It’s been an exciting few years in the business intelligence space, with fresh analytics players, new products, and a slew of acquisitions. Just a few weeks ago Qlik sold for $3B to Thoma Bravo, a private equity firm, following on the heels of the TIBCO and Roambi acquisitions earlier this year.

As these niche vendors sell to stay afloat, BI managers might be scratching their heads as to what this means for their companies. Their business users may want a point solution for data visualizations, but the IT department is up in arms about integration, governance, and security. What’s the best solution for their company? How much data do they need to crunch? Which users win in terms of purchasing power? 

As the landscape for BI continues to shift, analytics executives should also ask the following key question: have we outgrown our current solution? Here are a few key signs that it’s time to go shopping.

Your Company Has Grown…A Lot

Business users will always love visualization tools, because they’re intuitive to a non-technical audience. But these solutions are geared toward a small team of users, a limited amount of data, and a single use case. If your company has gone from 100 to 1,000 employees or from a single office to dozens, you might have a data problem—the tools that worked for a small team don’t scale, don’t fit the needs of different departments, and the CIO or CTO can’t see what’s happening across disparate silos of information.

Your BI Stack Looks Like a Patchwork Quilt

Anyone who has used a BI tool knows that licenses get very expensive. That’s especially true if your data discovery vendor upsells you on reporting technology, or you need to plug the gaps with additional, piecemeal software. The end result—especially if a company has grown quickly—is a patchwork of solutions, with fragmented information and inconsistent data across departments, users, and executives. At some point, it’s a good idea to simplify. Imagine if information was centralized, so instead of having to change individual apps, updates dispersed across the entire system. Everyone would be on the same page.

Your Company is Mobile

Globally, smartphones far outsell PCs and other devices—in fact, Gartner expects 1.5 billion units to ship in 2016 alone. Mobile phones have transformed how we do business and, as most mobile phone users will tell you, using a native app delivers a much more immersive user experience than mobile-based browsers. While mobile browsers can show reports and dashboards, they lack many of the benefits you have in a native app, including: actionable mobile apps, improved security and encryption, better workflows, and the ability to work offline. 

The Cloud’s The Limit

There’s no question that cloud-based computing is leading the future of business. Some BI solutions offer a SaaS only cloud. Look for someone who provides you with a dedicated private instance and the ability to connect to both on-prem and cloud sources. The ability to span both sources has major implications for applications in production, especially if you’re deploying across a large organization.

Security is a Top Concern

Most companies that collect and analyze data are worried about security. Whether executives are concerned about losing control of proprietary company plans or sensitive user information, security is a non-negotiable feature for any software. With an end-point solution, the IT department unfortunately has very little governance over the data. Is the sales team accessing an unsecure HTML5 dashboard from open airport wi-fi? Did someone grant access to financial analytics to the wrong person? Is the data source your marketing team added to the database clean and secure? With piecemeal solutions and a lack of oversight, the IT department can’t ensure the security of new data sources, or determine who has access to information and where that information is being used.

Data has never been more important to a company’s success, and we’re living in an age of unparalleled advancement in technology and software. This year—and onward—will continue to be an interesting time for the BI industry.