What are Business Analytics Tools?

Business Analytics Tools IconBusiness Analytics Tools consist of a set of solutions, methods, skills and best practices used to gain insights for understanding current business realities and business planning. The primary use of business analytics is to drive decision making. Business analytics is heavily statistically focused and uses analysis techniques such as descriptive, predictive, and prescriptive analytics.

  • Descriptive Analytics gains insights from historical data. This is where business intelligence (BI) falls with enterprise reporting solutions such as JReport.
  • Predictive Analytics employs forecasting models through methods like machine learning, artificial intelligence, and statistics.
  • Prescriptive Analytics recommends decisions using optimizations and simulation techniques.

In recent years, many business intelligence solutions provide features for both predictive and prescriptive analytics. This is a growing market for BI tools and explains why many business persons use the terms business analytics and business intelligence interchangeably.

5 Modern Tools for Business Analytics

Business Analytics, Business BIThese are five of the most frequently used analytical tools many industries use for reporting and analysis. There are many analytical tools that are not listed here that enterprises use such as forecasting models and simulations, but data mining is included since it is used by a wide range of businesses for data discovery. Many analytic tools are in high growth markets and are expected to be used in tandem with other analytical tools in the future.

  • OLAP (online analytical processing) is a technology that processes data which allows for users to view data from multiple perspectives. The core of OLAP is that it stores data in multiple dimensions rather than tabular relations found in relational databases. This enables users to analyze data in any point of view.
  • Data mining is the process of analyzing large datasets to find actionable information through the identification of patterns in your data. Modern data mining uses computational processing to streamline analysis through methods from various disciplines such as machine learning, artificial intelligence, and statistics.
  • Visualizations graphically depict data used for analytical purposes. The goal of any visualization is accuracy, ease of use, and the presentation of information in a digestible format.
  • A reporting tool allows you to present data in charts, tables, and other visualizations so users can gain useful information. Modern reporting tools are highly interactive for in-depth analysis of data, allowing users to navigate data to gain insights.

A dashboard is a user interface that provides pre-defined key performance indicators used to monitor business processes and objectives. Dashboards provide all of these metrics on a single screen for an at-a-glance view of corporate data. They are often customized for users or user groups to display the most pertinent information that is critical to the business function.

Business Analytics vs. Business Intelligence

The phrase, “business intelligence” has been around for a long time, but it wasn’t until Howard Dresner, now of Dresner Advisory Services, coined the term in the late 1980s to encapsulate the up-and-coming IT-driven technologies, software, and methodologies that were becoming more and more popular for use in decision support. Business analytics is another popular term which has gained popularity in recent years and has been used interchangeably with business intelligence since.  So what’s the difference between the two?

Well, although business analytics is often used interchangeably with business intelligence, it’s also commonly referred to when describing more advanced applications and statistical methodologies used by statisticians and data scientists.  These techniques can sometimes fall under the umbrella of business intelligence, and the overlap isn’t always obvious because as traditional BI platforms have evolved, they’ve further encapsulated more advanced statistical modeling and techniques.  But for the purposes of research and contextual understanding when reading about the topic, it’s generally okay to assume that when someone is referring to business analytics tools, they’re talking about business intelligence.

JReport’s Embedded Business Analytics Tool

JReport is an embedded business analytics tool designed for embedding and OEM customization.  It provides all of the traditional capabilities of a business intelligence tool such as reports, dashboards, and other visualizations all in a package designed for deep integration through various API sets. JReport was built on a foundation of integration and advanced visualization for OEM use.  It has strong reporting capabilities including pixel-perfect reports as well as many different types of advanced visualizations such as compound crosstabs.  Integrating JReport with your application allows your end users to access and utilize all of the analytics JReport has to offer, within a fully white-labeled, seamless workflow. JReport can match both your front end and back end application framework, meaning not only your UI/UX but also your business workflow will match your application.

How JReport’s Embedded Business Analytics Solution Empowers OEM

So why would an application developer or software company use a 3rd party product like JReport?

Well, there are many benefits to utilizing embedded analytics instead of developing it yourself.  For product managers, utilizing a 3rd party tool means a quicker time-to-market, future proofing future analytics needs, often greater user adoption than building a system piece by piece and releasing it over time, as well as more user application usage meaning more stickiness. All of this with a lower total cost of ownership than developing something yourself.

For developers, using a 3rd party system means a lot of the hard work is already done, there are fewer development cycles eaten up upon initial implementation, fewer development cycles over time to update the product, as well as less planning for when you need to scale. Overall administration time also goes down, and self-service reduces time creating custom reports for customer. And the end result is still the same secure, seamless user experience developers strive to provide. All of this means more time and effort saved, meaning more development efficiency and more time to spend building out the core capabilities of your application.

Key Takeaways

  • Business analytics tools allow you to fully utilize your data by providing end users with visual representations of it, ultimately for full-fledged analysis.
  • There are many emerging technologies that enable deeper insights into data and the ways in which data is structured for analysis.
  • JReport’s embeddable business analytics tool allows development teams to pass those data insights to end users faster and easier than developing something out yourself.

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