Unified business analytics - An essential step to business success

With today's exponential data growth, unified business analytics is a commonly pursued business objective. This allows businesses to bring all their data to one place, build smart data models, and analyze data across domains, providing 360° business insights and highlighting the cross-functional impact of different teams and functions.

In this blog, we'll delve into the common challenges faced by businesses when adopting unified analytics and how BI platforms offer effective solutions to address these challenges.

Challenges in adopting unified business analytics 

Based on market research and years of customer interactions, we've identified four practical data and analytics challenges that are commonly encountered by businesses:

  1. Data silos

  1. Poor data quality

  1. Lack of 360° insights

  1. Limited BI adoption

Data silos

Data silos arise from the distributed generation and decentralized management of data, often stored in disparate applications like business apps, local files, and databases. The challenge lies in integrating this data due to differing formats, resulting in a fragmented view of overall business performance. This could also be a result of organizational policies that limit the sharing of specific data.

Poor data quality

It's widely acknowledged that 80% of analysis time is consumed by data preparation, largely attributed to the prevalent issue of poor data quality in businesses. This stems from manual data collection practices that often yield inaccuracies, inconsistencies, and redundancies. Cleaning this data is typically IT-dependent, necessitated by complex transformations, elongating the analysis phase.

Lack of 360° insights

Similar to data, insight silos emerge from fragmented perspectives, where departments within an organization lack a unified platform to access all their insights. This hinders a holistic understanding of business performance. Moreover, businesses in the early stages of their analytics journey may encounter delays in identifying crucial KPIs, resulting in a lack of 360° insights.

Limited BI adoption

There's a common notion that BI primarily caters to the C-suite; however, to foster a truly data-first culture, it's important that every individual within the organization has the capability to analyze data for informed decision-making. We call this "C-suite syndrome"—a mindset that limits BI adoption, consequently hindering data-driven decision-making across the organization.

Watch our complete webinar on unified business analytics to learn more about these challenges.

Unified business analytics platforms 

Modern BI platforms continue to offer robust features to empower business users in overcoming these hurdles and embracing unified business analytics. Let's explore some of these key capabilities:

Comprehensive data integrations

BI platforms today are striving to become domain-agnostic, by providing native integrations with a diverse array of data sources, including local files, feeds, databases, and business applications. This seamless data import process is complemented by domain-specific prebuilt reports and NLQ-trained assistants, simplifying data analysis.

Here's an example of some prebuilt dashboards and reports offered as part of the Zoho Analytics-Salesforce CRM integration. These reports give users a jumpstart on arriving at important insights.

Unified data management and preparation

The formerly IT-dependent layer of data preparation is experiencing a significant shift towards democratization, driven by AI-infused and automated capabilities. With a comprehensive stack of auto-modeling, data quality analysis, smart cleaning, and ML-based enrichments, the data management and preparation layer is becoming increasingly simplified and self-serviceable. This trend reduces the time spent on data preparation and broadens accessibility to even business users with minimal technical know-how.

In the demo video below, we explore the AI-powered cluster and merge capability, to clean incorrect data.

360° insights with data blending

Unidimensional insights can be overriden by blending insights gathered from different silos. This allows users to gain an overall understanding of their business performance and the cross-functional impact of different teams.

In the dashboard embedded below, we explore the 360° end-to-end insights of a business, brought together by data blending.


Easy BI adoption

As AI use continues to grow, BI platforms are integrating an increasing array of AI-powered capabilities throughout the analytics stack, simplifying the adoption of BI. From data import and preparation to analysis, extending to collaboration and insight sharing, AI (largely generative AI) is becoming pervasive across functionalities.

In the following demo video, we can observe how report creation is now achievable by entering prompts in natural language. The generative AI-powered engine understands the prompt and instantly presents relevant insights. Furthermore, users can enter follow-up questions to delve deeper into the data.


Embracing unified business analytics marks a pivotal step towards fostering a data-first organizational culture. By consolidating data sources, breaking down silos, and leveraging advanced AI-powered capabilities, businesses can unlock a wealth of insights to drive informed decision-making and sustainable growth. This fosters not only a robust analytics cycle but also cultivates efficiency, collaboration, and agility across the organization, paving the path for continued success.

Watch our complete webinar on unified business analytics to explore the challenges and capabilities covered in more depth.

You can sign up for Zoho Analytics today—or enjoy a free personalized demo by one of our experts!


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