What Makes a Great Business Intelligence Consultant (and how to find one)

By Sarah Evans / Analytics Practice Manager

March 1, 2023


Reading Time: 4 minutes

A great business intelligence consultant brings value to your business far beyond outputting requested reports. Business intelligence consultants sit in a unique position between the data, the tools, and the decision makers. Leveraging that unique position differentiates great business intelligence consultants from less affective ones.

Key attributes of a good business intelligence consultant
Knowing the platforms

A good business intelligence consultant has expertise in the business intelligence (BI) system your company uses. Whether you are implementing a new BI tool or leveraging an existing one, the consultant must be knowledgeable in all facets of the platform, including the features you are not yet using. Beyond current knowledge, the BI consultant must continually learn. A good business intelligence consultant stays up to date with the platform’s updates and feature releases so they can maximize value from the tool.

Beyond expertise in the BI platform you utilize, a good business consultant will have knowledge of other BI platforms. They do not need to be an expert, but knowing how other systems fundamentally work and some key feature differences is valuable. When faced with a complex request, a good BI consultant can use knowledge of other platforms to think outside the box on how to approach the request. If they know how to handle the request in another platform, that thinking helps them brainstorm how to complete the request in your BI tool.

Beyond growing our Domo and graph database expertise, here at Graphable we are always learning new platforms and tools in the industry. With this knowledge, we are better equipped to bring our clients best-of-breed solutions. For example, many of our Domo clients either use or are migrating off Tableau. Our knowledge of Tableau allows us to understand how and why their reports were previously configured. From that, we develop the best configuration in Domo that utilizes the valuable features of Domo, while also maintaining user adoption and acceptance.

business intelligence consultant
A great business intelligence consultant knows how to get the most value from your platform.
Business Objectives

A good business intelligence consultant is not just focused on the data and the reports – they are focused on the business. In front of every report should be business users making decisions. A good BI consultant will keep that at the forefront of their thinking when building a robust reporting solution. They are able to look at roadblocks from different perspectives with the whole business in mind, not just from the data or software point of view.

For example, a BI consultant is working with a database and receives an out-of-memory error, indicating the data returned in the query is too large. One solution is to aggregate the data, reducing the size of the data returned, and the granularity. That would be a quick, easy solution on the database side, but it would reduce the level of detail the business users see, hurting their ability to make informed decisions. A good business intelligence consultant would keep this in mind and look for a way to resolve the error without reducing the granularity, potentially by splitting the query into two and then appending the data back together in the report.

Dimensional Thinker

A dimensional thinker thinks big and small, rationally and outside the box; they think in all dimensions. A good business intelligence consultant has many ways of thinking, all of which are important at various stages in a project. Great BI consultants must be high-level, creative thinkers, seeing the goals and objectives of the project, where to start and the steps needed along the way. Great BI consultants must also be detail-oriented, implementing the solution and seeing all aspects of the workflow through to the finish. A good business intelligence consultant brings dimensional thinking to all stages of projects.

Data Integration is Critical

Often overlooked, data integration is critical to scalable and sustainable BI reports. How you connect data from the source system to the BI tool influences how often and how reports are updated, what granularity reports are at, and how much historical data is available. A good business intelligence consultant understands the nuances of integrating data to a BI tool and keeps all aspects in mind when developing a data workflow.

The first step to data integration is understanding how the data can get out of the source system and how can data can get into the BI tool. A good business intelligence consultant will start with questions like is the source system on-premise or in the cloud? Does it have an API? Is the system able to send data to an STFP, via email, or any other means? The answers to these questions help determine the best data integration workflow.

At Graphable, we focus on scalability and maintainability for every project. This means that our solutions must be scaled to more teams, more data, more reports, in a simple way. And the solution must be maintainable by our client’s internal resources long term. They must be able to update and expand the workflow as the business grows.

How to find a great business intelligence consultant

Choosing a BI consultant can be a tricky decision. Beyond looking for a consultant who is an expert in the software you use, what other aspects should you look for? We see the most success when companies are looking for a true partnership.

You need your business intelligence consultant to be as invested in your business as you are. A good BI consultant is not just there for ad hoc requests, but also they need to understand the nuances of your business model, your data, and they must be continually thinking about how to help you drive better business decisions from your data.

At Graphable, we tenaciously pursue the why as one of our core values; driving to the root of issues or requests and focusing on solutions that are the optimal way through. Our consulting process is structured around a high-touch, high-value delivery method. We work with our clients and our partners, as extensions of their businesses, bringing excellent delivery to every project.

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Graphable delivers insightful graph database (e.g. Neo4j consulting) / machine learning (ml) / natural language processing (nlp) projects as well as graph and Domo consulting for BI/analytics, with measurable impact. We are known for operating ethically, communicating well, and delivering on-time. With hundreds of successful projects across most industries, we thrive in the most challenging data integration and data science contexts, driving analytics success.

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We are known for operating ethically, communicating well, and delivering on-time. With hundreds of successful projects across most industries, we thrive in the most challenging data integration and data science contexts, driving analytics success.
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