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Insights from a BI Expert

April 11, 2023

Insights from a BI Expert

In this blog post, we interview one of our own! Max is one of our Senior BI Developers at West Loop Strategy. Max is a BI expert with five years of experience in project management and BI development, working with a range of BI tools including QuickSight, Tableau, Qlik, Power BI, and Looker. During this interview, we ask him to share some of what he has learned over the years. 

What is a BI tool? Why are BI tools useful for businesses?

“A BI tool is essentially a medium through which someone can analyze large datasets, transforming them into meaningful visualizations, which come together to form business transforming dashboards. BI tools produce high ROI as they allow businesses to make strategic decisions in real time. 

Unique to BI tools is the speed at which businesses can garner insights - businesses can create visual analyses through other means, but with BI they don’t need to wait on developers. With BI they can access insights today, instead of months from any given inquiry.”

What features do you look for in a BI product?

“A big feature for me is whether or not a product is serverless - being cloud-based makes it extremely easy to connect and refresh data. Sharing and managing projects with cloud-based BI is much more simple and straightforward than local alternatives. 

I also look for how interactive and intuitive a product is, which makes it easier on the end user to make changes to dashboards and visuals.”

What is your favorite type of visual(s)? 

“Personally, I love a combination of volume based barcharts stacked over time next to barcharts next to barcharts that represent the percentage share of volume at intervals of time.

Allowing viewers to see total volume and relative volume next to each other provides a powerful look into the relative share of different categories.”

What should business leaders consider when choosing between BI tools?

“Security should be a top concern for business leaders - how do you want people to access and collaborate across dashboards? What permissions do you want users to have? Some tools are natively easy to securely share, others require much more development to lock down reports. 

Cost and scalability are also important for purchasers to consider, which is why cloud-based tools should be top of mind. For more information on the benefits of serverless BI tools, you can read West Loop Strategy’s blog post.”

In your opinion, what is the best BI tool? What sets it apart from other tools you have worked with?

“QuickSight is by far my favorite BI tool to work with. It’s natively cloud-based, which makes it easy to connect to data once you have your credentials. It’s extremely easy to get data in and get started with creating visualizations. It also has robust column and row level security features, which makes it easy to customize security preferences for clients. 

The visuals are powerful, the features are intuitive, and the security is great. I would highly recommend QuickSight to any business getting started with BI tools or looking for a change.”

Why should businesses consider going with a consulting partner like West Loop Strategy for BI development?

“Leveraging BI developers with a wealth of knowledge allows for maximum efficiency getting dashboards up and running. There are aspects of BI development that came after working with a specific tool for 8 months that are crucial for creating powerful dashboards. 

Experience also yields the best training - I love walking through the ins and outs of BI development with clients so they can get the most out of a BI product. Even if your business wants to handle reports fully in-house, working with a consulting partner for training can provide a ton of value to your organization.”

If you want to learn more about the power of BI tools, feel free to reach out to us about consulting. We would be happy to help you with all things QuickSight and BI development! 

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