For quite some time, large companies and corporations have been utilizing the power of Business Intelligence to further improve their organization’s sales and marketing strategies. Larger businesses and corporations have expansive budgets, this allows them to pay experts to sift through and analyze massive data sets. These companies use this intelligence information to improve their overall business performance.
That said, can small businesses affordably take advantage of Business Intelligence too? Absolutely! Your business most likely stores a large cache of usable BI data already, and there is a plethora of budget-conscious tools that can help you leverage Business Intelligence to gain a competitive advantage. Here are some reasons why small businesses should utilize Business Intelligence.
You already have the data you need
One thing that Small Business owners often underestimate, is the amount of data that you already have at your disposal. In each facet of your organization, you most likely utilize technological tools to streamline your operations. Many of these tools are consistently collecting vast amounts of information, much of which we do not often think twice about. This data is incredibly valuable to your business and if you harness this data in the appropriate ways, you are already on a great path towards improving your organization’s Business Intelligence.
In talking to your executives and various departments, you will be able to get a picture of the data you already have at your disposal. By exploring where the data comes from and how its stored, your team can then employ Business Intelligence tools to transform this data into useful business insights.
It’s easy to get started
While Business Intelligence may seem intimidating on a macro-level, it is fairly easy for you to get started. By taking small steps in harnessing your organization’s data, you will start reaping the benefits of having information-driven, intelligence-based insights. These will enable you to make more educated business decisions and modifications to your business’s processes.
Most self-service BI tools come built-in with strategic reports that businesses commonly run and find useful. If you are currently shopping for a BI tool, we highly-recommend a program that offers reporting. Fortunately, many of the self-service business intelligence tools come equipped with great analytic reporting out-of-the-box.
These reporting tools will commonly provide insight into:
- Your client turnover period
- Identifying ways to increase profit and decrease expenses
- Website and landing page traffic as well as a visitor’s ‘time on page’
- Your organization’s most profitable services or products
- Profitability broken down by season, month, day, and time of day
- Which client(s) yield the most revenue & profit for your organization
- Competitor Information comparisons
- Market Trends
Business Intelligence tools are available and are affordable
Affordable self-service Business Intelligence tools have emerged on the market and help small businesses, like yours, identify useful analytics. Microsoft ‘Power BI’ is a robust and user-friendly tool that offers a great free version. Many businesses may find that the free version gives them all the functionality they need to get started harnessing Business Intelligence on the ground-level. If you are looking to keep your entry costs low, there are two immensely powerful tools for you to investigate. Zoho, and the slightly pricier Tableau, are excellent choices, they will enable your business to fully immerse themselves in the world of Business Intelligence. Below is a helpful checklist to review prior to sourcing your new BI tools and software.
Prior to investing in Business Intelligence tools for your small business, review this helpful checklist to be certain you are getting the best BI tool for your organization:
Business Intelligence Tool Pre-Purchase Checklist
- Establish a clear defined goal and expected outcome.
- It’s important to establish goals for why you want to utilize Business Intelligence tools. If you realistically set goals and expectations, you will know if the tool you are looking to employ is going to have the features you are most interested in.
- Functionality – Is it easy to use and does it integrate with the systems you already have?
- Functionality is crucial in selecting the right BI tool. If the tool is not user-friendly, your team will not benefit from this investment. It’s important to know if your current platforms and tools integrate with the BI tool you are considering purchasing.
- Security – For any business, security is always of utmost importance.
- It’s necessary that your BI tool has the proper encryption and firewalls to protect your organization's sensitive data.
- Reporting & Analytics –
- As we mentioned earlier, reporting is a vital piece of Business Intelligence. The reporting offered by your BI tool should have several reports that are able to be customized or altered to your organization’s needs. These reports should be able to provide insights on a broad-spectrum as well as on a micro-level.
- Data Collection and Mining –
- Be sure that the toolkit you select meets your needs for collecting and storing data. The more advanced and expensive BI tools often offer greater options for data collection and cataloging.
Harnessing and utilizing data is how companies increase their efficiency and profitability. Business Intelligence is the future of organizational viability. Due to the multitude of affordable BI tools on the market currently, Business Intelligence is not reserved just for mega-corporations, it’s perfect for small businesses too.
While networX IT Solutions doesn’t handle BI we can help you find the right tools to make your business grow. To find out more about implementing tools that will strengthen your organization and profitability, give us a call today!