Is Business Intelligence Finally Moving to Small Businesses?

For years, Business intelligence (BI) has been secluded to the realm of “big business”. Due to its high cost and complexity, business intelligence remained outside the hands of many small businesses. However, as business intelligence has evolved and business software vendors have developed varying levels and deployments of BI, smaller companies are now seeing the value of implementing such tools. By empowering executives and business managers with the data they need, business intelligence proves to be an invaluable tool to companies of all sizes.

Business intelligence can breathe life into stale data and provide you with the information you need to understand what makes your business tick. Business intelligence answers the important questions (think who, what, when, where, why, and how) and pulls data from a variety of sources, including sales, finance and supply chain management. Once the data has been retrieved, business intelligence tools analyze it and present it in easy to comprehend graphs, charts and dashboards. From there, company executives and managers can use the data to make better, more-informed business decisions.

The benefits of business intelligence are innumerable. It helps companies answer important questions regarding their customers, products and services, profitability, and productivity. It provides insight into the company’s strengths and weaknesses and enables businesses to move on opportunities faster than ever before. Business intelligence also has a quick return on investment (ROI), with returns cited within 186 days.

In the past, small businesses were unable to afford business intelligence; however, business intelligence has evolved into an affordable solution for businesses of all sizes. With the emergence of SaaS and Cloud computing, business intelligence has become small business-friendly in terms of cost and capabilities.

Because of the solution’s complexities, on-premise business intelligence would be difficult for a small business to implement on their own. The Cloud, however, eliminates the problem of difficult implementations and allows small businesses to take advantage of business intelligence tools without the hassle of lengthy and complex implementations.

While the Cloud may offer small businesses a low-cost solution to business intelligence, it is not the only viable option. Many software vendors have developed a variety of solutions to meet the financial and operational needs of small businesses. Many business intelligence solutions are offered in tiers, allowing the business to choose the level of capability they know they are going to need. Small businesses who are not yet ready to risk moving to the Cloud will benefit from the many business intelligence options available.

How do you know if your small business is ready to invest in BI?

Is business intelligence really suitable for small businesses? Yes and no. It depends on a variety of factors, including the size of your business, the amount of data you bring in, and how much pain your lack of insight is causing. Before you invest in business intelligence, ask yourself if there is anything about your business that you don’t already know. Are you incapable of getting the answers today? If the answer is yes, then you are a prime candidate for business intelligence.

A word of caution: many small businesses make the mistake of spending too much on business intelligence and ending up with a solution that far exceeds their needs and/or capabilities. As you consider your business intelligence options, work with a solution provider who will not only take your needs into account but who will also listen to your budget requirements. After all, you are looking for a solution that will provide you with a quick return on investment.

If your small business is ready for business intelligence, give us a call today. Our team of experts will work closely with your company to determine your unique needs and find a business intelligence solution that best fits your budget requirements.

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