department. Greater data democracy can only happen if BI is structured in a way that allows for it. ThoughtSpot is an example of a BI software platform that was built around this idea.
This difference in BI architecture plays a huge role in how well an organization will be able to gain insights from its data. With legacy BI systems, you’re going to run into problems with data siloes and overall usability. The average person isn’t going to be able to run any kind of analysis without a good amount of training. Plus, data is often so fragmented in older BI configurations, they might not be able to even access the information needed.
Modern BI tools that facilitate search analytics, on the other hand, make it possible for regular employees to obtain insights. In the past, these would have all needed to go to a data analyst, who would have to take time building a static report that might not even fulfill the request. When BI architecture is built for user-friendly search, anyone can run ad hoc requests and get immediate insights. This creates a more efficient way of doing things company-wide.
What Should You Look for in BI Architecture?
There are a few places it’s important to ensure BI architecture is making the grade. These things should be at the top of the list:
- Data Governance: How easy is it to create custom permission levels for each employee? You want people to have enough access to do their jobs in the best way possible, but not so much that they can get to data they don’t need.
- Scalability: You don’t want to start using a BI tool only to realize it’s not going to scale to your needs. Ensure you’re not going to run into walls when you use large data sets or need to add more users.
- Security: Data is dangerous in the hands of the wrong people. The underlying foundation of your BI system needs to be secure so all your information stays safe.
BI tools are an important part of any enterprise trying to succeed in today’s world. But the architecture of these plays a big role in determining their effectiveness.