Business intelligence is becoming increasingly mission-critical for organizations in virtually every industry. Without it, companies are less adaptable to changes in their industry and may suffer from productivity-killing lags in trying to position themselves for a competitive advantage. With the help of the deluge of structured and unstructured data currently available in all areas of customer interaction and business operation, as well as high-performance analytics tools able to make sense of this information, companies can make smarter decisions about their future flexibility.

Of course, knowing about the benefits of business intelligence and actually being able to implement them successfully are two different things. Crunching numbers is no easy task, and many organizations struggle with delivering quality insights at high speeds. Without rapid implementation, business intelligence techniques risk being modeled on outdated information. If an organization fast-tracks business intelligence merely to put something into play, it can suffer from a lack of quality and erase its benefits. However, in the hands of capable end users, reporting tools can form the bridge between data and business intelligence, identifying the business case for information insights and serving as supportive tools for the successful implementation of new initiatives. 

Getting real-time with reporting tools

The key to effective business intelligence is to be able to act out insights in real time. Immediate action is essential to getting predictive analytics to work, and virtually every decision can be made smarter by having access to business intelligence. Memeburn contributor Leon Wright recently highlighted the potential business intelligence tools have to transform enterprise processes.

"BI tools provide all employees with the information and insights they require to become more effective in their respective roles," stated Wright. "For instance, these solutions can help a company's CFO and COO collaborate better when it comes to planning, forecasting and drawing up budgets, helping the company to cut costs, streamline operations and anticipate future demand to adjust supply as needed."

Part of ramping up to real time is getting all end users involved. Under a few data scientists using high-tech apps, it's not likely that there is enough manpower or resources to develop real-time business intelligence at scale, so more end users on board. This means that enterprise business intelligence tools need to be easy to use, according to CIO.com with simple controls, optimized hardware and in-memory computing. If developers can provide end users with a high level of self-service business intelligence potential, companies can gear up for a more adaptable, predictive future.