As business intelligence (BI) gains in popularity, the need for BI-related services has boomed. For fast-growing, lean, or remotely-based companies, the need for BI as a service has grown significantly. While many companies may not have the bandwidth or expertise to manage BI solutions in-house, BI as a service helps to expertly manage these needs, usually at a reduced cost.

Relatively new to the “as a service” space, BI as a service has become increasingly popular in companies prioritizing the use of data to improve business performance. But what, exactly, is BI as a service, and why do companies need it? In this article, we address the definition of BI as a service, what is typically included in BI as a service, and the benefits of using outsourced BI services.

What is BI as a Service?

BI as a service refers to outsourced business intelligence-related services. BI as a service may be full-service, including implementation, training, change management, administration, managed services, and client support. It may also be fractional, supporting only those needs that a company chooses not to manage in-house.

BI as a service is typically sought by those companies with a need for structured business intelligence solutions but without the bandwidth or expertise in-house to implement or manage these systems. 

What is Included in BI as a Service?

The services included in a BI as a service package are typically customized to the client’s unique needs and capabilities. Companies with a robust in-house IT or business intelligence team may use these services to implement a BI platform and provide basic training. Those without these in-house capabilities or whose IT team does not have time to manage an additional system may use this service not only for initial implementation and training, but also ongoing administration and client support.

While each business intelligence company offers “as a service” packages differently, most include the following offers:

Platform Selection

Some companies may know they want to implement a business intelligence system but may not be sure which platform they’d like to use. This is especially true for companies that have not used a BI platform in the past or who may not have a qualified individual on staff to help with the selection. A BI as a service company will work with business leaders to help identify needs, goals, and internal capabilities. With this information, they can discuss the pros and cons of different business intelligence systems and ultimately help the business select the best platform for their specific needs.

Business Intelligence Implementation

Regardless of an in-house team’s capabilities, a majority of businesses implementing a new business intelligence platform will choose to hire an expert to assist with the implementation. This is because the process can be time-consuming and difficult, especially depending on the complexity of the company’s data sources. While some companies may have an IT team capable of overseeing the process, it may be challenging for them to do so in a timely manner or without having to put other tech or support needs on pause.

Using an expert outsourced company for BI implementation helps to ensure that the platform is installed properly, syncs with all relevant data sources, produces the dashboards and reports most relevant to business leaders and stakeholders, and is accessible by relevant team members.

Training & Change Management

Another important service included in BI as a service includes training and change management. Training refers to instructing individuals on how to best maximize the business intelligence software. This may include training for the individuals using the software and/or training for those experts managing the software.

Change management is a customized process for helping the adoption and implementation of the new platform go as smoothly as possible. This is an especially important task if the company has been using a different platform–or no platform at all–for a significant period of time. Change management helps to minimize resistance and increase support for the new platform.

Managed Services

A business intelligence platform requires maintenance, management, and administration to keep the platform running smoothly. These processes also help to support individuals who may be experiencing technical difficulties or who have questions about how to use the system. Finally, as business data types and sources change over time, the system will need to be updated to include these changes. For some companies, this is impractical to manage in-house. Outsourced managed services help to manage these tasks and more.

Learn More about BI as a Service

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