Business intelligence is the set of techniques and tools for the transformation of raw data into meaningful, useful information for business analysis purposes. Do small businesses need it? Earlier, only large corporations had the resources and manpower to crunch the numbers and utilize the software.
Business intelligence tools are now no longer expensive and resource hungry. The technology has evolved to be lightweight, powerful and accessible to small/medium enterprises. These advances have provided business intelligence solutions that don’t require coding knowledge to build dashboards and explore data. It’s not realistic to expect small business owners to fret over the technicalities when there are other more urgent matters like attending to customers and managing staff. These business intelligence tools have analytical functions that can be accessed easily, displaying data that matters.
Many intelligence solutions are also provided by outside firms that specialize in data analysis. This can greatly reduce costs, with priorities and capital diverted to other business investments that matters. The advances in intelligence software have also made it faster and quicker to process data.
Business intelligence can help smaller businesses to compete with larger corporations. In the long run, it might even be able to help small businesses increase market share and generate revenue from unexpected avenues. The analysis of data help business owners make informed decisions that could impact the well-being of the business. Data includes the analysis of market trends and changing consumer behavior and appetites.
A greater host of these solutions are now geared towards a younger crowd. It is tailored for collaborative decision-making, visualization, and iterative scenario analysis. Younger entrepreneurs want business intelligence solutions that are easy to use and don’t require extensive training.
However, to use these solutions effectively, there has to be enough quality operational data to actually process. If the pool of data is small, all you need to do is just look at it to determine the results, then business analytics tools are not for your business.
Cloud computing is a word many people use nowadays. But it is a reality. Business intelligence solutions based on cloud computing has gained traction among small businesses due to its self-serve analytics. It requires minimal IT intervention.
Before embarking on these intelligence solutions, it’s important to determine the data that you want to procure. You need to know the questions you want answered, not just getting the latest fancy software. Otherwise it is a monumental waste of time and resources as you grapple in the dark.