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By: Pascal PERRY


BI Software Functions & Features

Business Intelligence (BI) software allow companies and their stakeholders to better comprehend their business ins and outs, past and current, in order to properly ideate, plan, and execute the most efficient strategies to start, operate, and grow their business.

To do so, BI software help the company acquire, store, and analyze raw data in order to transform it into meaningful, actionable information, then share and present it to decision makers as business insight. Stakeholders and leaders will only then be able to make informed decisions to optimize their company financial viability.

BI software offers 1,000+ features and functions to help the company collect, aggregate, and transform raw data into insightful, actionable business information upon which management can move the business into the right direction and then increases the company bottom line. Such BI functions and features include:

  • management of data source—mainframes, databases (relational and NoSQL), files, spreadsheets
  • data integration—extract, transform and load (ETL) data from their sources to the data storage
  • data storage—privacy, security, and integrity of data warehouse, operational data stores, data marts
  • data analysis—online analytical processing (OLAP), statistical and quantitative data processing, data mining, text mining, simulation, predictive analysis
  • data presentation—reports, dashboards, performance scorecards, self-service web portals
  • operational considerations—security, performance, metadata management, governance

Because BI encompasses integration of data and information to enterprise applications and processes, as well as information management and the need of strong and reliable technology components, people usually get confused about what is BI exactly and how this kind of software can help an organization. You probably are too confused! That is the exact reason why it would be a daunting—and risky—task to even try to come up on your own with the list of BI requirements that you absolutely need to efficiently evaluate and compare BI systems, to be then able to identify the best BI solution for your business, regardless of its size. You may decide to hire a BI expert to do this but time and money are probably hampering you from doing so. A more direct and cost-effective solution would be to merely buy the same BI software requirements template the consultant uses project after project.

So are you interested in shortening the BI requirements gathering process even more? In selecting the BI software that best matches your company’s needs, right away?

If so download the comprehensive list of functions and features for BI

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The research firm Gartner defines a Business Intelligence (BI) system as “the applications, infrastructure and tools, and best practices that enable access to and analysis of information to improve and optimize decisions and performance.” BI platforms offer critical capabilities such as:
  • Infrastructure
    • BI platform administration
    • Cloud BI security and user administration
    • Data source connectivity
  • Data management
    • Data governance (quality, management, monitoring, maintenance, security)
    • Data storage (enterprise data warehouse [EDW], operational data store [ODS], data vault, data marts, big data)
    • Extraction, transformation and loading (ETL)
    • Data preparation in self-service mode
  • Analysis and content creation
    • Advanced analytics
    • Analytic dashboards
    • Interactive visual exploration
    • Mobile exploration and authoring
  • Sharing of Findings
    • Embedding (consuming analytic content within external applications)
    • Publishing (generating and distributing analytic content)
    • Collaborating (sharing analytic content, social BI)

The BI software comparison report can save you up to 90% of the time you would have otherwise spent comparing all the BI solutions from scratch.

The BI Functions & Features comprise the following elements:


You can use the list of functions and features for Business Intelligence (BI) software to generate the components of the Request for Proposal (RFP) you will send to BI vendors to solicit a proposal:

  • the business, functional, and technical BI requirements you will layer in the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) as part of the Statement of Work (SOW)
  • the weighted BI evaluation criteria you will used to evaluate and compare BI proposals, and then select the best BI system for your needs

The list of BI requirements will also help you build decision-support tools that rationalize hence facilitate your decision-making process:

  • the BI compliance matrix that will allow you to deem a BI vendor responsible and a BI proposal responsive
  • the BI decision matrix that will help you identify and select the best BI system

BI software functions and features are used in the WBS to

  • delineate the scope of work, namely the implementation of BI best practices as the business processes underlying strategy development, value creation, multi-channel integration, information management, and performance assessment
  • make sure BI vendors and their customer communicate on the same grounds for the sake of the project success and avoid finger pointing in case of issues
  • track and report the implementation progress to the BI acquisition project stakeholders
  • be used as an insight at each step of the BI software selection process


The main benefits, motivations, and justifications of acquiring a BI system are:

  • make decisions right—remove or mitigate the uncertainty and bias of the business decision-making process by using the right data, methods, and tools
  • make right decisions—no more business gambling but impartial and informed decisions
  • make decisions quicker—swift access to accurate, insightful information on your past, recent, current, and predicted business activities
  • make decisions anywhere and any time—spatiotemporal ubiquity of information, get the information wherever and whenever it is needed
  • streamlined operations—BI helps remove information silos across the organization, hence, even if it fails at dropping walls, it builds bridges between departments by making the information available to whoever needs it from whoever produces it (shortened information leadtime between production and consumption)

It is also worth noting that BI software can help the company

  • determine the real costs of manufacturing and production
  • better manage inventory
  • identify issues and defects faster
  • reduce manual labor by automating data entry, collection, processing, and reporting
  • more efficiently identify customers who are the best candidates to up-sell and cross-sell
  • deliver the right information to the right person (information personalization)
  • gain and share valuable and actionable insight into customers and their behaviour
  • continuously improve both operational and support processes, in conformance to process improvement approaches, frameworks, and standards like Quality Management (PDCA, 6-Sigma), Agility, Lean, CObIT, CMMI, and ISO-IEC (9000 Series and 15504)

Such benefits of BI systems improve financial key performance indicators (balance sheet, income statement, financial ratios, stock price) but also provide such less tangible effects as a higher sense of belonging in and of commitment to the company because employees are given all the information needed to increase and see the effect of their actions on a daily basis.



Selecting BI software is a decision-making process of several steps. First, the decision maker needs to identify the ins and outs of the business problem to be solved. Once the problem circumscribed, the decision maker builds the space of potential BI solutions, evaluates the capability of each BI solution to address the problem, then compares them side-by-side to finally identify the BI solution that best addresses the problem.

Herbert A. Simon (1916-2001), a pioneer in the field of artificial intelligence (AI) and recipient of the 1978 Nobel Prize in Economics, has formalized this process by inferring it from his studies of how decisions were made in business organizations:

Intelligence: What Is The Problem?

The first step of Simon's IDC rational decision-making process consists of identifying the problem that is at the root of the decision to buy, replace, or upgrade an BI system.

To do so, obtain clear information about the organization's current business processes and problems related to them. Then devise processes the way you would them to work. Based on that information, perform a gap analysis between both current and desired processes, which will allow you to create a list of BI software requirements (BI functions and features). Finally, weigh the identified BI software requirements based on your organization's strategic, business, functional, and technical priorities (from not relevant to critical)

At this first step do not hesitate to use an BI RFP template, it helps you speed up significantly the lengthy process of building that list of BI software requirements. The BI RFP template is a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet featuring multiple levels of evaluation and decision criteria. Download the BI RFP Template Now!

Design: What Are The Different ERP Solutions?

The second step of Simon's IDC rational decision-making process consists of building the space of BI solutions. Only BI software solutions that are deemed responsive enough in regard to the BI software requirements specification devised in step 1 will be part of your BI solutions space.

To do so, identify potential BI software vendors and their solution by using the list of BI software vendors in the BI Software Comparison Report that was already built by our BI consultants and BI analysts using TEC Advisor, our online Decision-Support System (DSS). You may also complement it with BI software vendors you are already aware of or met at an BI trade show.
Then determine which BI software vendors are likely to provide a solution by meeting the BI software requirements specification developed in step 1.

Finally, disregard all BI solutions which ratings don't meet the priority threshold you assigned to criteria that you deemed critical. The remaining solutions will constitute your shortlist of BI software solutions. You usually end up with a "Top 10 BI Systems" or "Top 3 BI Systems" depending of the complexity of your acquisition project.

Using at this 2nd step an BI software comparison report helps you speed up significantly the complex process of evaluating, rating, and comparing BI software solutions. The BI software comparison report is a table featuring side-by-side BI solutions of your choice against your BI software requirements.

Download the BI Software Comparison Report Now!

Choice: What Is The Best BI Solution?

The third and last step of Simon's IDC rational decision-making process consists of identifying the solution that bests fit your business, functional, and technical needs set forth in the BI software requirement specification.

To do so, compare shortlisted BI software solutions side-by-side by identifying all the differences between shortlisted BI solutions in terms of coverage of your needs and based on your priorities. This is a very complex task that is not humanly manageable because of the high number of evaluation criteria to take into consideration amplified by the number of BI solutions considered.

To help decision makers select the best BI solution, Decision-Support Systems (DSS) like TEC Advisor assist buyers in seeking the BI solution that maximizes the expected utility (UE). Such tools use advanced mathematical analysis based on what-if scenarii and sensitivity analysis, to name but a few techniques.

This 3rd and last step is the trickiest because you have to make a decision based on a process that is not humanly manageable because of so many solutions to take into account against so many decision criteria. There are also so many issues at stake: time, money, risks, and your own seat as the decision maker!

So a Decision-Support System (DSS) like TEC Advisor is here to help you speed up the decision cycle, lower the global project cost, alleviate your pain, and secure your decision-maker position by handling the mathematical complexity of the decision and giving you all the tools necessary to make a rational, impartial, and traceable decision.

Use TEC Advisor To Select The Best ERP Software For Your Needs!

TEC Advisor can save you up to 90% of the time you would have otherwise spent figuring out on your own which BI solution is the best for your needs.

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Functions and Features