Business intelligence is the process of reviewing a company’s data to develop information useful in making decisions. A business intelligence company completes the initial review of data based on detailed investigation into the client’s desired uses of the information. This company then develops and installs an automated system to capture relevant data on an ongoing bases and make it available to authorized users. The best business intelligence company for a particular firm will have experience in dealing with companies of similar size and focus; will have successfully worked with hardware and software in use at the company; will be priced competitively; and will have a reputation for developing effective solutions on time, within budget and with minimal disruption.
Choosing the best business intelligence company begins with reviewing the completed projects of business intelligence firms available to and interested in working at a potential client. It is not mandatory that a business intelligence company have experience in the specific line of business of the potential client, but the best will have experience in companies of similar size and with a similar focus, such as a manufacturing firm versus a sales organization. Consider it a plus if the business intelligence company has specific industry experience.
The end product of a business intelligence relationship is not just information but a system to retrieve and display information that is compatible with the client firm’s information technology infrastructure. Successful experience with the hardware and software in use at a firm is a requirement for the best business intelligence company. It is an added advantage if the business intelligence firm is experienced in creating systems that can grow with the company and adapt to changes in the information technology environment.
Most business intelligence projects begin with consultants interviewing top managers at the client firm to determine the strategic uses and value of the information desired. Following that, extensive investigations are conducted with mid-level managers and data processors to discern what information is available, how it is captured and how it is stored. The best business intelligence company will have demonstrated success in translating strategic goals of top managers into specific requests for information from lower-level employees, developing specific recommendations for use of the data and creating tools to retrieve that data on an ongoing basis integrated in the client firm’s computer systems.
Working with a business intelligence company requires a close relationship between the firms over a defined period of time. Quality business intelligence firms will conduct business with minimal disruption and loss of productivity for the client. The best business intelligence company will bid to do the job in a certain amount of time at a competitive rate.