Performance Improvement

June 24, 2021

Benefits of Business Intelligence – Modern BI vs. Traditional BI

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Business Intelligence (BI) is not a new concept, but it has evolved a lot since its inception. There’s the traditional BI and then there’s the more modern BI, which is compatible with the new kid on the block, cloud computing. Yet, both options are still available on the market, confusing some businesses, especially since the market has shifted and 61% of businesses in 2020 transitioned to cloud services. In this topic, we are comparing the benefits of business intelligence with the two kinds of BIs – the pros and cons of each.  This way you can make a more informed and confident decision on what BI option is the better fit for you and your company.


One of the biggest factors to consider when comparing the two BIs is the cost of its infrastructure setup. Traditional business intelligence, or the “old-school BI”, is used with the on-premise IT model and requires a fleet of servers, Microsoft SQL licenses, plus a large team of system administrators to implement and support it. This is great if you have all that set up for other technology needs, but a lot of companies don’t anymore – or are not sure if they want to continue down that path.

Compare this with the modern BI (cloud-based BI), and you only need one person to implement and manage its day-to-day functions. If this doesn’t impress you, perhaps knowing you can rest easy as your company’s most critical and interactive reporting is available 24/7, 365 days a year, and are available in real-time. No more frustrating static report requests or waiting for month end reports to make decisions. With modern BI, it’s self-service so you can pull data yourself, on the fly, from virtually anywhere.


The availability of the modern BI is probably our most favorite feature and one of the key benefits of business intelligence. Particularly because ever since the pandemic hit in 2020, nearly all employees had to work from home for at least some of the time, and it seems that many will continue to do so in the years ahead. According to Kate Lister, president of Global Workplace Analytics, 25-30% of the workforce will be working from home multiple days a week by the end of 2021. You can bet your bottom dollar there are some significant cost savings for this. Specifically, companies can expect to save up to $11,000/year per employee who works remotely half time.

Modern BI works well with this new workplace arrangement because it’s flexible in terms of where and how you can access your BI information. Everyone can access the exact same reports and data anywhere, anytime, and right out of the box. This includes in the office, on mobile devices with native mobile apps, and remotely. While you can have remote access with traditional BI through a remote VPN or Intranet, it’s probably not available on mobile (definitely not on a native app) and there may be limits on how many people can access it at once. Our clients using Domo BI definitely experienced an advantage when all their staff shifted to work from home in 2020.


To be available, modern BI must also be reliable, and that it is. Your business intelligence will still work when your office loses internet. Your company’s communication needs intensify tenfold during an emergency such as hurricanes or earthquakes, and business decisions don’t just stop when a network goes down because the construction crew outside cut the wrong line. With traditional BI, if your office lost power or your servers went down, your BI would also be down. This would mean that even if you moved offsite to keep working and had a VPN connection, that BI is down until that server or power is back.

In 2016, every single minute of server downtime cost nearly $9000 – we can only imagine that cost has increased in recent years. Internet connectivity is often just as important as food or water to a business, and you’ll still be connected if you employ modern BI within your organization. The reliability of modern BI versus the traditional BI is unparalleled and is obviously a key benefit of business intelligence. While sitting in your dark office without power, you could pull up your modern BI on your phone app to get quick info or hunker down at home with your internet & snack pantry during a snow storm (or perhaps a pandemic), and you’ll have full access to all of your live data. Running a successful organization requires constant connectivity and minimal interruptions, especially during catastrophes. A cloud-based business intelligence solution like Domo offers you this.


The scalability in modern BI is remarkable. It’s easily customizable and can increase in size – rapidly, if necessary. This isn’t something you should sacrifice for your business because if you intend to be profitable you must be accommodating to your organization’s needs. If you’re a small to medium size business that has plans for future growth, both in terms of the number of employees and BI features you need, the modern BI can swiftly grow right along with you. In other words, you can easily go from 5 to 5000 users without the hassle of purchasing and installing new servers or infrastructure, and then configuring and setting everything up. As well, Modern BIs are also consistently updating with new technology, like artificial intelligence, as soon as it’s available so you’ll stay up to date without needing to change systems.

There’s a lot more fuss and feathers when trying to scale up its opponent. The traditional BI is considerably more complicated to scale, as it’s very labor-intensive in terms of the installation and maintenance, and of course in resources as well. The scalability in modern BI allows you quickly jump on the latest technology improvements and capitalize on opportunities, so you’re not left in the dust and falling behind your competitors.

There are many benefits of business intelligence and even more when using a modern BI, like Domo BI, at your organization. We just touched the tip of the iceberg in our post above but if you’re thinking of updating all of your systems to be more accessible, we suggest exploring our recommendations on the top factors to consider when moving to the cloud. If you’d like to learn more on how modern BI can positively impact your ROI, please contact us.

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