Technology -> Data Management
By: Shitali Malviya, Consultant, Sigma Infosolutions
Published: 8th January 2013
Copyright Sigma Infosolutions © 2013
BI turns data into actionable information which supports business in strategic decision making. A strategic deployment of a Business Intelligence (BI) solution can have a major impact on the growth and profitability of a company. BI has become quite the ‘buzzword’ in the software industry in the last few years. Many small business owners still relegate BI the domain of only large companies. When a BI solution is built specifically for SMBs, there’s no business too small. Business should understand what to be aware of and how to select the best software while sifting through the marketing buzz of BI trends. As we move towards the information edge, SMBs are now starting to realize that BI can benefit them too. Vendors are getting better at making software that’s easy to use and affordable. Technologies such as open source, cloud, in-memory and visualization technology are making BI tools much more friendly to SMBs.
Here are 5 real advantages that BI can deliver to SMBs:
1) Information at your fingertips
In order to move towards any goal, you first need to know where you are. Manually monitoring your business just isn’t an option, you need the right information at the right time. BI software can collect data from a number of sources for different purposes like trend analysis, monitor performance, track the marketplace, adjust business direction and plan for future changes. In short, your data would be available at your fingertips so that you can take strategic decisions in time to be ahead of your competitors. It can also help to answer ‘what if’ questions with a click of a button for better forecasting.
2) Boost business productivity
Small businesses, by nature, need to get more done with fewer people. One of the key benefits of BI is that it will automate reporting in your business, saving time and money in the process and ultimately increasing productivity. It can also reduce resources and labor costs used for the collation, analysis & distribution of vital business data. It can pull data in a format known by the business user to manipulate and distribute meaningful information in a familiar way. Traditionally taking days every month to compile, BI can provide real-time automated reports, executable at the click of a button, which draws up-to-date trusted data directly from existing sources and deliver a single version of the truth. By providing on-demand real-time reports, BI plays a significant role in creating time-savings and increased productivity and allows you to start using the information in your system to more effectively manage the business.
3) Effective decision making
The right information can give a complete picture of the performance of your organization. Key performance indicators (KPI) helps in effective decision making and an identification of chances and risks. The most popular use of business intelligence is in decision making by monitoring the current performance and forecasting future phenomena, such as customer behavior, demand, and inventory levels. Business intelligence provides you with solid, effective actions you can take to yield measurable results. BI techniques are already helping SMBs to make smarter, better-informed business decisions. Opportunity, costs and risks can be evaluated up front.
4) Immediate ROI
BI will bring down a company's operational costs immediate by improving operational efficiency, minimizing total cost of ownership and optimizing business processes in the long run. A good business intelligence solution will not only create, but also enforce processes to follow from day one. Different types of ROI an organization can benefit from a BI solution include revenue enhancement, margin protection, cost reduction, cost avoidance, capital cost avoidance, etc. Also an organisation can see some intangible (qualitative) benefits of strategic value, such as faster reporting, better management information, better decision making, more productive users, efficiency, customer satisfaction, reducing risk and strategic attractiveness.
5) Get what you aim for
BI can help to get answers of all your 'W's' such as what, when, where, why etc. to get what you aim for. Get key business metrics reports when and where you need them. You can also access reports and dashboards on mobile devices like the iPhone, iPad, Android or BlackBerry, giving sales and marketing people access to critical business information on the fly. Information is available with security and control across platforms and devices when & where, in a format as per need, with a single click or as an automated alerts for action. The right information to the right people at the right time using facts-based analysis. Competitive, legal and regulatory requirements can more easily be assessed and planned. In short Business Intelligence implementation will help you in achieving “what you aim for” your business.
Are you seeing this as a good deal or something more? Connect to us & we will be most happy to assist you companywide BI implementation. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org for a free BI consultation.
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