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The 32 most important products of a BI team

Photo Daan van Beek
Author: Daan van Beek
senior BI advisor
Table of Contents

An intelligent, data-driven organization does not allow itself to be surprised. It is sensitive, smart, fast and agile. It makes decisions based on reliable data. And that data is available to everyone at all times. Because in a world where new competitors appear daily, markets become saturated, and digitization offers new opportunities but also poses new challenges, weekly reports are no longer enough. The BI team can deliver many more products than you think. We’ve inventoried them for you. There are as many as 32 of them. In this blog, you’ll find them all.

Find the products and services with a BI roadmap

Working towards an intelligent, data-driven organization is easier with our BI roadmap. An important part of this is to find out which products and services your BI team needs to deliver, given the spearheads, goals and future situation of the organization. With those services and products, the BI team helps your organization to:

  • Gain insight into the organization’s core processes. This allows it to make better, more correct decisions and take the best actions.
  • Keep the data quality in order. After all, employees need to have the most reliable information and unadulterated KPIs.
  • Find new opportunities by pursuing data innovation and optimization, making your organization as a whole much more agile.
  • Making business partners, employees and managers ever smarter by providing them with the right tools.

Get insight into the state of your organization

Knowing rather than thinking is the foundation of data-driven decisions. For example, knowing how the competition is doing by performing a competitive analysis. Or being aware of the organization’s key parameters at all times by building a management dashboard with gauges. Organizations that make data-driven decisions have better margins, more satisfied customers and employees.

Seven products to gain insight:

  1. Lists & reports: these are, for example, standard reports or lists. Users can also create these ad hoc. For example, reports on turnaround times or lists of all courses attended by employees in a quarter.
  2. Alerts: for example, generic alerts on many sick days or departures in a month. It can also be specific alerts about many calls to customer service within a short period of time.
  3. Control queries: an organization can do nothing with a database that contains incorrect or poor-quality data. Through frequent check queries, you check that all database fields are filled correctly. In this way you organization can do nothing with a database that contains incorrect or poor-quality data. Through frequent check queries, you check that all database fields are filled correctly. In this way you can check if you have good-quality data. You do this by asking queries such as “select all orders that do not have a product attached to them” or “give me all customers whose zip code is not entered.
  4. Ad-hoc query: request random information from the database. For example, consider all Amsterdam customers who purchased a particular product in a specific week.
  5. Simple analyses: create analyses quickly with OLAP cubes or let end users do it themselves with self-service BI tools, such as Power BI from Microsoft. For example, drill-down analyses on sales or market share.
  6. Dashboards: clear dashboards with KPIs. These show managers and employees at a glance whether the organization is still on track. Dashboard screens in many cases consist of gauges or traffic lights colored green, yellow and red, simple graphs and other visualizations. Sometimes notifications also appear on the screen.
  7. Visual Data Discovery: Visual data discovery tools such as Tableau and Qlik allow end users to visualize their own data. This, too, is a form of self-service BI. At organizations that visualize analytics, those analytics are seen by nearly 50 percent more employees, research shows.

Keep your data quality in order

Still, organizations often fail to get a good and reliable picture of their customers, suppliers, products, employees, and also competitors. Contaminated or incomplete data or a data warehouse of poor quality are some of the reasons for this. This is unfortunate, because it causes these organizations to miss crucial insights and market opportunities. The Data Warehousing Institute (TDWI) calculates that the cost of poor data quality is six hundred billion dollars annually in the United States alone.

Seven services a BI team can provide:

  1. Perform analyses on demand: for teams, employees and managers, the BI team performs analyses on the data in search of answers or greater insight.
  2. Information analysis: for the first step of your BI project, deliver key information that users need to make smarter decisions.
  3. Moderate data discovery sessions: show managers and employees what techniques and opportunities exist to extract value from your data through interactive visualization. See also DataDoing.
  4. Data acquisition: by acquiring and collecting data from other sources (external or internal), you can generate more and newer insights.
  5. Data management: improve data quality and maintain master data and metadata.
  6. Authorization and information security: ensure that only authorized people can see the available information.
  7. Incident management: in case of a disaster where the data warehouse or (part of) the BI platform goes down, it is important that users can quickly create reports and perform analyses again. For that to happen quickly, specific knowledge about the IT infrastructure is needed. The IT department can have that knowledge. Of course, it is also possible to equip someone within the BI team with these skills.

Find new opportunities and optimize with advanced analytics

To have a good strategy, you first have to know what’s going on and how to play the game. Only then can an organization grow sustainably and quickly. Growth is a priority for most CEOs. They often consider it even more important than cost efficiency. But growth is difficult in markets increasingly saturated by the Internet and e-commerce. That means companies need to make smart choices before committing their marketing budgets. Advanced analytics products (predictive big data analytics) can help make those decisions. By deploying the right algorithms, tools and techniques, you can not only look back at the state of your organization in the past but you can also start making predictions.

The five predictive analytics products

  1. Data mining: automatically look for patterns and relationships in data sets. Apply data mining techniques to your customers’ purchasing behavior, for example. That way, you’ll discover which products they regularly buy together, and what are decisive factors in doing so.
  2. Textmining and social analytics: extract hidden information from emails, reviews or documents. Or scan public social media channels for buyer or user opinions. That’s handy for the product development department.
  3. Speech analytics: automatically analyze stored conversations or recordings of meetings. This allows you to determine sentiment or recognize patterns in the course of conversations.
  4. Image processing: search image files for information and patterns. For example, finding people with a mustache in a bar or the dents in a car.
  5. Personalized HTML or text: based on advanced analytics you can compose a personalized HTML code, and present that in the customer portal or on the supplier website.

Growth is not only possible by looking for new markets, it is also possible by making better use of existing markets. For example, by analyzing a customer so that the sales person is sure to offer the right product. Or increase profits by better planning of resources or more precise allocation of budgets.

Five more products for new opportunities and optimization

  1. A 360-degree customer view: give everyone in your organization an integral view of your customers by clearly displaying information from different sources.
  2. Performance Management and KPIs: optimize and simplify the management of your organization with performance management.
  3. What-if, forecasting and scenario planning: make calculations to work through scenarios and predict demand for the coming days, weeks or months.
  4. Planning and budgeting: smart insights can help you make better use of existing resources.
  5. Monitoring: surveys and studies allow the organization to keep a finger on the pulse and collect new data.

Give the right support to business partners, employees and managers

If data is the foundation of decisions, it is important that business partners and employees can access that data at any time. Not just in fancy reports or analytics. A BI team can also easily pull information from multiple databases at once that could take an employee days to access. Moreover, a BI team understands data and analysis. Even if it involves large amounts of data, as in the case of Big Data. Then the department can facilitate its storage and access.

Three products that a BI team uses to help employees:

  1. Downloads and interfaces: offer files that are frequently requested by employees as downloads on the intranet. For example, a list of customers who provided the most sales or a file of returned devices from the past week.
  2. Web services: use Web services to let business partners or internal systems request data from the data warehouse.
  3. Big Data storage: Big Data analyses place different demands on storage systems, for example in the data lake.

Employees and managers are also helped by more knowledge. An essential part of an intelligent, data-driven organization is increasing the knowledge within your organization. That’s why a BI team also provides training to end users.

Three training courses a BI team can offer:

  1. Tool training: introduce users to the Business Intelligence tools the organization has in-house and make sure they learn to use them.
  2. Data-driven decision training: teach employees to focus on data-driven working and teach them to make decisions based on data and what that involves. See also our blog ‘Data-driven working: say goodbye to the status quo‘.
  3. Data analysis training: teach users to properly analyze data by providing tools or methods.

Two more services to support your organization:

  1. Automatic distribution of information: distribute daily, weekly or monthly reports, analyses and dashboards to users in an automated and personalized way.
  2. Monitoring and managing data quality: it has already been said, good quality data is essential for good analysis and overviews. By monitoring and managing data quality, the organization always has the right information.


An intelligent, data-driven organization cannot exist without the products or services provided by the BI team. They are the foundation on which employees and managers make crucial decisions. We gave you 32 variations of products and services that a BI team can use to provide optimal, customer-focused support to the organization. How many BI products and services do you already provide to your clients? Please let us know in a comment below this post.

Do you also want to get started with a BI roadmap or products and services catalog?

Would you like to know more about these products and services? Or would you like help with an inventory for your organization and also want to get started with a BI roadmap? Then feel free to contact us.

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